ABOUT HALEH MASHIAN
Haleh Mashian is the owner and founder of MASH gallery. She has been painting for more than 2 decades now and has her roots in Iran/Tehran from a Jewish family. Her art represents her unique and astute view of the world – both real and imagined. Furthermore, Mashian’s art isn’t exclusively abstract art, it extends to digital art (NFTs), fashion as well as music. In this article we will be getting to know the inspiration behind Haleh Mashian’s art, how she got to where she is now, as well as her struggles and triumphs.
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL
Beverly Hills Magazine: Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, where did you grow up, any training or education background?
Haleh Mashian: I was born in Tehran/Iran to a Jewish family. In 1966, my father was an architect and my mother was a homemaker. I was a middle child and I have two brothers. Relatively speaking, I had a happy childhood and a happy home life. Unfortunately after the revolution in Iran after 1979, my life as I knew it turned upside down. As a teenager, I lived through the Iranian Revolution during the time the oppressive regime was in power. My experiences left an indelible mark on me and my family. I escaped Iran when I was 20 years old with a false identity going through the Turkish border with my younger brother who was 14 at the time. After traveling for 6 months, I was granted religious asylum to the United States.
My family went through a major trauma. I really didn’t have a chance to explore something more than just surviving. So, had I not gone through that, maybe I would have gotten in touch with (my artistic side) earlier. I don’t know. Or maybe I would never have gotten in touch with it if I’d never gone through that. It’s hard to say. When you are in survival mode, all of your energy goes into survival. You need to be safe to want to explore other things.
The negative and positive experiences in my life have shaped me as an artist.
It wasn’t until later in life, though, that I began to want to explore my artistic side, and it started with figurative art.
Beverly Hills Magazine: When did you discover your talent as an artist (painter)?
Haleh Mashian: I started painting 25 years ago after taking a class at UCLA extension not knowing that I would never put down my brush again. I studied real estate finance at USC and shortly after graduating, I realized that this path was not for me. I was craving for something more imaginative and uplifting. I realize that creativity and imagination is a big part of who I am and pursuing that allowed me to create an avenue for incorporating that into life.
Beverly Hills Magazine: How do you prepare for each new piece?
Haleh Mashian: I work in different series and most of these series have a personal story attached to it. Whether it was an insight that occurred during meditation, soul searching, or an inspiration from the above. No matter the source of my creation, I am very much into color, texture, and scale. I was often told that when someone looks at my painting, it carries such lively energy that emanates my presence via the painting. I always explore with different materials and as I am becoming more confident in the use of different materials, I am also becoming a sculptural and three-dimensional artist. Recently I have gotten more into creating art pieces that incorporate LED light, plaster, and other materials that can act both as a piece of art that breathes and lives in a three dimensional space. This was a segway into connecting my passion for interior design with my art practice.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What inspired you to paint, of all the mediums to choose from out there?
Haleh Mashian: I actually work in all mediums – I compose music, have a fashion line, just launched my nft collection, work in sculpture and installation, so painting is actually just one avenue of my expression. Painting is satisfying because you can create a three-dimensional effect by just the use of paint and push the boundaries of your perception.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Where do you get your inspiration?
Haleh Mashian: My inspiration comes from my meditation practice where I can connect to my essence beyond my mind. I realize that my mind is only a fragment of what matters in my creativity and the best work is when I drop it, and enter into a zone of no mind. Of course, there is technicality involved that requires thinking, but that is secondary to the source of creating.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is your art signature? What makes your work unique?
Haleh Mashian: My art signature is the use of color and texture no matter what series I am working on. I am very much recognized by my tree series. I explore the glory of nature in different light, texture, setting, and create whimsical, expressionistic, and modern imagery. I attempt to create a sense of awe and joy in my landscapes, specifically with trees. What makes my work unique is the ability of provoking a visceral and emotional response in the viewer by means of my color, texture, composition, use of positive and negative space, while creating a very three-dimensional effect.
Beverly Hills Magazine: How do you price/value each piece?
Haleh Mashian: This is a very different question as it is a very subjective approach. Being a painter for over 25 years means I have to take a lot into consideration including the cost of material, production time, scale, and how much it is realistically worth based on what is also out there. It is a very difficult question and a lot of it is trial and error but I have to be happy with the amount I charge in order to part with the painting and it is a combination of what the art market dictates and the relationship between the collector. Especially when your work is not a commodity, but instead a very emotional piece, you have to gauge the market, the audience, while staying true and authentic to yourself.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Why do you think art is such a valuable collector’s item?
Haleh Mashian: I think more than ever, being surrounded by the digital world and constantly living through the maya of electronics, we need to surround ourselves with pieces that inspire us and provoke a sense of synergy, and art is the immediate way of doing so.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Why are art collectors an important part of the art world?
Haleh Mashian: Even though most Artists need to paint regardless of getting validated because it is an inner calling for most, it is always a great affirmation and inspiration to know that others also appreciate your work and are willing to invest in your work and career. Like anything else, there is a business side to it and in this case, there is an emotional validation that goes with it as well.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What message do you hope to convey through your work?
Haleh Mashian: The message of my work is to celebrate creativity, self expression, courage, and use of different mediums as a tool to evoke a sense of exploration.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What advice would you give to aspiring artists out there?
Haleh Mashian: To always evolve, never afraid to enter the unknown, develop a thick skin, and be okay knowing that not everyone is going to like your work and that’s a good thing.
One of the reasons that one is pursuing this aspect of creativity is to reach a higher consciousness through expression and through raising your basic sexual energy and expressing it in a more refined and elevated way. In other words, this is your life force energy and you can’t not do it.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Have you discovered a personal purpose in what you do?
Haleh Mashian: I do not have a specific purpose other than to express and to explore, and to reach other people via my creativity and bring inspiration and joy. I don’t know if you call that as a purpose, but the purpose is to create and run a business simultaneously which is another aspect of creativity.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Where can readers buy your artwork or contact you?
Haleh Mashian: I am the owner and founder of Mash gallery and can reach me via:
812 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Facebook: Mash Gallery
Beverly Hills Magazine: Anything else you’d like to add or share???
Haleh Mashian: I would like to bring a sense of adventure, elegance, and playfulness to my art and design practice whether that be on canvas, digital platform, fashion, or interior design. The goal is to be authentic and evoke a lasting impression filled with imagination and good design by creating unique and one of a kind pieces.
Mash Gallery is located in the West Hollywood Design Quarter. Since 2018, it has been a venue designed to create intimate conversations between curators, artists and the Los Angeles Art Scene.