We are so pumped to introduce you to the brilliant Souren Z Mousavi . Souren is an artist but she is so much more and she is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Souren below.
Hi Souren, please briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
First and foremost, I am a professionally qualified artist specialising in Expressionism, and I have sold my paintings all over the world. I work not only as an artist but also as an art teacher, having gained my MA in Fine Art and having been classically trained in the Middle East and the UK.
I am fully qualified as a graphic designer and I also practice and teach yoga and yoga art therapy, working with both private clients and recovering addicts as well as young offenders.
If you Google my name, as well as finding my website you will discover many references to articles and interviews that talk about how I suffered for my art, how I was imprisoned and tortured and how my artwork and my story resulted in my winning a Lifetime Achievement award.
Can you explain the importance of art and expressionism in your role as an art therapist?
I often tell people that art saved my life, and it is literally true. I had to go through a long period of recovery after escaping from imprisonment in Iran and art was my most rewarding and healing therapy. Because of my mastery of both art and yoga to relieve my pain and renew my spirit, I have developed an interactive therapeutic programme that combines live drawing, art demonstrations and art yoga workshops.
My techniques empower emotions and develop cultural awareness to allow individuals to achieve true vision, improve self-awareness and boost physical and psychological confidence. With Expressionism an individual seeks to depict not objective reality but rather the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse within them.
My students and clients explore and develop their own unique body of art and learn to represent themselves through emotional movement and physical awareness, eventually recognizing the bigger picture that represents their own space.
Because of my own personal experience of trauma and learning to live with its consequences I am able to both understand and relate to others who have yet to master their inner demons. I encourage individuals to express their anger or distress through what they create whilst at the same time magnify the beauty and joy of self-expression. Sometimes their time with me is there only escape from their pain, but each time they take away with them something positive about themselves, something re-assuring and something that helps rebuild their spirit and helps free their soul. For myself I have learned that nothing is more rewarding than helping others to find peace and solace in their life.
We know that you have worked in the past with interior designers. In what way does your artwork compliment the role of interior design?
Interior design focusses on how a space will feel. How it affects those who live or work in it and how it can support them in their endeavours, how it can supply inspiration when they most need it or solace, respite and restoration for their spirit. Art is critical in fulfilling an individual’s expectations. When I create I do so with the intention of establishing a rapport with my audience and when I work with designers my focus is on fulfilling their brief. Expressionism is all about reflecting the inner self and working with interior designers is a wholly collaborative process in which the designer, and possibly the client, would be consulted at each of the iterative stages of creation – concept, themes, content, sketches, drawings, outlines, sizing coloring etc. The process is collaborative so that the end result is truly holistic.
Which of your most recent works have meant the most to you and why?
With each of their works all artists take the risk of self-exposure. For me I always hope each painting will seize the imagination of my audience, touch their soul and bring them closer to my own life experiences and inspirations.
This year I created Contiguous Boundary in an effort to depict both what lies within me whilst gathering to me the world that lies without. There is a fine line between within and without. Like the borders between lands, like the tiers of different cultures and religions, like the depths of different skin colors there is a gap and there is a merging. There are at least two sides to all borders and two views to each perspective. My desire is to be the bridge that joins all of me to all of you. The bridge that merges the within and the without into a golden harmony that both defines and transcends all divisions. It is a painting designed to hallow individuality whilst promoting human harmony.
Has the Covid pandemic had any influence on what or how you create?
Since the onset of the pandemic, I have been inspired to create several works that reflect the courage and resilience of the front-line workers in hospitals around the world who have faced Covid head on.
Inspired by this selfless and unseen work I have sought to capture a representation of the anonymity of the carer and the sense of fear that accompanies treatment. A testament not only to the personal protection that they both need and give but to the human shield that they provide to the outside world, however flimsy.
Their bravery is in itself as much a mask as the one that they wear. A mask for all the worry that they bear and the sacrifice that they make to end suffering and bring relief to those affected. Their commitment is a testament to the truth that life will always endure. I salute them and all that they have done and continue to do.
Many people use art to help them relax and unwind. Tell us what you do to unwind other than paint?
I too use my art to relax. With the exception of specific commissions, I still enjoy the sense of freedom it gives me. Of course, I also meditate and practice yoga every day of my life. I love the sea and have recently taken up paddle boarding which adds to my physical wellbeing and gives me a very direct connection to nature. I have a small but faithful group of friends that I see within the confines of Covid-safe rules and finally I keep a daily journal of my thoughts and activities. It’s a great way of safeguarding memories and providing an opportunity to release feelings and emotions that cannot always be shared elsewhere. Sometime the best way to unwind is to unload.
You originally came here from the UK. Do you have any specific pieces that reflect your life here in the US and what in particular reflects US culture?
Since moving to Miami I have had 3 series of paintings that all reflect my life here in the US.
One is steeped in my feminist roots but features butterflies to represent one of the pillars of my work and, similarly, of US culture – freedom. Fleeting Joy is a classic example of how I use color to represent such freedom of expression. Not many people know that Florida is home to the largest butterfly park in the world in Coconut Creek, so the local influence is obvious.
The second series is just called Horses. Since childhood they have been my secret passion. Until I came to the United States, I only painted them occasionally, and then only for friends. Of course, they are a significant part of American heritage and American culture and, since I moved to Miami, I find myself drawn even more to their beauty, their stature, their elegance and their independence. Once again, they represent freedom of movement as well as freedom of spirit and they are an obvious US icon.
Storms is a good example. I feel I have combined the impact of these majestic creatures with one of the elements that define life in Florida. This painting delivers climatic experiences in bucketloads and encapsulates not only the strength of mother nature but the resilience of spirit when faced with adversity, which, for me, typifies the US character and underpins its pioneering culture.
Finally, I have a series of paintings based on the human form but again influenced by the sun and the sea that we all associate with the Sunshine state. I even used the State’s name in the title.
Finally, please let us know how our readers can connect with you and learn more.
I provide both public and private sessions tailored to individual needs. For further information:
SOUREN MOUSAVI www.sourenmousavi.co.uk
- Twitter: @sourenmousavi
- Instagram: @sourenmousavi
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org