Freitag, 25. März 2011

small talk ::: mehrdad zaeri esfahani

a few weeks ago i have asked him for an interview. today it´s finally possible. sincere thanks to mehrdad zaeri for the "small talk" and to heide for translating it. i wish you a pleasant reading.

(c) mehrdad zaeri esfahani
my name is mehrdad zaeri esfahani and i was born in 1970 in isfahan/iran. on december, 24th in 1985, at the age of fifteen, i came to germany with my family applying for asylum here.

when i took the abitur exam at heidelberg in 1992, i decided to draw pictures for the rest of my life. i began to work as a taxi driver and to line up many expositions with my own works. in 2001 i stopped working as a taxi driver and started freelancing as an artist. since then i work together with artists and story-tellers on the stage at (dance) theatres, musicals, readings and concerts. i accompany their performance with my drawings which become generated and then projected during the event. so the audience can attend the creation of pictures.

since 2008 i work as an illustrator. a year later i founded the group knopfkino with enno kalisch (actor and story-teller) and friedwart goebels (pianist). out of the moment storys are being improvised and told with visual, musical and spoken elements (look here or here).

momentarily i work on the following projects:
  • calendar of strange commemoration days 2012: will be published by büchergilde gutenberg in may 2011
  • men's duties – a declaration of love in 19 articles: fruit of the cooperation between me, students of book sciences at the university of mainz and the publishing house büchergilde – will be out in september 2011
  • designing the cover and booklet of the CD „berggeflüster“, slow and melancholic jazz composed and performed by the trio gerdband (piano, drums, bass)
  • in may and in autumn this year i will accompany the grupo sal on their tour in germany
illustrations for the calendar of strange commemoration days 2012
i always loved working as an illustrator. during the first years i designed a lot of posters for theatre events followed by an increasing number of requests for illustrations. in 2008 i received from the publishing house büchergilde gutenberg the order to make 25 illustrations for the book das chinesische dekameron. it was my first bigger job for a book project.

das chinesische dekameron
due to the success of that book i received more requests for illustrations. i decided to (nearly) give up lining up own expositions and to use all my time working as an illustrator.

my inspiration mainly arises out of thousands of small drawings i have collected in my uncountable sketch books. i made these drawings whenever i had to wait in everyday life. for this reason i always carry a pencil and a sketch book.

when illustrating a book i always try not to be too close to the text. my drawings shall be an addition to the text. they shall also tell the story and hopefully become one with the text in the reader's mind. for example, illustrating a story about war by drawing an armor isn't exciting for me. drawing an abandoned baby carriage instead is better and it inspires the reader even more.

what i really appreciate as an illustrator is the high grade of communication and that i can reach so many people in their homes while drawing at my table at my home.

what i dislike as an illustrator is the typical situation that everyone knows who is working for a client: he already has got the pictures in his mind and wants the illustrator to draw them exactly like that. if the illustrator gives in, he's lost.

my daily routine:
  • getting up early in the morning between 6 am and 7:30 am 
  • having breakfast, working at the drawing table: pencils, paper, sketch books, computer
  • taking a walk 
  • watching a lot of films in the cinema or at home on DVD, often listening to music 
  • having my beloved wife around me during the day (as an photographer she has a similar way of life) meeting my parents, my brothers and sisters and their children 
  • listening to the radio (deutschlandfunk), no tv (otherwise I'd watch night and day arte
  • going to bed at around 11 pm 
  • no cigarettes (never before), no alcohol (never before), no other drugs, but music and „food for the eyes“


  1. wonderful work of a wonderful artist...;) your new blog and the column "small talk"...really great format...i´m looking forward for more...have a great weekend and until then...cheers and hugs...i...