MUSEUM

OF

canvas10-swirls.png

EST. 2018

In Conversation with Hasti Chakerhosseini

The_Dream_State.jpeg

"The Dream State" by Hasti Chakerhosseini.

Acrylic Paint, on canvas board with ink pen. Cover art for the Canvas Summer 2019 issue.

Below is discussion between Canvas Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Herko and Summer 2019 cover artist Hasti Chakerhosseini.

LINDSAY​

 

When I look at "The Dream State" I am deeply intrigued by this image of a woman that is at once surfacing in the soft-amorphous (she could be literally coming through or suspended in a fog of a dream, through sky, or liquid, or an ancient seeming milk, among other things) yet what I notice is how she also seems disjointed. Disjointed is an interesting feeling because her body is still pulling inward to herself which could be seen as harmonious, creating a self-cradle for sleep, and it’s easy to imagine the substance she is surfacing through is "soft." Yet the image works in a duality that what is hidden also reveals posturing. People are known to fall asleep in the oddest situations, and sometimes our cultures even strive for the wild story of what's most uncomfortable. Looking at that, if this piece of art is being read in a literal sense of a someone sleeping—it exposes us to a gorgeous vulnerability, that whoever this is, could fall asleep in such a fashion, against whatever is going on around her that we aren't privy to see. The circular surfacing of her limbs and crown, make the position reminiscent of being a fetus. As does the hand that rises with fingers "seizing." Those fingers and the bent orientation of the neck also make me think of the woman being read as a marionette. The dreamer in one reading could be dreaming herself into actuality, hence all of the amorphous mystery space around her. Her own pinched fingers "conjuring" like people often do when pulling forth a creative idea or a song. Or the dreamer could be in a sleep state of being operated by others (which brings up imagery on a continuum of marionettes to The Matrix). I like so much that all of this pops through, and still may not be the artist's intended meaning. We could also look at this image in the time of movements like #MeToo, that women are dreaming of the lives they ought to have—the freedom and respect that equal movement in the world, but often are left to remain in the "dreaming state" while their theoretical limbs that give them power are disconnected from functioning by a pervasive societal fog if you will.   

 

 

HASTI

 

(Side Note, your analysis before this question genuinely made me cry, I feel like that is why I do what I do when I paint, also excuse the made up words, I guess this is also why I paint.) 

 

My intentions for this piece was not necessarily to invoke thought, but to just look and immediately understand the feeling that arises from this painting and for the viewer to feel almost as if they had resurfaced a part of themselves that they had long denied. The girl, who I thought of as myself, is depicted in a very vulnerable sleep amidst a self-inflicted fog of nothingness and everythingness, and the sensation of comfort and unapologetic peace is what I most wanted to draw out. Similar to what you said, there is duality. She is evidently cradled and comfortable within herself, but the odd posture of what is seen by the viewer appears uncomfortable and unideal, and the point is essentially to emphasize being in what seems to me to be the universal "dream state" of the human experience, to be unapologetically at peace and languor in a mess (or "fog") of your own creation, regardless if others can see through it or not

 

 

LINDSAY

 

What led to the creation of "The Dream State?" What is your generative process like? Do images or concepts come first, or do they reveal themselves while working? 

 

 

HASTI

 

“The Dream State” for me was an impulsive painting session where you don't stop until you feel like you let go of a feeling. For this piece it was just an overwhelming existential feeling that we all think the same deep thoughts and have the same feelings, but for some unknown reason we hide them in front of each other and feel uncomfortable being honest, so I really wanted to encapsulate a very vulnerable feeling in the piece to force confrontation with one’s truth. I ironically actually saw this in a dream, where there was chaos around me and I just melted into the floor, and I wanted to recreate the overwhelming peace I felt in that moment. A lot of my work is like that, usually rooting from obscure emotions and daydreams, and all that is left to do is translate it artistically.

 

 

 

LINDSAY

The title of this piece seems in very important partnership with the content. When did you know you would call it this? Did you have any alternate names kicking alongside? Without a title, do you think we'd cull a different narrative to the piece? I ask because I am interested in how "without language" images sometimes take on drastically different identities?

 

 

HASTI

This title came to me immediately; there was nothing else that I would want to name it even if I tried to. With me, my art is based on obscure emotions and dreams, so my titles are always attempts at defining what I see once I am done. This piece was a physical representation of what I had gathered about myself from a lot of my dreams, so I named it after what Sigmund Freud in his books always calls dreams, "the dream state." I loved how it almost attempts at making something as obscure as dreams seem scientific and concrete, and it seemed to almost stick to the piece, so I kept it. As art can be taken in any direction by the viewer, I think the title is a hint or sometimes just a label, but never gives meaning to the piece. It is only supposed to be a physical remnant of an emotional experience the viewer had, in my opinion. 

