Renaissance Persian: Q+A with Artist Banafsheh Mobarak

January 11, 2022

Banafsheh Mobarak is a Renaissance Persian : Engineer + Artist.

By Iman Sadri

Banafsheh Mobarak is a unique talent. Displaying and using her multitude of talents. She is both an engineer, professor and artist of the highest caliber. Painting landscapes, faces, seashells, flowers, oceanic waves, garden pathways, mountain ranges, tea pots and quite frankly any vista Bansfsheh sets her sight to. We caught up with this profoundly talented Persian, who also is an engineer by trade and is a professor of engineering, and also paints oil on canvas (among other platforms), hosts gallery exhibits of her work and teaches art. Enjoy our Q+A with Banafsheh Mobarak.

Banafsheh Mobarak’s painting.

Iman Sadri : Describe your early life education and upbringing?

Banafsheh Mobarak : My early life education just like many kids was about getting to know each of the specific interests. I realized that I am really interested in drawing and painting as my art instructor was always happy with my artworks though I was good at other subjects as well particularly in math topics. Therefore, I decided to pursue my education in math related subjects in future however, I never gave up on art and was always painting next to my school classes. Later, I chose electrical engineering at university as my academic degree and took my Masters degree specializing in communication systems and signal processing. During all these years art has always been part of my life and I am glad that I’ve never quit my painting journey even in the busiest days of life. So right now, I pursue my career in both areas: art and electrical engineering which is a big challenge to keep myself updated in two completely different subjects. 

Banafsheh Mobarak next to her painting – which sold at record price for a debut in Laguna Beach for the week it debuted.

IS: At what age did you start getting attracted to art and what were the earliest influences ?

Banafsheh Mobarak : When I was a little, I was always interested in drawing objects literally whatever around me and everyday scenes. when I was about twelve years old, I started showing interest in using different painting tools like color pencils, pastels, and watercolor. As a kid I liked to try everything as far as the painting tools. At the same time, practice shading different volumes with drawing pencils was always fun. After a while I moved on to the oil colors and finally, I choose oil painting as my main media. My biggest inspiration has always been nature. So, I would say the earliest influences have been anything in nature like sparkly ocean waves, mountains, flowers or even clouds in sky.

Banafsheh at work.

IS: What is your favorite type of art to draw and paint and were the influences early on for you to gravitate towards that type of art?

Banafsheh Mobarak : My works are mostly categorized in realism style which in my paintings I depict everyday scenes in detail, and I attempt to represent subjects from everyday life. However, pop art, abstract and surrealism styles are being seen among my artworks. I always challenge myself by trying different art styles. Also, I added mixed media projects to my artwork collection and basically, I use two or three medias in one painting. In regards of subjects, I prefer working on different subjects rather than working on one subject. For instance, some artists work on only one subject like he/she paints ocean waves only. Or he/she paints mountains only. Another one paints flowers only which is totally fine, and I absolutely respect their art and what they do. However, if you look at my artworks you will find variant subjects. I do paint landscape, seascape, people, and different objects.

Banafsheh’s oil on canvas painting is new wave avant-garde art.

IS: Who are some of your favorite artist growing up and whose work influences you the most?

Banafsheh Mobarak : Today there are many talented contemporary artists among young generation that I am obsessed with their brilliant art. Although it is kind of hard to say who is my favorite, I would say Anastasia Morskaya and Lindsay Rapp. Their work inspired me since many details are involved in them. You see the pleasant contrast in their artworks in regards of shadows and lights.

Banafsheh’s seashells.

IS: How many pieces do you complete on average in a month or a year? How many do you work on at a time?

Banafsheh Mobarak : The time that is taking to complete each piece depends on the size and details of each painting. I usually complete two pieces in a month and in between I would do some plein air and live paintings as well which I go to nature and get inspired by surroundings then start painting. Nothing can beat the joy of outdoor painting. 

The talented work of Banafsheh Mobarak.

IS : How long does it take you to finish a piece of work of art?

Banafsheh Mobarak : Well, to answer this question I would say many factors are engaged. Size of the painting, which of course differs the finishing time. Materials that are used in painting is another factor. Oil colors take longer to get dry, so oil paintings usually take extra time to get done. However, acrylic colors get dry right away. Plus, the details that are used in a piece of painting plays an important role as well. I usually finish oil paintings in three weeks to one month and acrylic paintings in one week. Again, it depends on the size and detail.

Banafsheh’s art is all encompassing.

IS : What types of art are now most favorable in the market place in terms of scenery? Or what are your hottest types of art that you are seeing most demand for?

Banafsheh Mobarak : It Is completely about people’s taste, and it is different from person to person. In my experience, people are looking for new and different artworks not something that you see everywhere. Mixed media paintings are in demand nowadays. Seems like using two or more medias in one piece of painting fascinate art lovers. Since I use so much detail in my works, I see that people show more interest to these types of my artworks. Detailed works are very in demand, and audience communicate with them.

Banafsheh’s realism with oceanic currents.

IS : Tell us about your engineering life.

Banafsheh Mobarak : Besides my art career I am a professor and am teaching in Electrical engineering subjects in engineering department of California State Polytechnic University of Pomona. Overall, teaching is my passion and I enjoy transferring my knowledge to someone else either in art or in engineering. Keeping myself updated in both areas has been always a big challenge for me. As far as my goals I have to say expanding my art studio and art classes is my priority. Since some people like learning how to paint however, they are actually afraid to start. I want to eliminate this fear in them, and my goal is to keep them encouraged in my classes using my teaching skills. Right now, I work with some galleries here in Southern California displaying my works, so I want to work with more galleries. This is such a huge honor to get to know more artists from around the world. 

The lovely art of Banafsheh Mobarak – who also paints the meaning of her name – Banafsheh means both Violet and a Pansy Flower in Farsi.

IS: What are your short term and long term goals pertaining to your art? And do you what are your most ambitious goals in terms of having your art at galleries or studios?

Hands of talent at work.

Banafsheh Mobarak : In my painting journey I tried working with different material not just sticking to one thing. Therefore, I have done acrylic, oil, pastel, gold leafing and color pencils. However, I specialized in oil painting which is my main media. As I mentioned, I also do mixed media pieces including two or three materials. I would like to include more mixed media into my works, and I have so many ideas in my mind. My works are painted in detail and are mostly categorized in realism style still want to keep painting in the same way plus trying to do more pop art styles since this type of work is very in demand.

A portrait landscape by Banafsheh Mobarak.

Follow Banafsheh Mobarak on Social Media @BanafshehArt