Vermont Studio Center

In the Studio with Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi

Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi is an Iranian American Artist based in Washington D.C. We visited her studio in Barbara White during her month-long residency in May.

Vermont Studio Center: What are you working on now?
Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi: I came to VSC with two intentions: to develop my current body of work and to experiment with new materials as a way of introducing sculptural elements into my paintings.  There are instances in my work where paint’s material quality is transformed into a three-dimensional language and the pieces can exist somewhere between the realm of painting and/or sculpture.  That fine line is quite appealing to me.  I’m interested in the idea of a shifting picture plane, where a painting can simultaneously function as a “window” and an “object” allowing for a multifaceted read.  So, as part of my experimentation, I began to cast my body parts and hope to incorporate them into my future body of work.  I’m excited to see how that shifts my work!

VSC: What is one material/tool/item that you could not work without?
HJI: Hmmmm, I have to say my tiny 20/0 Monogram miniature brushes.

VSC: What role does identity play in your work?
HJI: Identity definitely plays an important role in my creative process. I’m an Iranian-American immigrant and my work is directly influenced by this complex duality.  Through a fusion of visual languages of both Western abstraction and Persian Art, my paintings function as metaphors for the complexities that emanate from such polarized cultural experiences.

VSC: What inspires you besides other art and artists (movies, good food, songs, books, birds, etc.)?
HJI: I love a perfect cup of coffee and a good tune, but nothing beats an awesome dance party! ☺  On a serious note, I think change is crucial to keep my creative rhythm going.

VSC: What does community mean to you?
HJI: Being an artist can be a very solitary situation specially when one approaches those crazy deadlines.  As an artist, to sustain an active practice, it is imperative to have a group of like-minded people who can support and push each other forward.  I’m lucky to be a part of an amazing artist community at the Arlington Arts Center, Arlington VA, where my studio is located.  I must say that the VSC has been an amazing setting for a diverse group of artists and writers to come together and deeply engage as a creative community.

VSC: How is your time at VSC different from everyday life?
HJI: The VSC is a little Utopia! I don’t need to think about anything besides being in the studio.  I have access to a beautiful studio space with the best lighting.  The food is absolutely amazing and I only have to show up and eat. One very important difference for me is the short commute! Back home, on a good day, I have more than an hour drive to and from my studio, which can be exhausting. Here at the VSC, I have to take a beautiful five-minute walk to my studio. That is fantastic!

For more info on Hedieh’s work, please visit her website:
Jennifer Garza-Cuen
Jennifer Garza-Cuen was born in America's Pacific Northwest and lived for many years as an expatriate in Mexico, Europe, Egypt and the United Kingdom. She received her bachelors degree from the Ame...

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