It’s amazing how much creativity inspires further creativity. The motivation to be creative is exactly what I felt after a visit to Maryam Samii’s studio in Tehran. Maryam is an artist whose artwork has been displayed on the walls of houses across Europe, the US and Iran and metalwork in boutiques across the South of France where she has resided for the last 20 years. Recently moving back to Tehran, where she grew up, Maryam’s workspace is located on the first floor of a large apartment building in the middle of the capitol city.
Although I was surrounded by the noises and sights of the city at Maryam’s studio space, I was immediately transported to another world. An eclectic mix of music was playing, from classics like Elton John, to Persian songs by Mehrnoosh, certainly a few tunes by MC Solaar, and several songs constructed by her son, who studies sound engineering.
Within the room there are two large worktables, one dedicated to her paintings and drawings while the other is for her jewelry and metalwork. The walls are all covered in sketches and drawings, the windowsill displays a collection of old tools, and the mood of creative expression is immediately contagious.
After pouring us tea, Maryam explains that she’s working on a new series of drawings, which are spread across the expansive wooden table. The works are crisp and very likable, but she suggests that she’s not sure whether they should remain black and white or whether they should have color.
She pulls me over to a specific work and asks whether it would be better if it had a light colored outline. She then pours out a little of her tea into a bowl, dips a brush into the tea and moves her wrist casually over the drawing, brushing it with the tea, which we agree does in fact add just the right touch of color.
As we sat in this wonderful studio and our conversation continued, it became evident to me that creativity comes to artists through inspiration, through lack of inspiration, and in many different forms, but eventually artistic expression is a central part of daily life for artists. And there is a great deal of encouragement in seeing individuals create art for the sake of creating something. It is with this feeling that I left Maryam’s studio to return to the hectic streets of Tehran.
More than anything it was a reminder that art is valuable for the artist, but is even more valuable for those of us who consume art because it gives us a moment to appreciate creativity and inspiration in all of its various forms, which is most important of all. So whether art is hanging on the wall of your house, is seen in a museum, or even sitting in a basement, it represents something fundamentally important.
What has inspired you to be creative lately? Share your thoughts below, we’d love to hear from you.