Transcript: Ali Banisadr's Impassioned Landscapes | Apr 24, 2019

(music plays)

Logo: TVF International.

Fast clips show various modern works of art, 3D video art pieces, hot air balloons, projections on a building and a male artist painting.

A Female Narrator says THE CONTEMPORARY
ARTS WORLD IS VIBRANT AND
BOOMING AS NEVER BEFORE.
IT'S A 21ST-CENTURY PHENOMENON,
A GLOBAL INDUSTRY IN ITS OWN
RIGHT.
BRILLIANT IDEAS
LOOKS AT THE
ARTISTS AT THE HEART OF THIS:
ARTISTS WITH THE POWER TO
ASTONISH, CHALLENGE AND
SURPRISE.
IN THIS PROGRAM, NEW YORK-BASED
ALI BANISADR.

The name of the show appears in white letters against different colourful abstract backgrounds. It reads "Brilliant Ideas."

A song says I-D-E-A-S
IDEAS

The Narrator says ALI BANISADR IS PROBABLY THE
ONLY ARTIST IN THE WORLD WHO'S
BEEN INFLUENCED BY THE
IRAN-IRAQ WAR, GRAFFITI ART AND
A BIZARRE MEDICAL CONDITION.
HIS PAINTINGS HAVE BEEN
DESCRIBED AS WILLEM DE KOONING
MEETS HIERONYMUS BOSCH.
HE PRODUCES LARGE CANVASES THAT
AT FIRST SEEM ABSTRACT, BUT
WHEN YOU LOOK CLOSER ARE FULL
OF FIGURES AND IMAGES.
BUT THEN AGAIN, ARE THEY
FIGURATIVE OR ABSTRACT?
HIS STYLE IS INSTANTLY
RECOGNIZABLE.

A caption reads "Lilly Wei. Critic and Curator." Lilly is in her sixties, with shoulder-length graying hair and bangs. She wears a black sleeveless dress.

Lilly says ALI BANISADR IS A PAINTER.
I FIND THAT INTERESTING
BECAUSE...
ESPECIALLY FOR A YOUNGER ARTIST,
BECAUSE PAINTING, OF COURSE, IS
NOT CONSIDERED A YOUNG MAN'S
GAME ANYMORE.

Ali mixes pink paint in a studio.

The caption changes to "Jeffrey Deitch. Art Dealer." Jeffrey is in his late fifties, clean-shaven with graying hair. He wears dark round glasses with a light edge, a white shirt, black tie and pastel blue jacket.

Jeffrey says HE IS ABLE TO
CREATE A MULTICULTURAL,
PAINTERLY STATEMENT THAT
REFLECTS OUR WORLD TODAY AND THE
STRAINS OF OUR HISTORY THAT MAKE
CONTEMPORARY ART SO DYNAMIC.

The caption changes to "Benjamin Genocchio. Editor, ArtNet News." Benjamin is in his mid-forties, with a short bead and bald. He wears glasses and a white shirt.

In a computer room, Benjamin says HE'S ONE
OF THAT GENERATION OF IRANIANS
THAT WERE BORN IN THE '70S,
BEFORE THE REVOLUTION, LIVED
THROUGH THE REVOLUTION AS A
CHILD, AND THEN THE IRAQ-IRAN
WAR, BEFORE HIS FAMILY MIGRATED,
LIKE MANY FAMILIES, FROM IRAN TO
EITHER THE UNITED STATES OR
EUROPE.
BUT HE WAS INTERESTED IN BEING A
PAINTER AND AN ARTIST, AND CAME
TO NEW YORK AND STUDIED AT THE
SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS.

A picture shows a man and woman with two children.

The caption changes to "Ali Banisadr." Ali is in his late thirties, clean-shaven with black hair. He wears a blue T-shirt.

In a rooftop, Ali says WELL, I STARTED MAKING
DRAWINGS WHEN THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR
WAS HAPPENING.
I WAS MAKING DRAWINGS BASED ON
THE SOUNDS THAT I WAS HEARING.
'CAUSE YOU KNOW, YOU WOULD...
(sighing)
WHEN THE ALARM WOULD COME ON,
YOU WOULD RUN DOWN TO THE
BASEMENT, AND THEN ALL THAT YOU
WERE LEFT WITH WAS THESE SOUNDS
AND VIBRATIONS.
AND I MADE DRAWINGS BASED ON
THESE SOUNDS TO TRY TO SORT OF
UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS HAPPENING
AROUND ME, AND IT WAS, I GUESS,
MY WAY OF DEALING WITH THE WHOLE
SITUATION.
I THINK THE BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT
WAS WHEN, AT GRADUATE SCHOOL, I
HAD TO DO MY THESIS.
AND I GOT A GRANT TO GO TO
NORMANDY, AND ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT WE DID WAS TO GO TO THE
D-DAY SITE.
AND I WAS SORT OF LOOKING AT THE
SCENERY AND, UH, IT LOOKED
REALLY FAMILIAR TO ME AND IT
BROUGHT BACK A FLASH OF MEMORY.

