The young artist pauses to examine a work in progress. Standing at the easel with paintbrush in hand, she looks very much like a work of art herself – pigments and palette well within reach and tools at the ready. She is surrounded by an assortment of works in various stages of completion. A single window imbues the room with luscious morning light. It’s a comfortable and inviting space – just the sort of place in which one would enjoy spending hours immersed in the creative process.
She is Oil Painter Shakiba Hashemi, and her work is as striking and exotic as the artist herself. The second-year Laguna Art-A-Fair exhibitor possesses an extraordinary ability to impart light, movement and color into the very soul of her works. Shakiba takes particular delight in painting birds, whose delicate beauty and natural movement fill her with a sense of freedom and inner peace. Shakiba’s unique painting style, rich color palette, and skillful juxtaposition of light and dark gives wing to otherworldly, surreal images that seem to inhabit a dream state.
An avid painter since childhood, Shakiba now creates her artwork in the Aliso Viejo, California, home-based studio space she shares with her husband, Laguna Art-A-Fair Mixed Media artist Christopher Scardino. The two appear to have much in common: both share a love of art, both paint, both are degree graduates of Laguna College of Art and Design, both develop and conduct after-school art programs in the Newport Mesa school district. And, both create extraordinary works in their guest-bedroom-turned-art-studio. As for differences, Shakiba admits to being a “dirty” painter, wielding tools and paint tubes with wild abandon. Chris, on the other hand, claims to be the tidier of the two – seldom needing to wear protective clothing as he paints.
Shakiba has a preference for painting smaller-sized works on wood panel or plywood. In many instances, she finds that the flowing textures and knot holes found in plywood panels add to the movement Shakiba strives to achieve in her work. She typically prepares the wood surface with some form of oil-based primer, such as Gesso or oil-based house paint. Sometimes she allows the panel’s texture to direct her composition. Other times, she simply lets the creative process take flight, using her dynamic brush strokes and bold use of color to capture a moment in time or to escape to unbridled heights. The results are magical and compelling, and at times reverent and divine.
One such work is, “Fire Flight”, one of Shakiba’s personal favorites. The semi-abstract features a beautiful bird, rendered in flaming reds and golds, breaking free and ascending from a dark void. According to Shakiba, “Fire Flight” aptly represents the escape and freedom she sought through painting as a young child growing up in the war-torn Middle East. She happily added that “Fire Flight” was recently purchased by a family as a gift for their young daughter!
Shakiba will be on the Laguna Art-A-fair grounds as often as possible during the summer festival season. She can typically be found in her booth space A29 on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Make sure to stop by to say hello and purchase one or more of Shakiba’s remarkable works as we celebrate Laguna Art-A-Fair’s fifty years of fine art! Laguna Art-A-Fair will be open daily through August 28, 2016.