Q&A: Fidan Bagirova
We have been fanGURLing over artist Fidan Bagirova and her industrial flower sculptures.
Her beautiful sculptural works of art are both feminine and colorful. She uses hard materials like metal and makes them into soft, malleable flower petals. Take a look at her popping, colorful flowers and read what she shared with us GURLS in a recent Q&A what it means to be an artist.
Have you always been an artist?
I believe we are all born as artists. 'Artist' (in my mind) means we all have a creative side as human beings. Those who are called 'artists' are those who work on their creative side, and perfect it after a period of time, and find their unique artistic voice. When you spend some time with young children you can see that all kids are creative and unique in their own way.
If you could take six months off to work on your artwork somewhere (anywhere in the world), where would that be?
I love the sea and being by the seaside inspires me a lot. I would love to spend six months in Malibu in California and make my artworks by the seaside. There is something magical about California that always drew me there.
What are you most inspired by?
I am inspired by people. I enjoy learning about society and people and what makes us ultimately happier in life. I love exploring and learning about new artists, reading about art history and, generally, I am a curious soul. In art I am inspired by many, from Impressionist Monet paysages to Cezanne pointillisms. I also enjoy Pop Art and the works of Andy Warhol. If I have to identify my style, I am inspired by abstract expressionists such as John Chamberlain, Willem de Koonig, and Cy Twombly. From the more contemporary artists, James Turrell's dreamy works with lights and dimension (the“Ganzfeld” effect inspires me very much). I am drawn to vibrant colors and positive art, works that uplift the viewer rather than close them down or confuse them. Vibrant flower series and Dale Chihuli glass works.
I am really inspired by everything: Ideas, colors, textures, energies, people, cities, conversations, feelings, food, music, nature. Everything, really. I enjoy walking, to observe and get inspired by everything.
If you had any piece of advice to artists just starting their careers what would you say?
Learn the rules in art school but don’t hesitate to break them. Art is about free expression and to find your unique art-voice you should be open to breaking rules and taking risks and not always follow textbooks. Being a true artist is about getting in touch and in-tune with your inner emotions and feelings, something a lot of people are running away from and try to hide.
What is it like to be a female artist?
Often people look at me and don’t think that I am the artist but maybe the art dealer or gallerist. Society has an image of an artist to be somewhat eccentric and different. For me, I enjoy fashion, styling (it’s also a form of art I feel). I dress up according to my mood and feel and not to fit a certain preconceived image of an artist. I enjoy the surprise of people when they find out I do metal sculptures and that I craft them myself with no help. Female or male, all artists share their ideas and feelings through their artworks and I enjoy doing that.
What is your inspiration behind your flower series?
Flowers are present in every culture, tradition, religion, a symbol of friendship; warmth, hence humanity, like a reaching hand. Art is a universal language that can unite people from everywhere. In these times of divisiveness and polarization I wanted to use a symbol like flowers to unites us as a human society rather than divides us like many other factors in our society.
Everyone has a positive association with flowers, no matter where they are from or who they are. I used thin sheets of metal, then squashed them and crafted my flowers to show that we go through struggles to achieve our dreams, and I believe strongly that there is beauty in imperfection. I use vibrant colors to represent our dreams that are often more colorful than the day-to-day reality, and we shouldn’t ignore them but embrace them.
I craft my sculptures myself with no assistance. I enjoy the three-dimensional feel and I can pass my energy to each flower I create. The process is instinctual and experimental rather than controlled, which brings us back to letting go of fear and can result in something more beautiful than you can ever plan. A similar style applies to my photography, where with the digital manipulation and post production I work with my instinct rather than a set plan. I like to be surprised by the result, it makes me happy.
Interview by Diane Lindquist
Photography by Cody Rasmussen