Interview with Hassan Karimzadeh

Hassan Karimzadeh is a prolific Visual artist; Graphic designer, Cartoonist and Art director for many years.

He is a main member of some international journalism and arts associations, such as: (IGDS) Iran, (ICOGRADA) Canada, (CFP) France, and (IFJ) Belgium, and Ambassador of the United Sketches international association in France.

Hassan has achieved numerous titles, honors and important prizes; during his artistic career, such as: Title of the “F.U.N” (Friend of United Nations) from United Nations (2012, Swiss), 1st. prizes of “World Press Cartoon” International contest (in two years: 2008 & 2010, Portugal), “GOLD” prize of Logo designing from International Institute of Visual Communication; “Graphis” (2012, USA), and First International “Editorial Cartoon Prize” (2012, Swiss), Top trophy of the fourth “Silver Cypress” selected graphic works biennial (2015 Iran), “Grand award” in the first annual “Art of Book design” (2015 Iran), Title of the “Top Ten” designers from the COW (Center of the World) international festival (2016 Ukraine)…

His works have been exhibited and printed in various Journals, in Iran and abroad.

Hassan has published a number of books for himself and his colleagues till now; to record and display of visual experiences.

www.karimzadehstudio.com

ZH: Can you briefly tell us how did you end up with the world of visual design? And do you see yourself more of a Graphic designer or a Cartoonist?

My childhood (exactly when I started to learn about my surroundings and people) was concurrently coincidental with Iran’s Revolution in 1979. The time that streets were all occupied by posters and graffiti  to express people’s thoughts and emotions during those tough days. I was so attracted to all those visual language elements that people picked to communicate their thoughts with.
 
This incident was the fundamental of why I chose visual design as a communication tool later on. A simple yet effective method of speaking with the audience and expressing my emotions and vision.
 
Regarding the second part of this question, I should say that I see myself more of a “Visual Artist” and from time to time depending on the subjects I play with different methods. So I’m not really very concerned about titles but I’m more focused on how to visualize my thoughts so whatever title fits it doesn’t matter to me.
ZH: When did you publish your first cartoon?
My first experience of publishing my work in papers goes back to 1980s when I was only 16-17 years old. As a young cartoonist with amateur artworks it was so exciting for me to get into the real world of papers. This wouldn’t happen without the help of late Hassan Maleki (Poet- Journalist). He believed on my work and promoted my drawings into one of the top papers of that time “Abrar”.
We’ve been in touch as I moved forward to my career path and even during tough times, his support was a great push to get my work noticed.
ZH: As an Award winning artist, Most of your works has PEACE or an anti-war theme. Why are you interested in this subject?
I care about my surroundings and incidents related to human beings all over the world.  I can’t just sit and watch. When a topic of racism, power, war, poverty and many more topics which impacts innocent people’s life in particular kids happen, it drives me to bring in my visual communication method and put the narration of my thoughts around that topic towards graphics.
This means more than anything else to me to address topics that involves human safety and life rather than many commercial subjects such as promoting beauty products or food related products.
 
ZH: Back to your international awards, which of your awards has made you so proud?
More than the award itself, I’d like the fact that the message of my work has gone through a long path and been transferred to so many audiences among many great works. We all love fame and I’m not hiding that. The goal is to pass on the message to as many audience as possible. When an artist’s work gets recognized so there are more chances of spreading the word with more targets.
ZH: As a professional artist whom has started his art journey when he was just a teenager, how do you define ART?
Defining art depends on many parameters and it’s different from topic to topic and artist to artist. Since art is a combination of an inner feeling which gets out of the artist’s thoughts and it’s being modified by the artists’ surroundings till it lands as a visual medium. Art to me is a style, which is being influenced by my circumstances.
ZH: Most of your works have been published in papers and basically in editorial environment vs. commercial and advertising environment. How do you differentiate these 2 traits?
The work for both platforms is being created for presenting to the public. But the audiences have different expectations when they are seeing a cartoon, which mainly carries a visual narration of an incident vs. an Ad which is basically a message which drives target to buy something.
 
ZH: 7. What is your one-piece of advice for aspiring artists?
One of the key facts that most young artists are missing it is the “WORK ETHIC” this is the fundamental of an artist’s career path. Art is a long journey, which requires passing many steps. Jumping steps or ignoring a few doesn’t shorten the path to the destination. It’s important to take the steps carefully, learn, experience and move forward. Perseverance and hard work pays off the journey’s lengthy path in long run.

ZH: Thank you for being with us at ZH.

It was a pleasure chatting with you as well.

Interview by Medea Mahmoudian & Ali Shahrokhi 

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