Fast clips show remaining tank traps and massive bunkers at Normandy Landing beaches.

He continues I COULD SORT OF SMELL, ACTUALLY,
THE WAR.
IT WAS SO FAMILIAR THAT I WAS
SORT OF WALKING AROUND IN A
DAZE.
SO, WHEN I CAME BACK FROM
NORMANDY, I DECIDED TO MAKE
THESE CHARCOAL DRAWINGS THAT
WERE BASED ON SOUNDS OF
EXPLOSIONS.
I FELT LIKE SOMETHING HAPPENED
THERE, WHERE I FELT FREED FROM
TRYING TO MAKE PAINTINGS.
I WAS ABLE TO COMPOSE THE WORK
THE WAY I'D BEEN WANTING TO,
WITHOUT STRATEGIZING SO MUCH.
IT REALLY SHOWED ME A DIFFERENT
WAY OF SORT OF WORKING.

A close-up shot shows a dark and shocking painting depicting a scene with skeletons under a type or rain.

The Narrator says THIS PAINTING,
CALLED
BLACKWATER,
REFERS TO
THE MERCENARIES SENT TO THE
MIDDLE EAST OPERATING IN A
STRANGE, SECRETIVE UNDERWORLD.
AND THIS ONE,
INCUBATOR,
CLEARLY SUGGESTS A BATTLE OR
EXPLOSION.
THE CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF WAR
STILL SEEM CLOSE TO THE
SURFACE.

Benjamin says WHETHER OR NOT
THEY'RE VIOLENT, I THINK, IS
OPEN TO QUESTION IF YOU'RE
LOOKING AT A SCENE OF WARFARE.
AND TO THAT EXTENT, THEY MIGHT
BE RELATED TO THE WORK OF
HIERONYMUS BOSCH, WHICH OFTEN
INCLUDES SCENES OF GREAT KIND OF
BARBARITY.

Ali says WHEN I LOOK AT
HIERONYMUS BOSCH'S PAINTING, IT
STILL SORT OF SPEAKS TO WHAT'S
HAPPENING IN OUR TIME NOW.
IT'S LIVED THROUGH TIME, AND YOU
LOOK AT THE WORK AND YOU CAN SEE
THOSE CHARACTERS LIVING NOW,
WITH DIFFERENT OUTFITS NOW.
I'M REALLY INTRIGUED BY THE WAY
HE WAS ABLE TO PORTRAY SOCIETY
IN HIS TIME, BUT STILL HAVE IT
LIVE THROUGH TIME AND BE
RELEVANT TO OUR TIME.
THE GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS
AT THE PRADO MUST BE MY
FAVOURITE PAINTING.

A triptych oil painting on oak panel shows various symbol and forms of human and animal life depicting the creation of the world.

He continues I COULD JUST GO STAND IN FRONT
OF IT FOR HOURS AND HOURS, AND
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT IS THAT
THERE ARE STORIES WITHIN STORIES
WITHIN STORIES.
AND YOU COULD SORT OF...
YOUR EYES JUST WANDERS AROUND,
AND THERE'S JUST SO MUCH TO TAKE
IN.
AND IT'S AN EXPERIENCE, REALLY.
IT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN
JUST WALK AWAY FROM.
I MEAN, BOSCH'S PAINTINGS, THE
WAY IT HAS A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF
THE WORLD, IS WHAT INTRIGUES ME.
SEEING IT FROM A BIRD'S-EYE
POINT OF VIEW, KIND OF HAVING AN
OVERALL LOOK, A MACRO LEVEL OF
SOCIETY, AND I THINK IN THAT
WAY, THAT'S WHAT I TRY TO DO IN
MY WORK AS WELL: SORT OF, LIKE,
PULL BACK AND LOOK AT OUR
SOCIETY FROM, LIKE, A BIRD'S-EYE
PERSPECTIVE.

(soft music plays)

The Narrator says IN 2012, ONE OF ALI'S
PAINTINGS WAS ACQUIRED BY THE
ISLAMIC ART DEPARTMENT OF THE
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM, ONE OF
AMERICA'S MOST IMPORTANT ART
COLLECTIONS.
ALTHOUGH NOT YET ON SHOW,
ALONGSIDE ITS HISTORIC
COLLECTIONS FROM THE MIDDLE
EAST INCLUDING PERSIAN CARPETS,
TILES AND MINIATURES, THE MET
NOW HAS CONTEMPORARY ART.
THIS PAINTING IS CALLED
INTERROGATION.

A powerful painting with wavy strokes of color appears.
The caption changes to "Maryam Ekhtiar. Metropolitan Museum." Maryam is in her late forties, with short wavy black hair and bangs. She wears a colourful necklace, a black shirt and an orange jacket.

Maryam says AS WITH MANY OF HIS WORKS, IT
CONSISTS OF VIGOROUS
BRUSHSTROKES, SMALL FLAKES AND
SQUIGGLES, AND IT'S REALLY ABOUT
THE BRUSHSTROKE.
SORT OF EXPRESSIONS OF THE
HORRIFIC SOUNDS, ACTUALLY, OF
WAR.
THERE'S AN ATMOSPHERE OF GLOOM
THAT SURROUNDS THIS PAINTING, OF
DESPAIR, AND I THINK IT'S A
COMMENTARY ALSO ON, YOU KNOW,
WHAT IS GOING ON TODAY IN OUR
PART OF THE WORLD.

