“My paintings are the result of my ongoing fascination with the human psyche, representations of primarily women, both symbolically and literally.”
“While I had the opportunity work on national advertising campaigns for renowned brands in India something was missing. I did not enjoy an advertising brief dictating my art.”
Mazarine Memon is an aspiring author and an award-winning established artist. Skilled in a variety of mediums – oils, acrylics, charcoal, pencils, pastels, pen and inks or a fusion of mediums, Mazarine has had several international solo and group showings.
Mazarine was born in Bombay to a Zoroastrian family. She loves Italy, but calls Toronto home and paints and conducts workshops from her home studio, ‘The Art Brewery’. In conversation with Generation Next, the artist talks about her stint in advertizing, a successful venture into the world of art and her creative life in Canada.
1. You are of Iranian ancestry, Indian by birth, Canadian by choice and Italian at heart. Tell us something about your journey from India to Dubai and Canada?
Once we left India in 1992, it was inevitable that we would move on to experience different cultures, adopt a different lifestyle. Both my husband, who is in advertising, and I love to travel and we started off with a short holiday to Dubai and never looked back.
Two years later we applied for immigration to Canada and within the year we had moved to Toronto to begin yet another journey. And although I will always be an Indian at heart, Canada is home to me now.
2. How did the transition from advertising to art happen?
I attended Sophia Polytechnic in Mumbai to become a Commercial artist and then worked as an art director at several Advertising Agencies in Mumbai. While I had the opportunity work on national advertising campaigns for renowned brands in India something was missing. I did not enjoy an advertising brief dictating my art. In advertising you can’t be creative for the sake of being creative, you got to do what is good for the brand. The strategic message dictates the creative campaign, and I wanted to go off and do something off my own, which is not a good marriage. Which is why, I divorced the advertising business to become a full time artist so I can create what appeals to me. Although art is not as lucrative financially, it allows me freedom of expression which is good for my soul.
3. One of the posts in your blog mentioned that you felt like an “expat” in Canada? Why?
When you move around as much as I did, home is not any one place anymore. I am not sure if I would say that is a bad thing really. I have enjoyed my life as an expat living in Dubai and returning to Canada after nine long years seemed like I had to re invent my life here as I had when I had first immigrated 1994. I had carved out a life for me in the Middle East, people knew of me, of my art. I knew coming back here after such a long hiatus was going to be tough, but then we as a family have always enjoyed an adventure and the challenges that come with it. Now nearly four years later, we are back to the ‘Canadian way of life’ and loving every minute of it!
4. How would you define your art?
I am a realistic abstract artist. My unique style has been described as ‘mysteries in colour’. Every collection and piece of art is almost always inspired by real people, but you need to work through the clues before the canvas reveals itself.
5. What are some of the constant refrains in your art work?
I approach my work as a continuum, where themes from past collections are reviewed and examined. Stylistically, I disassemble imagery from these and recycle the parts as I create a new body of work.
6. From Dubai to Canada – Does the change of places also affect your art?
Absolutely! My paintings are the result of my ongoing fascination with the human psyche, representations of primarily women, both symbolically and literally. My years in the Middle East allowed me to study the cultural differences between the ever burgeoning expat community and the locals. The collections produced during my stay in Dubai, communicate a sense of wonder, experimentation, discovery and balance.
7. Indian artists are creating waves all over the world. Is Canada open enough to artists of South Asian descent?
I believe it is slowly getting there. The multicultural and ethnic population is getting increasingly savvy about the arts from South Asia. As well I believe that Canadians are an adventurous lot by nature and are enjoying the richness and diversity of the South Asian culture and its many art forms. However it has a long way to go, Indian artists haven’t yet created the kind of waves in Canada as it has in other parts of the world.
8. Where do you get inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from all of nature’s creations, but I find the human figure the most fascinating and specifically the woman form. “It is not just beautiful, it is incredibly expressive. It has a language of its own. It perhaps has a larger vocabulary than any spoken word. This ‘language of the body’ has been the subject of most of my work. News paper articles and images captured by photo journalists are another source of inspiration for me. An entire collection is sometimes based on a single event.
9. What are your future projects?
I have a couple of projects that are vying for attention, however the one that has me interested and excited is called ‘Journeys’
‘Journeys’ will be a project about the many aspects of life. Transitions from one phase to another. ‘Journeys’ is about change and how man adapts to it or fights it; embraces each success that comes with it or stumbles through its failures. With this collection I hope to move away from the comforts of my canvas and explore different mediums, like installation, or photography to tell my story.
10. Any advice for aspiring artists.
Art is a passion and not always a means to make a good living….but it feeds the soul, it’s liberating and artists are discerning with the work they produce and the avenues that art can be marketed through. I would tell artists, keep painting, and creating work, there will always be many who won’t appreciate it enough but when it finds that perfect home it will have a place of pride and that is what is important.