It’s not only the level of detail in Andrew Khosravani’s drawings that is seemingly inherent to his style; it’s the underlying symbolic nature too. With black and colored pencils he creates dynamic worlds in lovely spectrums of color that evoke a range of historical art forms.
From Khosravani’s early infatuation with the pensive facial expressions found on Greek statues, to his deep knowledge of the intricacies of Aztec culture, and his cherished Persian background, traditional techniques and patterns regularly creep into his bold illustrations. While his distinctive style may be rooted in a strong passion for his heritage and other traditional illustrative constructions, his works resonate both with traditional forms and a more modernist aesthetic.
His most recent works (see ‘Persian Gatherings’) offer intense and precise structural detail, while reminding the viewer of writings of Persian poetry. Haunting, double-edged, and rich in symbolism and complexity. With these illustrations it’s clear that Khosravani is an arranger. Persian warriors, horses, birds, trees, people, patterns, and water litter each of his paper canvasses until he finds a set-up that best suits the imagery’s conceptual content, ready to draw the whole lot with his trademark colored pencils.
But clearly the most distinctive feature of the artist’s oeuvre is to be found in each image’s rich color and charming detail; two elements that undoubtedly reveal Khosravani’s inventive artistic spirit and delightfully recognizable style.
Give us the Andrew Khosravani spiel: Where are you from? How did you find yourself illustrating?
I am from London and I have been illustrating since I was around 13 I guess. Me and my friend used to try and copy comic books and skate logos. We weren’t very good.
It seems like there are a lot of references and imagery surrounding the ocean and skating. How have the two and art influenced one another in your life and work?
Skating is a huge influence. I have been skating for over 10 years and work part-time in a skate shop in London. I’m almost constantly surrounded by it so I guess it comes into my work a lot whether I want it to or not.
What is it about the details of a face that you are particularly drawn to? Are we correct in noticing some Grecian influences in the faces for your Kaleidoscope Skateboard collaboration? If so, tell us a little about that.
When I was a kid at school we did a lot of life drawing and I used to practice by drawing statues. Greek statues were always my favorites. They had these really pensive expressions, as if they were contemplating The Universe and I always wanted to draw that same expression. Unfortunately most of the time my drawings ended up looking like they needed to take a shit.
What do you draw with? Does your process vary with materials?
I have two different approaches when I’m about to illustrate something. I either draw in black and white with pen and then color digitally. Or I do full color with pencils. Sometimes I combine the two and have black and white pen and bold color pencils. I’m still quite an analogue person, but I do really enjoy working digitally too as long as it still feels handmade.
What personal projects are you currently working on and how does your personal work differ from your commercial and commissioned work?
At the moment I’m trying to keep a sketchbook full of Persian influenced artwork and sketches. My dad is Iranian and the Persians have a rich and glorious artistic history. I’m especially fascinated with Persian Miniatures which are jaw droppingly beautiful. With personal work you can just explore your own head and enjoy the journey where as with commissioned work you have to please the client. My personal work is always way weirder.
What’s it like in the studio with you? What’s on your desk?
A totem pole my cousin gave me from Canada, a portrait my girlfriend drew, my hamster and a lot of pencil shavings. I work from home so my living room is a converted studio. Some people hate having a studio at home, but I don’t mind so it much.
What are you currently listening to? Do you collect anything for inspiration or hobby?
Recently I have been listening to a lot of audio books. Also been listening to Jackson C. Frank’s one and only album. If you haven’t heard it I strongly recommend you give it a try. I collect National Geographic magazines, as they are full of amazing images and stories to get the creative juices flowing.
When you catch yourself doodling, what do you usually find? Is there one image/idea that you find yourself subconsciously going back to?
I always draw palm trees. I love sneaking them in to my drawings. I live approximately 300 miles from a descent Palm Tree.
For more from Andrew Khosravani check out his website here: www.andrewkhosravani.com