When artist Fariba Ameri came to Los Angeles to study economics at USC she planned on returning to Iran after earning her degree. But the 1979 revolution in her country altered her plans, and California has been home ever since.
Fast forward several decades and Palisadian Ameri has put the business world behind her and now works as an artist. First inspired by Vincent Van Gogh at age 14, Ameri is drawn to artists with passion and personal struggles. She is not formally trained, but has studied on her own and taken classes through the years.
“My immediate family was not art oriented, so they never, ever encouraged me in that regard,” Ameri told the Palisadian-Post. They always encouraged the math and science part of me.
“After revolution you had to be independent. That meant that I couldn’t follow doing things that were more risky as far as earning money.”
No matter what Ameri was doing, she always painted on the side, but never considered herself an artist. “I think it’s because I always had such huge artists in my mind,” she said. Her cousin Iran Darroudi was a well-known artist in Iran, and Ameri was too humble to think she, too, was an artist. “I got very intimidated by the beauty of art and artists and what they could create.” After initially painting landscapes, she is now in a figurative mode.
Raising her two daughters, Katia, 21, and Roxanna, 18, also kept Ameri from pursuing her art. She feels women tend to put parts of their lives on hold while raising their children. Roxanna will start Stanford in the fall, where Katia is also studying. Their dad, Hormoz Ameri, is a Stanford alumnus.
Ameri’s work now focuses on women, and the universal truths and struggles that accompany them across the globe. One of her recent paintings is of a woman with many images on her head, each one representing an individual thought, Ameri explained.
She asks herself a lot of questions, and is always trying to better understand her role as “a human on this earth.” The Riviera resident enjoys meditating on the Via de las Olas bluffs. “I made the connection that life is a cycle, that we’re all part of each other,” she said. “Sitting outdoors, contemplating, thinking, just looking at the mountains, feeling that everything is alive, I made that connection, that we’re all a part of something much bigger. I felt it; it influences my artwork.”
Ameri has traveled the world, which enabled her to see renowned artworks in person that inspire her. She likes when people get close to the work, inspecting the materials and losing the figurative aspect of the paintings. “I love that people go close, go back, and want to touch it, almost like a child.”
Turquoise, red and yellow are Ameri’s favorite colors to work with. “I always like to have an accent of turquoise in my work. It reminds me of back home, the tiles and domes in mosques, the sun and blue sky. It has always left positive emotions in me.”
Though early on she missed Iran, she came to realize that “the home that I was missing was lost in history.”
Ameri may return to painting landscapes, and would like to make some life-size glass sculptures as well.
“What has caught me in life is that you have to be an artist at heart. It is the only thing that is meaningful except love, and I don’t know how you separate love and art.
“The most important part of art is what it does to you emotionally. If it can open something for you that wasn’t there, make some connections that are different, I think that is where it should be emphasized.”
Ameri’s upcoming show at JNA Gallery in Bergamot Station is entitled “The Beauty of Inner Truth,” and will run from Saturday, July 13 through September 1. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. this Saturday. Contact: faribaameriart.com.