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Studio Visit - Sepideh Ilsley

Studio Visit - Sepideh Ilsley

Studio Visit - Sepideh Ilsley

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Studio Visit with Sepideh Ilsley

We visited with Sepideh Isley to learn more about her digital approaches to making art, and her interest in the abstract language of shapes. The self-taught artist uses her obsessions and memorable experiences and interprets those feelings and curiosities into her different forms, translating her stories into her visual work. Get to know more about Ilsley through her own words below.

Q.

Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist…

A.

I am a creative with a background in Art Direction and Graphic Design, but after a decade working within that industry, I felt the need to express myself in a creative way outside of an agency setting. I started drawing intensely colourful and intricate digital graphic portraits and immediately fell in love with the process. It grew from a place of love as they were initially only for family and friends and a way of expressing myself and using my skills in a new artistic way; which was liberating. I started working with commission portraits and explored working with abstractions and more toned down minimalist pieces which eventually led me to my current body of work. I think growing up in Sweden made me a minimalist at heart. There is something so beautiful and profound about this way of thinking, this way of life. Even though I appreciate intricacy and colours that pop, I always return to clean lines and the less is more philosophy. I am originally Persian, but grew up in Sweden and after spending a number of years travelling and living all over the world I settled with my family in Perth, Australia. It is here where I was signed as a fine artist.

 

Q.

Describe your work in three words...

A.

Minimalistic, elegant, cathartic

 

Q.

When do you make your best work?

A.

When I feel inspired and have that creative flow, when you just let go and the painting takes on a life of its own.

 

Q.

What influence does modern culture have on your work?

A.

Everything I experience becomes a part of who I am and a part of the stories I tell in my art.

Q.

What is your creative process? Walk us through each stage - from coming up with ideas/themes/concepts you want to explore, to translating that into an artistic vision, to creating the physical artworks and installations.

A.

My work is a pure expression of who I am, and a way of expressing whatever is going on in my head at that point in time, from start to end. Some days I sit down and draw and go wherever the brush takes me; other times I have become obsessed with a specific subject and that very much forms the pieces. Or, I vent whatever I am feeling and at the end of the process, when I am naming the piece, it all comes full circle and makes sense. I absolutely love naming my pieces; often they are random storytellers, as if they were scenes from past memories or experiences or imaginary scenarios. I work mainly with abstractions, digitally drawn or painted by hand on the floor, painting from all sides and angles. I am literally inside the space of the painting. It is such a meditative state, and once I immerse myself in my work, I lose myself to it and let go. My digital and painted works are linked together as the pieces often start as digital sketches and then get painted on linen. It is like working backwards, going from something simple and precise to something organic and imperfect.

 

Q.

What draws you to painting and digital drawings?

A.

I think it becomes a part of you and something you need to do. It’s incredibly powerful and meditative, a journey of expression and exploration.

Q.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

A.

I see life and art as the same being; intertwined, imperfect and real. I see inspiration everywhere and in everything, you just have to look. In thoughts, ideas, feelings, memories, experiences, past and future.

 

Sepideh Ilsley says

“I think growing up in Sweden made me a minimalist at heart. There is something so beautiful and profound about this way of thinking, this way of life.”

Q.

What is your relationship with social media?

A.

I think it’s an incredibly powerful tool and an undeniable force in today's world. I would love to have the skills to be able to use it better to reach out to my audience but feel like that is a full time job in itself and I would rather use the time I have (outside of being a mum) to practice my art.

  

Q.

What influence does living in Perth, Australia have on your work? What influence has living in many different countries over the years had on your work?

A. 

I feel incredibly grateful to have been able to travel to and live in so many different parts of the world and to have met so many amazing people along the way. It's enriching in so many ways where all these places, people and experiences become a part of your life story; a story that you continuously express through your art. Western Australia has completely blown me away, it is so incredible pristine and beautiful. I absolutely love Australians respect for their environment and how everything they build is so well integrated with nature. Living close to the ocean surrounded by lush greenery here is a real privilege and a constant source of inspiration.

   

Q.

What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

A.

I essentially want to celebrate simplicity and minimalism. My current body of work uses a language of shapes where I want to encourage the viewer to allow the work to recall a memory, an event or a thought previously experienced and provide time to contemplate and celebrate that moment.

 

Q.

Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?

A.

Impermanence

 

Q.

Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?

A.

I Love Franz Kline's bold brush strokes, his very emotionally driven works that keep the eye moving and letting the viewer imagine how the artist was moving whilst painting the forms. He is such an inspiration. Another of my absolute favourite artists is Yayoi Kusama. She fascinates me with her incredible creative drive. Her works are amazing, and even more so upon discovering how her art helped her overcome childhood trauma.

 

Q.

What do you listen to when creating?

A.

Lately anything from Rag'n'Bone Man. His lyrics are incredible and his voice is so majestic! He is a huge inspiration, and both my kids adore him :). I also love working in silence.

 

Q.

What makes you laugh?

A.

My children. I also think it is very important to laugh at yourself and try not to take yourself too seriously.

Q.

What makes you nervous?

A.

Intolerance and hate (and clowns!)

Q.

What makes you excited about the future?

A.

My children, my journey as an artist, and to see if during my lifetime we can turn things around enough to make the planet a place worth passing on to our children.

 

About Sepideh Ilsley

These new works by Sepideh Ilsley start out as digital sketches before they are transferred onto linen with paint. Minimal in design and abstract in ethos, these digital works of art move backwards from precise shapes to inorganic and imperfect ones.

 

Read More

 

Explore

We invite you to explore our curated collection of abstract artworks by Tappan artists.

 

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About Sepideh Ilsley

Sepideh Ilsley was born in Shiraz, Iran, grew up in Sweden and lived elsewhere before settling in Perth, Australia. Her abstract works of art often start as digital sketches before they are painted on linen and altered into organic shapes.

STATEMENT

“My work is a pure expression of my being, my thoughts, ideas, feelings, memories, experiences, past and future. All stages of the process, from making to naming, are equally important. There’s a different story for each stage though I’m driven by values of simplicity and imperfection. I work mainly with abstractions, digitally drawn or painted by hand on the floor. I paint from all sides and angles and inhabit the space of the painting. I go where the painting and brush takes me. It is such a meditative state, and once I immerse myself in my work, I lose myself to it and let go. My digital and painted works are linked together as the pieces often start as digital sketches and then get painted on linen. It is like working backwards, going from something simple and precise to something organic and imperfect.” - Sepideh Ilsley

 

EDUCATION

2013, Umeå University, Stockholm, Sweden, Digital Images

2008, Berghs school of communication, Stockholm, Sweden, Art Direction

2001-2004, Södertörns University, Stockholm, Sweden, Media and communication

2000-2001, Berghs school of communication, Stockholm, Sweden, Graphic design and Illustration