By Afshin Majlesi

Meet the man whose brain makes him experiencing new forms of arts

August 30, 2019 - 18:35

TEHRAN – Shahram Amiri is a versatile Iranian craftsman who has always wished to experience new forms of arts from his childhood to the moment in his early sixties.

In an interview with the Tehran Times, Amiri said, “I have always wished to experience new forms of arts in order to make fusions, innovations, and collages by the means of using various materials simultaneously. I have always intended to make novel things, not copies, in a way that they could reflect my feelings. Just being beautiful was not enough for me.”

He noted that in addition to marquetry, which he is most interested in, he is a practiced wood-turner, woodcarver, sculptor, designer and painter.

“I am able to weave rugs and Kilim carpets. I know various Persian-carpet schools and can differentiate one from another. But I have lived with the wood. I have been accustomed to smell aroma of the wood, which has always spurred my sense of inspiration.”

His professional expertise has been internationally applauded in several countries including the Philippines and Belarus. Amiri’s selects of works have also been showcased in dozens of national and international exhibits.

“Born in 1347 (1968) in Tehran, I started my professional career some 35 years ago… At the age of eight or nine I realized that I am interested in creating things out of mud or pieces of wood when I attended workshops at the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in Tehran.”

“With the start of the Iran-Iraq War [in 1980], I came across some painters who were creating portrays or murals of martyrs or war veterans. At that time, I started developing my painting talent. Then I started to create sculptures. I remember that I made head of an eagle from wood, at the age of 12, by the means of modest tools.”

Talking about creation of his earliest yet finest woodcarving piece, the artist said, “At the age of twenty, after I completed my military service, I launched a small workshop in our house. That was the time I stared to create my best-ever work, an intricate wood-carved panel which was clearly inspired by a work from Mahmud Farshchian, who is master of Persian miniature. The panel named “Human Being” took me some three years to be completed. It won several prizes at several domestic exhibitions.”

Amiri believes that each handicraft skill can be paid attention from two points of view; creating an artistic masterpiece and making typical/routine products.

“So, in the marquetry realm, there are both ordinary and copied works as well as original or artistic ones,” he said.

Amiri said that “Ocean”, “Autumn”, “Blades and Feathers” and “Prayer” are amongst his early fusion works that he considers them as “original”, however, they have been copied by others during the time.” 

“Nowadays, I see young artists in the field of marquetry and woodcarving, whose skills are unique and exceptional. However, the Internet and social media are a considerable help for present-day artisans that didn’t exist when I started.”

In response to a question about specification of good marquetry, he answered: “That’s somehow a tough question because various experts have various ideas in this regard. “In my opinion, a good work of marquetry should firstly depict a pleasant plot that should be both impressive and original.”

“Secondly, a good marquetry should represent skills in cutting woods into fragments, choosing proper natural colors, considering the wave of wood, as well as appropriate use of the light and shadow.”

Referring to the word “original”, Amiri explained, “In addition to paintings and drawings that are widely considered as sources for creating a marquetry, you can also use photographs. This way, you can get original shoots to have original pieces of marquetry. “  

He added that “Marquetry is in fact a painting by the usage of wood not oil-paint brushes and canvas.”


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