Our art editor, Cynthia Close, recently spoke with Issue #3 featured artist Michal (Mitak) Mahgerefteh. Here’s what she had to say about her journey as an artist and her discovery of the possibilities inherent in creating art with an iPad.
When did you first realize you were an artist?
I started sketching and drawing when I was in middle-school. My art teacher always reminded us to carry a large notebook and a sharpened set of pencils, to always be prepared for the next inspiring scene. I remember being attracted to buildings with sharp edges and unusual circular designs that showed a strong presence.
Later, during high school and college, I enrolled in all the fine art elective classes, learning and practicing many techniques.
What led to your discovery of the digital medium?
In January 2013, I was sick with a stomach virus and too weak to stay out of bed. To keep me entertained, my kids gave me an iPad, which included two artist apps and a digital pen. At first, it was a frustrating process to get familiar with the different options, but soon I discovered the endless possibilities of color, shape, and form. I take my studio (iPad) everywhere and create when inspired.
Your digital imagery is full of energy and movement. Can you describe your technique?
I first decide on the color combination. Once the color palette is established, I start the intuitive process of drawing various shapes (I often trace my own collage art as a guideline). After, I add paint to empty spaces, concentrating on color combination. I continue by building up layers, changing the colors often…this is a mix-and-match process until my muse is satisfied. Once this is done, I add different pre-made shapes offered by the program, creating a harmony in the flow of color and shape. On average, each image has over 30 layers and it takes about 6-8 hours to complete.
As I am still in the process of perfecting the technique, I often revise old images dating back to 2013.
How and at what point in the process of creating a piece do you decide on its title?
Places I visit, season, time, and emotions have a direct influence on the color combination and title. For example, it can be a painting titled with shades of brown, blue, and orange that was created during a hiking trip in the fall (“Blue Ridge Mountains”). Or, a painting with shades of yellow, white, and brown that was created during a visit to the beach in late spring (“Ocean Currents”). Many paintings with strong hues of red were created during my mourning period for my mother, attesting my strong emotions (“Bowl of Fire”).
Assigning a title to the abstract paintings is often challenging, but I am learning to pay attention to the force behind my muse and my color and shape choices.
What artists have influenced your work?
I find that my abstract digital and paper collage works are strongly influenced by the works of Miró, Kandinsky, Picasso, and other masters. Their artistic style often pushes my muse, almost to say, focus on your own unique techniques…it will unlock your own creative potential. They speak to me!
What are you working on now?
I’m in the process of promoting my digital paintings and paper collage art by submitting to local and regional group shows and contests and also to print and electronic publications. iPad paintings is a new technique in the art world, and I am hoping to inspire many with my unique way of creating art.
Where can people buy your original work?
Art can be purchased through my Fine Art America Gallery: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/michalmahgerefteh.html
I add new paintings as I create, announcing the new works on FaceBook and twitter (“iPad Paintings by Mitak”).