The Person Behind The Artist: Ali Golzad

Q. Hello Ali, Thank you for this oppor­tun­ity to talk about your beau­ti­ful art­work. Can you tell us some­thing about your background?

I was born in Iran in 1974 and as every­one knows with the revolu­tion in the early 70’s and all that fol­lowed includ­ing the war of Iran and Iraq forced my par­ents to make a decision and do the unthink­able. My par­ents sent my broth­er & I to Sweden as polit­ic­al refugees (I was 10 and he 11). There we stayed with my father’s child­hood friend & fam­ily who had left Iran years before. Soon we found ourselves in the Swedish immig­ra­tion sys­tem and were adop­ted for almost 2 years. With the help of the Swedish Gov­ern­ment and our adopt­ive par­ents we were finally able to get my par­ents & young­er broth­er out of Iran. We were able to live as a fam­ily togeth­er again all in Gote­borg Sweden. Gote­borg is my home town and where I even­tu­ally went to school for advert­ising & design. Early on I star­ted as a graph­ic design­er / illus­trat­or. After meet­ing my wife in 1997 who is from Dal­las (we met in Sweden) I came to the United States and star­ted work­ing as a Graph­ic Design­er. Soon I found myself work­ing as an Art Dir­ect­or / Cre­at­ive Dir­ect­or in which I was suc­cess­ful for 10 years.

Q. When did you start in the world of art?

From the stor­ies told by my par­ents the first time I men­tioned being an artist I was a 6 year old — I was told that artists are poor and can only afford bread and cheese. Of course my answer was, “I love cheese.” (and still do) but really truly as far as I can remem­ber I have always been inter­ested in art and ways to express myself. Art has always been my pas­sion but it was only until recently in the past 2 years that I have decided to devote myself to my art 100% full-time. So to be hon­est I don’t con­sider myself to be in the art world.… I am still scratch­ing the sur­face to get inside.

Q. When did you start mak­ing your recycled art work? 

Grow­ing up in Sweden recyc­ling is part of our every­day life and the respect of nature is unques­tion­able. This has always been the found­a­tion of my art & because of that I have always looked for new uses of the same mater­i­al. While work­ing as an Art Dir­ect­or design­ing dis­plays for large com­pan­ies I was exposed to cor­rug­ated card­board. After each pro­ject there was always a lot of leftover card­board. Clean, untouched card­board. I struggled with the fact that recyc­ling in the US was noth­ing like back home. It was then I decided to do some­thing about it myself. Of course, the answer was to take it all home until I could fig­ure out what to do with it. First I star­ted draw­ing & paint­ing on it then I star­ted burn­ing it for tex­ture and even­tu­ally I ended up folding…and that was my ah ha moment.

Q. The Invis­ible People recycled art is truly inspir­ing, what is the story behind this project? 

My choice of mater­i­al, cor­rug­ated card­board, to cre­ate bas-relief por­traits of dis­placed chil­dren in their nat­ive hab­it­ats, reflects their unseen status. Like cor­rug­ated card­board, the twenty mil­lion are every­where yet invis­ible. I have a strong affin­ity for these trau­mat­ized and abused chil­dren because of my child­hood. To me the plight of child sol­diers and chil­dren abused as sex slaves escapes notice in the civ­il­ized word which causes me to ques­tion how civ­il­ized we really are. To me, these are “Invis­ible People.”

Q. What have been the responses to the Invis­ible People project? 

 The reac­tion is some­times dis­ap­point­ing due to lack of under­stand­ing. Although every­body loves my work and thinks that it is dif­fer­ent and unusu­al only a per­cent­age of people truly under­stand what it’s about. As an example, I have a piece that’s called “For­got­ten Inno­cence.” It depicts a young girl hold­ing a gun. I get reac­tions that are the oppos­ite of what I had in mind. Some think that I am a gun lov­er and I am dis­play­ing a cool image of that and of course that is abso­lutely not what I am rep­res­ent­ing. It does­n’t help that I am in Texas but over­all I have been very blessed with all the pos­it­ive sup­port received over the past few years.

Q. How import­ant do you think it is to col­lab­or­ate an import­ant mes­sage with art? 

Of course art is some­thing very per­son­al but I do believe it’s an imper­at­ive way to expose and dis­cuss issues. As an artist I believe we have a cer­tain respons­ib­il­it­ies to tell the stor­ies that have no voice or are silent or yet untold or unheard.

Q. Do you have any upcom­ing projects?

The Invis­ible People is an on-going pro­ject. I have a vis­ion of cre­at­ing an entire envir­on­ment in which the stor­ies of each per­son is told.  I am cur­rently col­lab­or­at­ing with writers to depict the stor­ies behind each of my pieces.  I hope to even­tu­ally be able to take this exhib­it world­wide in order to share these stor­ies and open a dia­log for solu­tions.  Who knows maybe one day I will have a show in your hometown.

For more inform­a­tion on Ali Golzad or to view more of his work vis­it

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Gata Malandra

Edit­or / Research­er at No Bounds
Gata is a music and arts lov­er, stud­ied anthro­po­logy, art man­age­ment and media pro­duc­tion ded­ic­at­ing most of her time to cre­at­ive pro­jects pro­duced by No Bounds.

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About Gata Malandra

Gata is a music and arts lover, studied anthropology, art management and media production dedicating most of her time to creative projects produced by No Bounds.

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