My Story

Melodies from my childhood...

I grew up in an artistic family amongst musicians and writers. My earliest memories are all intertwined with songs, poetry and stories. I can remember myself drawing while listening to my family’s music or go to sleep with a poem that was written by my father. I was raised in a busy part of Tehran, a massive metropolitan beast that everyday devours all kinds of colours and stories to produce one constantly changing picture. A landscape of struggle between an ever present glorious past made out of blue domes and red clay bricks, And an electric modern city full of lights and skyscrapers. I believe later on, experiencing this duality had a great impact on my art and expanded the frame of every picture that I create. It has brought a multi dimensional quality to my understanding of the surrounding world and has resulted in a deeper appreciation for the simplicity with which extraordinary ideas come to fruition. For most of my teenage years I found myself perfecting my drawing skills and playing the piano. I tried my hand in pretty much every style of painting and with that I learned great lessons from studying the masters of each school.


In the city of wine and roses ...

It was in one of those years and at a trip to the ancient city of Persepolis that I found myself absolutely amazed by the incredible art carved on stones at every corner of this majestic palace. There I was standing at the presence of artists from 2500 years ago who had made the journey from all over the world in order to create art, and the result of their labor was before me in a flawlessly preserved condition. I gently ran my fingers over the lines of the carvings, it felt like a journey through time, the perfection of every piece had been mixed with immortality and from that a memento had been created to transcend ages. That experience rooted deeply in my mind and the desire to be at-least close to that feeling of creating through a timeless medium stayed with me. 
 

A match made in heaven...

A few years later when I discovered printmaking it felt like all of that desire had finally found its long lost channel in order to flow and blossom. It felt like being at the Persepolis again and connecting with our ancestors who created art, not only to be a testimony to their great skills but to be preserved for the future generations and tell a story. This I believe is the mutual point between my style of printmaking today and their approach. I carve stories of my own on linoleum, based on my experience both as a mother and a woman in an ever changing world that at times feels like a constant war between chaos and bliss. Sometimes when we take a walk with my son through beautiful Malvern we look the world in terms of colours. We decide what colour is best suited for certain moments of our leisurely stroll and at the end we decide which colour can be named the main colour of that day. This can be clearly seen in my works, they are multicoloured, multi dimensional landscapes within landscapes with every piece belonging to a certain moment that had an impact on me. They are impressions of my emotions clothed in many colours and characters that although they might feel separated they are all parts of one big story.

 

Layla Khani