One of Elbowroom's curators Noelia Portela recently visited New York City and dropped in to see kiwi artist, Negin Dastgheib, currently based in Brooklyn. Read their chat below:
Noelia - Why painting?
Negin - I started my Fine Arts degree with photography and mixed media drawings. However once I started to get into painting I couldn't go back, I find it the most creative practice as it is completely hands on and surprising. It's like entering a void, you start with absolutely nothing and it takes you somewhere totally new and amazing.
Noelia - When you came to NYC I'm sure you noticed this was a city of painters ... how do you differentiate your practice from the rest?
Negin - I didn't feel like it was a bad thing to be surrounded by painters. It was actually very inspiring, I think if you are staying true to yourself and don't try to be like another artist your work will always be different.
Noelia - Mobility is one of the things that shaped the creative outcome of our curatorial practice at Elbowroom. Do you think moving cities has changed or influenced your practice?
Negin - Making work in a completely different environment was a great challenge. I have been working full time, attending critique groups, trying to go to as many openings as possible while at the same time maintaining a practice. Although I don't feel like New York is the best place to make work it has definitely pushed me a lot, so I am looking forward to having more time for painting in New Zealand.
Noelia - What is your creative process like?
Negin - The hardest part is finding the right image to paint from. Usually that is what sets me off and I can dive straight in. I used to try to paint only when I had a feeling of clarity and would spend ages prepping myself before I stepped into the studio. Because I don't have the luxury of that time here, I am forced to deal with whatever issues I have that day, something I am still learning.
Noelia - How has your experience been setting up a studio in New York City? Have you seen things or habits of community building for artists that you want to take back home?
Negin - It was very exciting! Being in such a crazy environment, I felt more of a desire to make work to give me a sense of stability. There is so much here for artists and people are very keen to get together and discuss ideas. I feel like in New Zealand there isn't much after you leave University, I would love to be a part of an artist run school or some kind of painting group, some sort of platform where artists can support each other.
Noelia - I have read in the past that one of the things that influenced your work were the memories in old photographs and the memories of home from Iran. Now that you are away from Wellington, do you feel that this new feeling of being foreign here influenced your work all over again?
Negin - Yes, I did feel my work changed however the idea of home is still there. It is more about the idea of home and constant movement. I definitely noticed when I felt safe and at home versus times where I felt unsettled. This desire to reconnect with those moments formed my practice here.
Noelia - When I first saw your work I fell in love with the gold and the color palette that you use... do you dream of them like that?
Negin - I think the surface of the painting is the most important. I try to make it as matte as possible and I think the gold helps to focus the eye on certain parts. I am also very drawn to certain colors for example pink and green which features throughout a lot of my paintings.
Noelia - And finally what's the future like for Negin...?
Negin - I hope to study art therapy and continue my art practice in Auckland next year.
Negin graduated from Massey University, Wellington with a BFA (Honours) in 2014 and is currently based in New York for a year. www.negindastgheib.com