“As an artist and photographer my creative inspiration is fuelled by the people and places I meet.” Enzie Shahmiri
Enzie is well known for her commissioned portraits for people and pets. Her portraits capture distinctive facial expressions of their unique aura’s and their current state in life. Enzie has been creating artwork for commission since 1999. She as trained inClassical Realism. She has exhibited in many solo, and group exhibits. Her work is available in private collections in USA, Europe and the Middle East.
What made you become an artist?
I have had a lifelong passion for painting and when my children were no longer in need of my full-time attention, I decided to go after fulfilling my dream of becoming a professional portrait artist.
You seem to specialize in portraits. What is you like about portraits that fascinates you to paint them?
When I paint a portrait I look beyond the obvious and try to find that something that makes that person or that pet unique. I look for that special head tilt, the emotion in the gaze, the curvature of the lips. All these are small clues that we associate un-knowingly with our loved ones and that make them so special to us. When a client bursts into tears upon seeing the portrait of a loved one, the raw emotional connection between the painting and the client is priceless to me.
Do you work from real life, photos or imagination?
Thanks to the internet portrait orders are coming in from all over the globe making it necessary to have a good understanding of how to turn a photo into a nice looking piece of art. Most people do not have the time to sit repeatedly for portraits either, therefore I work mainly from photographs.
What mediums do you work with and why?
I used to paint mainly with oils, but this year have started to include digital portraits as well, as part of my “Pay What You Want” promotion. I love to make my work accessible to all people, regardless of what their budget might be and was looking for a medium that would allow me to drastically increase my production time. The more art I can create the more lives I can touch through my work.
What techniques do you use in your in your work?
I believe that everything in life has to have a good balance. With that in mind, I vary between textured and smooth surfaces. As a realist portrait artist I want to capture the exact likeness of my subjects and reserve the painterly more heavier brush strokes for clothing and background settings.
Does your work focus on one topic or many?
I am a philanthropist and enjoy using my work to draw attention to various causes. I have a “Good Karma Sunday” section on my website, which I use to donate proceeds of sales for various causes or charities. Focusing on various topics forces me to become really creative with my work and find new ways to make new connections with people of varied interests.
Why do you want to express those topics, what inspired you too?
The first couple of times when people cried or gave me bear hugs upon taking delivery of their paintings was the moment I realized that I was given a special gift. During the genocide in Darfur I painted a painting of a Sudanese girl and donated 100% of the sale to the United Nations to help the people of Darfur. When I was invited to Washington DC to participate in the Refugee Day conference and listened to the plight of refugees, I realized that I can use my gift of painting to try to make a difference in the quality of life of others. The key was finding a way to do it throughout the year on a continued basis for various causes.
How did you learn your art, self-taught or academically?
It’s a combination of both. I drew as a child, painted as an adolescent and turned my focus to becoming a professional portrait artist by studying art and taking extended workshops from portrait masters.
How are your themes expressed in your work?
It varies greatly. For example Ck Mondavi wines did a marketing campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes. I painted a painting of wine grapes and used social media to talk about Mondavi wines and their project. I also mentioned that 25% of the sale of that painting will be donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes so that more rehabilitation facilities can be built for war veterans. I also painted a painting of two Pandas to raise awareness for the Panda Conservatory in Chengdu, China and again offered to donate a portion of the sale to further education about Pandas and their habitat conservation.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I am working on portrait commissions one of two brothers and their dog and one of a cat portrait. When I am not painting I am looking for reference photos to start a painting to support another cause “No Mothers Left Behind”.
What artists inspire you and why?
I love the work of the Orientalist artists of the 19th century and in particular that of Jean Leone Gerome. He was a French academic painter who worked in a realistic style and whose work is so finely detailed and just beautiful to look at. His attention to detail has always been fascinating to me and I inspire to create artwork that is equally inspiring.
Where would you place your work in art society and why?
That’s a good question. I have come out of the main stream art society. I have exhibited in several galleries, participated in shows and submitted work to competitions with various degree of success. However each one required a shift in focus and a need to raise prices, something I just don’t want to do. I want to bring joy to others through my work and not be haunted by other responsibilities that take me away from my objective.
What movement does your work come under?
Realism or even hyper realism. I don’t want to capture an essence or make you guess what you might be looking at. When you look at my work, you should recognize who or what it is that I have painted.
What is the art scene currently in your country?
I believe it is a mix of all sorts of genres and styles.
How is your work different from others in your medium or art movement?
I always have my client’s needs in mind and create portraits that not only capture the likeness of the person or pet depicted, but whenever possible include elements that make the portrait very personal. When creating a custom painting it is important that the painting fits well into the customers home and therefore I take a lot of time to consult with my clients before and during the painting process to make sure that all their needs are met and that the painting is to their full satisfaction.
Do you see your work changing in the future?
My work is always changing and that’s the beauty of being an artist. I want to create even more paintings for charitable causes and hope to make the right connections that will facilitate these projects.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions, if yes where?
No currently I have none scheduled.
Where can people find your work?
I currently sell all my work through my website at http://www.portraits-by-nc.com
If you were a buyer, how would you describe your work in five words?
Beautiful, realistic, affordable, colourful, emotional
What do you want your audience to experience from your work?
I want my clients to be moved to smile, to lough or to remember someone.
What advice would you give to young artists?
Select a master painter who works in the style you admire most and take as many intensive workshops with him or her until you learn how to paint like them. I learned the most when I concentrated on the painting style of one master