Golnaz was born in India to Persian parents. She has lived and worked in Sweden, Iran, France and Switzerland prior to moving to London. She studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design in Paris and also holds First Class LL.B and LL.M. degrees in Law. She now lives and works in London. Golnaz mainly works with private clients receiving commissions for children portraiture and has previously also worked with businesses to create illustrations for London based fashion brands. Golnaz also works on collaborations with fashion designers and will be exhibiting these new abstract paintings in Como, Italy late this year.
For Golnaz, painting is a play with colours – it’s delicious. She has always been fascinated by trees, which were the main subject in many of her previous paintings. Trees represent stability and change, stillness and mobility and more importantly order in the chaos of life. Trees grow into her circular canvas and branch out in endless directions. Influenced by the writings of Carl Jung, she has turned her attention to people. Not just seeing them from an aesthetic point of view but looking deep into their souls, and seeing how their past and life stories have shaped and moulded them into who they are today. In her latest portrait series, ‘The Inner Child’, Golnaz studies photographs from her client’s childhoods to look deeply and intensely at each line, each mark, for hints towards what is not always obvious to the naked eye and to find and paint the hidden story. Working this way, and by asking them to share their fascinating life stories, allows Golnaz a true insight into the inner life of the adults she knows and sees today. This holistic process, with an intense focus on the inner child and life story, creates an energy and connection which feeds into her paintings – some with sad, traumatic childhoods, others sweet and happy, but both equally intriguing.
This journey of painting the inner child started with her own family portrait. “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside awakes” Carl Jung. This personally difficult psychological exercise led her to find her current passion; to paint the inner child. She uses oil, as this lends itself well to human flesh colours, and is a medium which she can manipulate well to create the vibrancy of colour she desires. Although her paintings may look ‘realistic’ or ‘figurative’, looking closely reveals how she sees abstraction in the smallest of areas. Her lines (or brushstrokes) are free to appear anywhere – an attempt of making the unseen visible. “Any line I paint, I have seen before in the curves of branches and trees”.
As an Iranian growing up and living in Europe, she has a particular cultural lens. Drawn by her Persian heritage, she also has an ongoing project of painting Nomads of Iran, including Nomadic children. Through her personal and spiritual painting process, she uses mandalas and channels hidden messages (including Persian words and expressions) which add “magic” and another depth to her paintings. As such Golnaz regards painting as an alchemical process. Some of the children are described as being ‘lost in the fabric of life’ or ‘being lost in the wheel of life’. Through her portraits you will observe that new life and meaning is given to all these faces who look back at you and at the world.
Golnaz has also written and illustrated, Family Clacklack, a children story book about a cockroach family. The cockroach characters are very much derived from Persian stories she grew up with and in particular “Khale Soske” (aunt cockroach) who often comes for a visit. It also reflects on migrating, settling and in time adapting to the new land as Iranians have done for centuries. She greatly enjoyed inventing the characters living inside and around the Tree on top of Apple Hill.
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“The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realise its purpose through him” Carl Jung
“It has been fascinating to see how Golnaz has revealed something new through her work from an old photograph. Her fresh perspective and deft ability to go beneath the immediate surface of the subject matter is impressive. Her sensitive, honest and open approach is reflected by the results”.
“Golnaz is a beautiful and powerful source of light and inspiration. Her artwork is a true expression of all that she is. Through her work, Golnaz reaches across borders, barriers and limitations and goes straight to the heart. She carries an ancient and indigenous wisdom beyond her years. Using her skill set as an artist, she is able to project that inner wisdom onto the canvas and bring to life images that are fully alive, uplifting and healing.”
“I find Golnaz’s art extremely beautiful and somewhat mysterious. There are hidden messages if you pay attention to the details. It’s both a powerful and spiritual storytelling on a canvas.”