 

 

LINDSAY

 

"The Dream State" allows us to wonder about the woman within it. Do you have any internal stories about her? Do you create identities for the humans inside your art? This piece is unique because we get to ponder what she may be dreaming about. And dreams are often so nonlinear and surreal, that it opens another avenue for audience members to engage with the piece. As they try to identify with the humanity of the woman, they may project their own thoughts about dreaming.  

 

If you were going to visually curate her dream, what would it look like?  

 

 

HASTI

 

I think that is what is interesting about the piece, she is dreaming in the painting and at the same time the peacefulness is her dream. If I could visually represent the dream, it would be something completely at peace, completely open and honest, but also magical, like a Greek mythology, probably some large terrain like mossy hills speckled with tiny daisies and a cold sky hugging your arms—that is a dream to me. The feeling of peace and honesty one gets from the painting and what it reminds them of is their visual representation of their "dream state," and I want people to lean into that and embrace it. 

 

 

LINDSAY

 

Since the readers of Canvas are ever curious, and wanting to know about the lives of others, what are your own dreams like?   Sleep-style or daydreams or hopes for your future? Is there anything you feel is unusual or unique about them compared to the dreams you may hear about from those close to you?

 

 

HASTI

 

Interestingly enough, I am obsessed with the concept of dreams and the subconscious mind, and I am always reading about the work of Freud and others on how one should interpret them. I am a lucid dreamer, and my dreams have always been hyper-realistic and cathartic, and take the typical elusive and super confusing form. Most of my dreams I don't remember, which is why a lot of the dreams depicted in my works are daydreams, but the ones I do always have some odd connection to my past or my future, which interested me from the beginning.

 

LINDSAY

 

Is there an ideal location or circumstance you'd want someone to interact with your work?

 

 

HASTI

 

A gallery or integrated into an interactive art experience would be a dream. All that is important to me is that people feel something when they see my work, in whatever form it takes, and feel like they are encountering something that they have felt before but never explored.

 

LINDSAY

 

In what circumstances do you feel primed to be creative?  Do you have any rituals?

 

 

HASTI

Since my art is impulsive I have no rituals, I just paint what I feel when I feel strongly about them, and when I am not in a very passionate mood I simply don't paint. As weird as it sounds, this is why art has always been almost like a super mundane version of "invocation of the muses" for me, like some force is offering their idea to me for me to turn into physicality. 

LINDSAY

Are there any works of art (literature or music) that you feel would be in the same universe as "The Dream State?"

 

 

HASTI

 

I feel that music that is super honest and poetic, the rare ones where the lyrics get you choked up before the music, really resonate with “The Dream State." I feel like the way I feel about my favorite music is how I want people to feel about this piece, art that really resonates with the human experience, a lot of Bon Iver, Blanco White, AURORA, RY X, and Benjamin Clementine.

 

 

 

LINDSAY

 

Have you had any moments of self-discovery you could share with Canvas?  

 

 

HASTI

 

I feel like for a lot of my life I was simply painting for the joy of it, I never considered myself as someone who could think at the depth of respected artists and creatives, until I painted this one piece I painted of a friend of mine. My sister told me everyone I had drawn so far was drawn wearing my style of clothing with my hair and all of my niches, just with their face, and I realized maybe this meant I was hiding from myself by covering myself up with the faces of those who I admired, and I distinctly remember staying up alone at night crying at how was able to extract meaning from my work about myself, how I subconsciously taught myself through art. It was then that I began to view myself as an artist and looked deeper into dreams and the subconscious, which has since became the focus of my work. 

 

 

LINDSAY

 

That’s deeply beautiful, Hasti. 

 

How about any advice for other teen creatives?   

 

 

 

HASTI

 

If you have an idea that brings you joy and makes you genuinely excited, don't let anybody make you feel bad about it, do it unapologetically and put all of your emotion into it. Art is for you just as much as it is for an audience, don't let someone take your own art away from you. 

 

 

LINDSAY

 

Who has inspired you?  What things from the outer world fortify you to be an artist?

 

 

 

HASTI

 

Basically all of the artists I have mentioned. Blanco White's metaphorical super honest lyrics, AURORA and her unapologetic truthfulness, Benjamin Clementine and his redefinition of music as poetry, RY X and his adamance on empathy and oneness in the human experience, I could go on for hours. The main thing that inspires me to create is when I see the work of other artists and how they resonate with my mind, it gives you hope that people will resonate with what you put out, and that behind the social facade there is a universal empathy and truth that appreciates all the same things you do, which always gets me excited to create.

 

 

Artist Instagram:   @_hastihosseini

 

Below are songs by the musicians Hasti mentions in her interview above.

If you have an idea that brings you joy and makes you genuinely excited, don't let anybody make you feel bad about it, do it unapologetically and put all of your emotion into it. Art is for you just as much as it is for an audience, don't let someone take your own art away from you. 

Hasti Chakerhosseini is a junior at Arnold O. Beckman High. She is a freelance artist, and she enjoys reading, research and exploring new artistic mediums. She has won a Gold Key and two Silver Keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, as well as being featured in various literary magazines for her work.