Known for his abstract compositions, New York artist Ali Banisadr recently described his paintings as “quite encyclopedic” and “trying to bring together different bits of information and knowledge from different sources”, as he told Brooke Jaffe during a “ART news Live,” our ongoing IGTV series featuring interviews with a range of creatives.

Influenced by classical literature and the work of old masters like Bruegel, Bosch and Goya, Banisadr admires their ability to “show humanity at a macro level”. To create his works, he says “to fall[s] down the rabbit terrier” while researching the imagery that appears throughout his work. His maximalist approach to painting begins by sitting with “the endless possibilities” of a blank canvas until an idea or feeling strikes him. To capture a mood, Banisadr bottles his own paint color combinations, which have become the basis of his works. The rest, he says, is a “smooth process” of improvisation and happy accidents.

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[A look inside Ali Banisadr’s Brooklyn studio.]

The vibrancy of his paintings Banisadr attributes to his synesthesia – a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sense causes an involuntary experience of another. Growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and then the eight-year Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, Banisadr began making drawings based on the sound of explosions.

“When I look at visual things, they can turn into sounds, and when I hear certain sounds, they can turn into visual things,” he said. When he also reads, he sees “a parallel visual world” with “symbols, colors and movements”. He compares a finished painting to the harmony of a full orchestra.

Meditation is also a big part of Banisadr’s artistic practice. To “get in touch with the painting,” he describes being in a similar headspace to where he meditates, allowing him to receive “symbols and visual things that will manifest in the work.”

Personal exhibition of Banisadr “These specks of dust” is currently on view at the Kasmin Gallery in New York until June 26. monograph on the Iranian painterThe Artistic Practice and Influences of was published earlier this year by Rizzoli.

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