“Now as for the painting, I will say this: The whole exercise was an interesting meditation on personal identity. First, to go back through those old photos where I don't have any particular any memories for taking that photo much less what was happening that day, how I was feeling, what I was thinking. So mentally, it seems so far away and hazy, no real feeling of connection. And physically, not even one cell from my eight year old body persists to today. Nonetheless, there is that sense that "that is me" and "those are my parents". That I cannot deny, but when looking deeper there is nothing solid to find. As for seeing the finished product, one thing that came to me is to think of you, the artist, putting all that time and energy in the work. I don't think anyone has put that much time into creating something for me. Thinking about that was humbling. But then I thought perhaps it's not accurate to say you created that "for me". Artists probably have many motivations operating on different levels. Maybe the art is done for everyone who is to see work, and in this case I am just one of the many who will see the work. Maybe it is for the artist to express something through her art, in which case, whether the subject is a bowl of fruit on a table, a seascape or a sunset, it is incidental. Or maybe in taking human subjects, it allows the artist to express something about how she sees the world and the people who inhabit it. There probably is something else in the artist's motivation, totally inscrutable to those who view the finished canvas. In any case, thanks for putting all this work into something "for me" and also making me feel no more special thana bowl of fruit. Both thoughts are useful for me.”
“It is truly an emotional experience looking at a portrait of oneself. Golnaz has perfectly captures the 5 yr old me with my brother. Wearing my favourite dress my Nana made for me you can see totally the little girl who loves to daydream and shut out the noisy and some times scary world around her. Golnaz is a wonderful artist who not only paints your outer body but selves deeply into your soul within. Thank you Golnaz for your wonderful painting which will constantly remind me of the child within
“I always saw the loving person you are with pride and seeing this shining through your brushstrokes with such authenticity fills my whole being with eternal love. Its heartwarming to see you grow from a little girl to a powerful kind loving woman sharing your journey through colours of our dreams becoming reality and taking us deep into our soul.
"My brother was born and in this picture we are in my room and i am sitting next to him. My memories are really about this care for him, now seeing him grow into a man but he will always be that younger brother that is also seeking my help and guidance and that deep bond that only siblings can have."
"A wounded soul who learned to understand how to become a mother and human being in this lifetime".
"This portrait comes from a photo of when I was almost 3 years old at Disney World. It was a tine of lots of first - first time away from home, first airplane ride, first rollercoaster... and of course first robot. The sense of sheer wonder and joy I could feel at that age. It's something so pure. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take the robot home".
"My mum believes in Taghdir “fate”and what the universe has planned for our lives. I do like that belief, but have my doubts. But when it comes to how my path crossed Golnaz’s and how I opened up to her about my childhood, there is nothing but taghdir to thank for. When she suggested to draw a picture of my childhood, and how she connected with her own inner child. I wasn’t sure what it really means, but being where I was I knew I need all the help I can get to get in peace with my childhood. The day I went to her place to see my painting- my painting was right in front of the door- I was looking around and was noticing all the paintings except mine. Then I saw it and my body burst with the most unfamiliar and familiar feelings, emotions, senses that were locked deep down for so long. I loved it, I loved the girl in the picture and I loved even more the little girl behind me. She was there staring at me with her genuine but sad eyes. The girl that I have been angry and disappointed with most of my life. The little girl that I cant offer my love or forgiveness. But she was just a little girl who was desperate for love as much as I was. She was lacking her dad’s love as much as I lacked my sister’s. I love my painting, I love it. I don’t know how Golnaz does it, but she passes her incredible energy via her paintings. I am hoping the picture and it’s constant image in my head helps me with my journey of life and finding love for both those little girls..."
"One of the most talented and tranquil artists, who openly welcomes ideas and suggestions to her painting. A true gem!"
“Getting to know Golnaz as a person and artist has been such a wonderful experience. How she sees life and brings this into her art is exceptional. The way she captured my daughter into her painting, was beyond my expectations. Not only on the outside, but also touching her inside, her innerchild. Looking at the painting, I see my loving little girl, and her “older soul within”. It makes my heart light up, when I look at it. I hope to see much more of Golnaz work in the future. Its so beautiful, magical and mesmerising.”