October 23, 2018

Artist Interview – Fariha Nasir Hassaan

Name: Fariha Nasir Hassaan
Location: Oberlin, Ohio, USA
Website: http://farihahassaan.com/

Brief artists statement:
How does a mark on a canvas alter it? How does it tie the image together or break it apart? Painting, indeed, is like a chess game, as a friend so cleverly put it. Over the past two years, I have been studying human expression, developing my figurative language, and experimenting with various mark making techniques to see how they bring emotion to a work. I now delve into discourse about my art practice and wonder how my work’s expressive language and the childlike scribbles stand next to, perhaps, a Cy Twombly. One of the artists who have informed my practice is painter Dana Schutz. Her work has been critical in the development of my visual language and made me delve into discourse about the relationship between a painting’s form and content.

How did you become an artist? Did you always dream of a life in the art-world?
It was actually a fortunate accident that landed me in Art School five years ago. At the time it was not my choice to study art; in fact, I was on course to pursue Economics, when rejection from my top college choice and insufficient financial assistance from the rest, forced me to apply to the only ongoing admissions program: Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. This little twist of fate was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me.

How has your education helped your career?
Like they say, you need to learn the rules before you begin to break them. An education in the arts not only brings finesse to your work but also makes one question their practice and delve into discourse at the same time. Those two last things are absolutely imperative for one to be able to grow as a critical artist.

Do you work as an artist full-time? Describe your typical day. Do you have a routine?

I unfortunately cannot work as a full time artist at the moment because of logistical and other issues. My week is usually tied up in volunteering at the local arts organization/gallery, being a French Professor’s assistant (My husband goes to Oberlin College and we live on campus), working for a student Co-op, and each day my goal is to spend at least 4 hours on my studio work.

Which historical and contemporary artists do you refer to most often? How are you influenced by their work?
Contemporary painter Dana Schutz has been a great inspiration for me, and other than her Cy Twombly is someone I constantly refer to. I often wonder what kind of dialogue my work would create in relation to a Cy Twombly. I wonder how my work’s expressive language and the childlike scribbles, in the context of art theory and practice, stand next to Twombly’s complex surfaces.

What are the other influences on your work?
Everyday life experiences, memories and my own imagination influence my work.

What was the last exhibition you visited?
A local exhibition of Oberlin student weavers at FAVA Gallery called ‘From Yarn to Garment’.

What is your favourite art gallery?
Koel, Karachi, Pakistan.

Do you have any tips or advice you wish you had known earlier in your career?
 I wish I had known more about gallery representation and the business side of being an artist.

Do you or would you use assistants to make your work?
No, I don’t feel the need to, but I’d love to have someone to prime my canvases.

Do you use social networks? if so, how and which ones do you find most useful?
I hate to admit this but I’m a Facebook addict!

Which artist should we all look up immediately? What art magazines, blogs or sites should art lovers be looking at?
Bani Abidi from Pakistan. She’s making phenomenal works! Triangle Arts Association and VASL Artist’s Collective.

Finish this limerick: There once was an artist from
                                                   who travelled far and wide
                                                   in search of galleries she was
                                                   but alas! a magazine interview she found!

Yeah I know that sucks. I guess limericks aren’t my thing!


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