Born in Tehran, Iran and based in Antalya, Turkey, Parsa Mostaghim is a cross-disciplinary artist whose work squishes and sculpts the digital and the analog into gloopy hybrid works. Painting, animation, CGI, and electronic music production are all putty in Mostaghim’s hands. The result of this broad skillset and restless curiosity are what he calls “living paintings”—endlessly looping animations or lurid tableaux that call back to the art history canon while embracing the potential of new digital tools (just don’t call them “psychedelic”).
- My earliest memory of being online
Having an extremely pixelated video call with my uncle when I was seven or eight.
- How my online experiences have influenced my offline life
I wouldn’t be the same person without access to the internet. When I was 17, I diligently downloaded over 20,000 images of artworks from various sources over a span of two years. This intensive exposure to the vast array of cultural achievements of humankind had a significant effect on my creativity.
- The most challenging and most rewarding thing about what I do
Throughout the creative process, there are instances where I find myself ruthlessly critiquing my work, leading to moments of doubt and uncertainty about its direction. However, as the artwork gradually approaches its final form, a profound sense of joy emerges, washing away the pain and doubt that preceded it.
- The most commonly misunderstood thing about what I do
A lot of folks think my work is influenced by psychedelic drugs but that’s just not true. Most of my inspiration comes from music and art history, especially the European painting tradition from the Renaissance to contemporary stuff.
- How technology has changed what I do since I started doing it
From the age of four, I was using both analog and digital tools to create imagery. In that sense, nothing has changed fundamentally: the tech just improved a lot. Now, there are almost infinite possibilities for creators.
- How I think our relationship with technology should change
Responsibility is the name of the game, both individual and institutional.
- The most important tool for my practice
As a multidisciplinary artist, I can’t choose one. But regarding my digital practice, I would say VR sculpting software. I have been using it for the past year-and-a-half and it has allowed me to bring my painterly intuition to the digital realm.
- Art matters because
I personally can’t tolerate human civilization without it—it’s just impossible.
- I am most indebted to
Firstly, my parents. They were and are still supportive of my artistic practice. Amir Hossein Dezfouli was my painting teacher in art school who nurtured my love for painting when I was 16. Also, my music teacher Reza Mortazavi.
- I am fascinated by
Social interactions, the lifestyle of insects, and Indian classical music.
- I am vexed by
Exploitation, bugs (computer ones), and commercial music.
- Something that feels futuristic now but will be forgotten in the future
I have no clue.
- Something that feels like a distraction now but will define the future
Social media. I think in the near future there will be a drastic change in how these social tools work. The distinction between wasting time online versus living online will become more blurry.
- How I envision the role of the artist changing in the future
I don’t believe in such a thing. There isn’t a common objective that all artists on earth work towards. And as an audience I don't expect anything specific from an artist, I just let the artwork do its thing. Sometimes it leaves a profound effect, other times it's garbage.
- My future legacy will be
I’m only 25! Probably in the not-so-far future, I can migrate my identity into the digital realm and never die spiritually!
- The best instruction for an AI learning to emulate me
Be predictable and unpredictable at the same time.
- Three things I would recommend to anyone
1. Take a 24-hour break from your phone once in a while.
2. Dance and sing when you’re by yourself.
3. Brew hibiscus tea.
- My current desktop background is
Pitch black. I had it for the past six years. I changed my device twice but the darkness persists!