The Artist Who Is Selling Out Shows Just Two Years After He Started Painting
Farshad Farzankia left his day job in 2016. Now, he's putting the finishing touches on his first major U.S. solo show, which will open later this month.
By Natalia Rachlin, October 24, 2018
At just past 10 on a late summer morning, the artist Farshad Farzankia is sitting at a desk in his sun-seeped studio on the outskirts of Copenhagen, wearing paint-splattered Vans and old track pants, like a '90s skater kid now fully grown. Nursing a can of Coke and occasionally puffing on a hand-rolled cigarette, he doodles on a sheet of printer paper. Stacked against the walls are the large hypersaturated canvases that consume his days (and often nights, hence the early soda fix).
Farzankia's paintings are instantly appealing: Simple, figurative compositions of androgynous bodies, birds, plant life and obscure symbols, rendered in bright pop palettes, they are well suited to the age of Instagram. Less apparent is that he's only been making this work for two years. In 2016, Farzankia, now 38, quit his day job as an art director at an advertising agency in order to turn his attention to painting, a hobby he had picked up some six months earlier, after years of idly drawing and sketching in his spare time. Since then, he has become one of Scandinavia's most buzzed-about emerging artists. When, last December, the Los Angeles-based gallerist Richard Heller presented a selection of Farzankia's work at Art Basel Miami's Untitled fair, it sold out instantly. Now, he is preparing for his first major U.S. solo show, at Heller's galleryin Santa Monica, opening on Oct. 27.
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