Discover / Meet the Artist
 Elham Masoumi

Interview with Elham Masoumi

"The artist succeeds in touching the most vulnerable part of the soul."


Today, we'd like to introduce you to

Elham Masoumi @elimasoumi






Elham is a painter and illustrator born in Tehran, Iran, and currently based in Brandenburg, Germany. 

We reached out to Elham wanting to find out a bit more about the person behind her fresh and curious artwork.
Here is what she had to share...







Do you remember your first interaction with art?


It depends on what everyone calls art and at what exact moment you could call it an interaction. But if you ask me, it will go back to when I was 3 or 4 years old and dreaming of a huge yellow-colored crane on the street that destroyed the wall in our neighborhood. I can still remember that dream, and of course, it did impact me. On the day after, I wanted nothing more than to paint those unforgettable impressions of how thrilled I am and felt in my head. I can still remember being so afraid and not being able to decide which world is the reality. It's the first situation I can remember when I was unconsciously eager about creating something. I may have just followed what could have made me feel better. I tried to paint the dream several times, and gradually everything became more settled. This constant desire to reframe an image based on a particular feeling was, in my opinion, an artistic approach. This urge continued til today. 


At the age of 15, I chose painting as my field in the School of Fine Arts in Tehran. There I had my first in-depth interactions with the world of art. Until the age of 18, I studied the basics of many techniques and art history in Islamic, modern, and ancient eras there. At school and university, I learned tools to make my creations more accessible and perhaps present them to others in a more general and familiar way. Now, dreams and childhood memories are still some of the most important sources of inspiration for me, and I'm still learning and looking for more honesty in revealing and understanding my emotions.



Do you strive to be unique in your creative endeavours?


Yes and no. I believe that we don't need to strive to be unique because each person is different, just as we are. Perhaps we should strive to show the honest side of ourselves in all its potential. Society's expectations, such as in the form of school or society rules, do indeed help us find more common points of interest, but on the other hand, they also make us more or less similar beings who adapt to the norms. What I would strive for is for Elham to come out of her shell sometimes and represent herself. I want to show others this inimitable view of mine. Being self would suffice to stand out. 


I wouldn't claim to have fully reached that point. I'm still on the way to finding my language and expressing it better.






Do you create with the intent to convey a message? If so, how important is it that your audience understands this message?


I wish I could summarize my opinion about this in a simple sentence. The artist is the one who first feels something. At the same time, the artist is the one who can and wants to evoke or recall this feeling in others. So art takes place partly in the creator and partly in the person who interacts with the work. I prefer to leave a lot of space for the audience to guess the intention of the work. To let them decide how this is done. Above all, everyone can interpret a work based on their mindset and experiences. In a way, though, my work consists of certain symbols or visual codes related to a concrete concept. The work remains partially abstract for the audience's imagination. In this way, we would have a dialogue. I think the artist or creator has the advantage of enjoying both parts of this communication.

To some extent, a good artist has the potential to change the structure of a community. I will explain how! Suppose that a successful artist can also convey a negative statement through the presentation of propaganda and meet the people's hearts. It happens because the artist succeeds in touching the most vulnerable part of the soul. I believe that the influence of an artist can lead to a fundamental and cultural transformation. Perhaps, in the face of our current climate catastrophe, the world of art can help to communicate how drastic the consequences of global warming are.



Tell us about a real-life situation that inspired you.


Most of what inspires me I find in a very ordinary part of life. Currently, I would say that I am often inspired by my dreams or my childhood memories. When I was living in Tehran, my works were more associated with social and political issues. Now, living in a different country, I think more about my identity as an individual and draw on memories. Things like my grandmother's house, Persian poems I read before falling asleep, trees, many movies or novels, but also a simple walk. Inspiration comes to me in different ways from real life. Sometimes, when I can't find anything, I just draw, and images appear between the lines and shadows. Libraries are also a magical place for me, where I can dive into any book and absorb the visual information of numerous masters.

But in one of my recent works, I made a scene based on one of my childhood memories. It can be considered as a real-life situation, maybe. It was at a birthday party first when the feeling of getting older once shook me as an 8-year-old child. When someone at this party said to me; you are not a little kid anymore, so you can't hold a balloon. This scene inspired me to paint this work. 


In the "Sinking" series, I'm generally fascinated by paradoxes like death and life, joy and sorrow, existing in parallel in the same world.





Do you pay attention to others' strong reactions to your work? Does that affect what you create?


Of course, the emotions of the audience for or against my work are guiding for me. They can also influence my mood. In a way, it's like a conversation with more visual elements instead of words. But less can Impact directly what I do or what the result is. In a way, this creative process is independent of an outside observer. I can engage in positive or critical opinions. Both inspire me, but in the end, I think I would value the activities that are done purely around a goal that I have personally set and not in search of my audience's approval.

Since many of my artworks are coping with personal stuff, if someone doesn't like my work, my first reaction might be to take it as a personal criticism or something like that. However, what moves one person is not necessarily attracting another one. I suppose that art is primarily there to help the artist, and if the artist succeeds in transmitting these emotions to the audience, it will further benefit the audience.


The artistic product will call those common feelings which were not describable without the art. Like myths and beliefs in ancient times, art also helps us deal with life in our current time. I think without artistic activities in our life, it would be an unimaginable life. It is like saying how we are without our soul. I can't imagine even trees would blossom in this way.




What are some things you wish you knew as a beginner artist?


It is often the case that when we teach someone a specific procedure, we understand it better ourselves. That's why I want to tell a beginner that, first of all, age doesn't matter. At least not for creating art, and not for the market either. Just as age should not matter when we are alive. This may sound simple in words; in practice, it is hard, I know! Especially in the modern world where age is seen as a disadvantage, rather seek to overcome this restriction that only served industrialization as much as possible. Anyway, remember that the audience was not your first impulse in getting you to where you are now. 

Second, show your work to others. In each of your viewers, you may find a mirror in which you can see the reflection of your work differently. It could be satisfying and rewarding and a hidden lesson for you in each of them. 

A few years ago, the presentation of work was very limited compared to today. Even if only one person can interact with my work, what could be better than merging these two realms in this way?









Curious to explore more of Elham's art? Visit her website and browse through more of her work: