Artistic Excellence 2017 | Honorable Mention: Mostafa Keyhani


Mostafa Keyhani, Red-Backed Fairywren, oil, 8 x 8.

Mostafa Keyhani, Red-Backed Fairywren, oil, 8 x 8.

As it nearly always is for Mostafa Keyhani, color was a driving inspiration for his winning entry, which portrays a bright-winged fairywren preparing to take flight from its perch. “I’m crazy about color and also movement,” says Keyhani. At just 8 by 8 inches, the painting is deliberately small, he adds, to evoke a lifelike presence of the palm-size bird. The artist began the piece the way he begins many of his works—by building up texture on his canvas with large brushes, then diving in on a more detailed level.

Keyhani, an Iranian native, studied fine art in Tehran and later in Düsseldorf, Germany, but his greatest teacher has been the years of practice at his easel, he says. The artist has been painting professionally for 40 years, and he has tackled a variety of subject matter along the way, from people, animals, and florals to European street scenes, cafés, and scenic landscapes. Today, across all his work, Keyhani enjoys blending traditional realism and abstraction in a style he calls modern impressionism. “I love to paint very wide with my brushes to create movement,” he says. “Somebody once told me that, in my paintings, the colors seem to dance together, to play together. That’s very important in my work.”

The wellspring of inspiration never runs dry in Keyhani’s world, and he routinely clocks 12-hour days in his studio in North York, Ontario. “I love my job,” he says. “If I’m born again, five times more, I’d be an artist each time.” Find Keyhani’s work at Eisele Gallery of Fine Art, Cincinnati, OH, and Jones & Terwilliger Galleries, Carmel and Palm Desert, CA.

This story was featured in the December 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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