Artist Interviews 2022

Mina Alikhani  
By Johnny Otto

You are an Iranian/American Artist currently living in Los Angeles. Were you born in Iran? If so, can you tell us about life growing up there, and the past Revolution (1979) and the current Revolution? Were you old enough to remember Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, and what happened to him and his family?

I wasn’t born in Iran, as my mother came over during the revolution, when shah Pahlavi was killed and the Islamic regime took over. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. That being said my mother and father, both worked for the Shah before the revolution. My mom was the head stewardess on his private plane, and my father was a songwriter who hung around the palace because his father was the head chef for the Shah. They described him as being very charismatic, and although not being perfect, he was quite the visionary. He had very different plans for Iran than that piece of shit ayatollah Khameini. Iran was home to some of the most stunning architecture, art, poetry, music and culture. When Khameini took over and implemented the “morality police” and all their radical psychotic policies…a dark cloud flew over Iran and has remained for the past 43 years ….I pray for the people of Iran every day…I’m honestly devastated about it.

How long have you been painting and how or why did you start? Any formal training or are you self-taught? Who are your artistic influences?

My whole life…I started as a little girl sketching in my books. I loved to read…and I loved playing with my dolls and creating characters and personalities for them. I was raised as the daughter of a single hard working mother and a deadbeat drug addict father so I spend a lot of time alone with very little money for after school activities or vacations…so I drew pictures…which led to painting. I’m self taught and led by my instincts. My training and education has come from trial and error…the greatest teachers of all :) I don’t really have artistic influences…I didn’t grow up around people who knew much about art. That being said I’m a big fan of Dali, Matisse, Botticelli…

Can art really change the world? What do you hope to accomplish with your paintings?

Yes. Yes. Yes….and we can’t ever stop believing that. It doesn’t bother me if people hate my art…of course I prefer that they love it…but more importantly I just hope that it helps them feel something…something that makes them look within…something that makes them ask questions…something that challenges them out of their comfort zones and maybe helps find some beauty in the unknown.

Do you have any gallery shows coming up that we can go see your work in person?

Yes but you’ll have to stay tuned to my IG or website for that info as it’s all coming together. I just had 3 solo exhibitions this year so I’m just taking a beat to recalibrate and charge ahead again .. don’t worry I’ll let y’all know ;)

How do you describe your art?

I try not to describe my art. I think it kind of describes itself but if I had to give it “art world terminology” I could say it’s a contemporary figurative- surrealist approach to life by way of oil on canvas/paper/board…

Do you have other passions such as music, film or other forms of art that inspire you?

The human experience inspires me…it’s so beautifully tragic. We’re so profoundly magical and pathetic all at the same time.

Are there other Artists that you want to collaborate with? If so, who and why?

Not really. I can’t imagine collaborating with another artists today but maybe someday…you never know.

I grew up in America and have seen all sorts of oppression of women, minorities and people of different faiths, so what is freedom, really, and do any of us have it?

I believe that true freedom is a state of mind…it’s eternal and it lives within. But in this world, no one is truly free until we are all free. As individuals in the human experience, I think we have moments of surrender where we experience a sense of freedom…I think if we work real hard we can build a life where we can be comfortable, but are we free? Nah Take a look at the world around you….

Listen, it’s 2022 and there’s a terrorist organization called Islamic Regime that isn’t even a form of actual Islam run by Khameini that is currently savagely executing men and women all over the Middle East for protesting for their basic human rights,…they’re raping virgins before they kill them because they believe that’s the way they prevent them from going to heaven. These psychopaths believe that their evil deeds will gain them favor in heaven with Allah. Now if you think that’s crazy…check this out…the whole world is watching and doing absolutely nothing about it. Why do you think that is? Stay woke darlings…ain’t nobody free.

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