I first saw Mohammad Reza Atashzad at Art Downtown at Cathedral Square last year. He was sitting in the plaza, facing the Holy Rosary Cathedral and looking down Richards Street, painting the scene as it lay before him.
We never spoke then because I did not want to disturb him or his work. I was simply happy to watch him, an artist in his element.
But at this year’s Art Downtown at Jack Poole Plaza, I had the occasion to see him again, and I did not want to waste the opportunity.
Mohammad says painting is, for him, a way to relax.
“When I am painting, I do not notice the passing of time,” he says. “I am usually studying, painting or teaching from early in the morning to late at night. I never tend to feel tired as I genuinely enjoy staying occupied with my work.”
His interest in art began young. From his home city in Isfahan, Iran, Mohammad was drawing by the age of seven, drawn to the city’s architectural and natural beauty.
“Every corner was like a museum with beautiful monument buildings, old bridges and rivers. So, I was enthusiastic to paint them, especially with watercolour.”
This artistic curiosity led him to study at the Fine Art School of Isfahan, where he experimented with multiple mediums. However, he settled primarily on watercolour as it matched his personality and style.
When looking at his paintings, whether watercolour or acrylic, cityscapes or nature, there is creative simplicity in how he captures what he sees. He is passionate about what he paints, and this passion is translated into a story on canvas.
“My style is something between reality and imagination, like poetry,” Mohammad says. “When something is not completely in my favour, I will complete the drawing or painting with my imagination.”
And there is something beautiful in getting to share his art with the people, especially in public venues like Art Downtown.
“I really enjoy such outdoor events and interacting with people, especially when I am painting and expressing my feelings about my surroundings and sharing them with others.”
By Nathan Durec