In the visually saturated world that we live in, artist Ashkan Honarvar has found a refuge in collage. His work is a meticulous mishmash of art, photography, illustration and pornography, all carefully arranged to form an ordered chaos. Ashkan will be the first to admit that sometimes his work is not easy to look at but his art isn’t for you or me, it’s a form of therapy.
The artist challenges ideas of power, sex and death in an effort to deal with the unanswered questions in life and while the result may be macabre, Ashkan encourages the viewer to look for beauty in his work. In an interview with METAL, we uncover the artist’s creative process and how no book or magazine is safe around his scissors.
I’m a collage artist currently living in Trondheim, Norway. I have studied graphic design and illustration before rolling into fine arts in The Netherlands. For almost a decade now I have been doing collage art and at the moment I’m represented by two galleries in the USA: one in NY and one in LA.
I discovered collage through my girlfriend. I noticed very early that I liked this medium, the results are instant and rewarding. I believe it’s also a contemporary medium to work with in these times where we are surrounded by visual overload.
Imperfections and human nature are the main source of inspiration for me in my work but also film makers, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Alejandro Jodorwski and artists, Matthew Barney, Jeffrey Silverthorne, Antoine Dare. Two writers that had major influence on my work are Jens Bjørneboe and Ernest Becker.
Not per se messages but more answers. My work is very personal, and I have always used it to find "answers". Sometimes I feel more like a scientist than an artist.
Certainly! Almost every project I have made started with a question that I didn’t have the answer to. And by working on a project, in the process you start to see everything from different angles that you haven’t thought about before. Sometimes a clear answer will emerge and sometimes a sense of feeling. You can’t put it into words, it’s more abstract.
It’s mixed but mostly positive. The viewer usually gets confused as to whether they think the picture is beautiful or grotesque. Personally, I have always been fascinated by this juxtaposition.
Yes, as mentioned before I think it’s interesting to examine what this beauty is in the macabre or in general.
Flea markets, Ebay, antique book shops and friends and family. And pretty much every printed material I can find around me.
The big difference here is to find a balance between my work and the photographer. It should be 50/50, so the collage elements shouldn’t cover the whole picture, it should work in harmony together. I really enjoy collaboration from time to time. It’s a nice way to do something different once in a while.
Expect larger format works. The majority of my collages are not bigger than A3 size paper but these newer ones are around 100cm x 75 cm and still handmade. And beside that I have also started with a new project based on Ernest Becker´s book The Denial of Death. That book is breathtakingly inspiring. I recommend it to everyone.