Ali says I MEAN, THE METROPOLITAN
IS THE MUSEUM THAT I GO TO THE
MOST OUT OF EVERY OTHER MUSEUM.
IT'S LIKE MY SECOND HOME.
I GO THERE AT LEAST ONCE OR
TWICE A MONTH.
SO, TO BE IN THIS COLLECTION
AMONG ALL THESE ARTISTS THAT I
GO AND LOOK AT TO LEARN
SOMETHING FROM IS PRETTY
INCREDIBLE.

The Narrator says THE PERSIAN PAINTINGS ALI
PARTICULARLY LIKES ARE FROM THE
SAFAVID PERIOD, THE SIXTEENTH
CENTURY, AND ESPECIALLY THOSE
OF AN ARTIST KNOWN AS BEHZAD.

Ali says I MEAN, WITH BEHZAD,
LIKE, THE FACES HAD THEIR OWN
SORT OF PERSONALITY AND
CHARACTER; WHERE SOME OF THE
PERSIAN MINIATURE PAINTINGS, ONE
FACE COULD BE EVERY FACE.
HE KIND OF GAVE IT A LITTLE BIT
OF A TWIST.

He chuckles.

Maryam says FROM A 16TH-CENTURY
ROYAL MANUSCRIPT CALLED THE
SHAHNAMEH OF SHAH TAHMASP,
WHICH IS PERHAPS THE GREATEST
ILLUSTRATED PERSIAN MANUSCRIPT
EVER PRODUCED.
AND I THINK THE BATTLE PAINTINGS
WERE INSPIRATIONAL TO ALI
BANISADR'S WORK.

A close-up shot of a painting appears. It shows a detailed old Persian battle in purple shades.

Ali says I DO SEE MYSELF IN THE
TRADITION, BUT I THINK FOR ME,
WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS TO TRY TO
UNDERSTAND THE ESSENCE OF THE
PERSIAN MINIATURE PAINTINGS.
LIKE, ITS ESSENCE AS OPPOSED TO
TRYING TO USE THE MOTIFS AND THE
FIGURES AND SORT OF MAKE THEM
ABSTRACT, YOU KNOW?
YOU SEE A LOT OF THAT HAPPENING.
SO, IN A WAY, I DO SEE MYSELF AS
PART OF THE TRADITION OF PERSIAN
MINIATURE, BUT I'M NOT MAKING
PERSIAN MINIATURE PAINTINGS.

Benjamin says I SEE ALI AS A BROOKLYN
ARTIST, WHICH IS WHERE HE LIVES
AND WORKS.
AND YOU KNOW, WHERE I'M SURE HE
FEELS AT HOME.
AND THE EXTENT TO WHICH HE DRAWS
ON REFERENCES FROM THE PAST AND
THE PRESENT I'M SURE CONNECTS IN
SOME WAY TO THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC
OF IRAN, BUT THE EXTENT TO WHICH
HE SHOULD OR COULD BE SEEN AS AN
ISLAMIC ARTIST SEEMS ALMOST
IRRELEVANT, I THINK, FOR THE
ENJOYMENT OF THE WORK.

The Narrator says FOR ALI, THERE'S A STRANGE
ALCHEMY BETWEEN SOUNDS AND
IMAGES THAT DRIVES HIS WORK.

Ali plays a CD, looks at a painting and then starts to paint in black and white.

Ali says SOUND IS, LIKE, THE
UNDERNEATH LAYER OF ALL THE WORK
THAT I MAKE, REALLY.

The caption changes to "Ascending Bird written by Siamak Aghaei and Colin Jacobsen."

Ali says AS SOON AS I PUT THE BRUSH DOWN,
A SOUND BEGINS.
LIKE A SHORT NOTE...

(violins playing)

He continues ...OR A LONGER NOTE THAT SORT OF
CARRIES ON.

Benjamin says I'M NOT SURE I UNDERSTAND THE
IMPORTANCE OF MUSIC IN HIS
PAINTINGS, BUT I HAVE A STRONG
SENSE OF SOUND WHEN I LOOK AT
THEM.

The Narrator says ALI BANISADR HAS
SYNAESTHESIA.
IT'S A CONDITION WHERE
DIFFERENT SENSES, LIKE SOUND
AND VISION, GET CLOSELY ALLIED
TOGETHER OR EVEN CONFUSED.
ALI SEES OR HEARS HIS PAINTINGS
LIKE COMPOSITIONS, AND IT
REALLY INFLUENCES THE WAY HE
WORKS.

Ali says SYNAESTHESIA, FOR ME, I
THINK IS THE ASSET.
IT'S NICE TO BE ABLE TO LISTEN
TO MUSIC AND HAVE THIS SORT OF
PARALLEL VISUAL WORLD THAT'S
GOING AT THE SAME TIME.

The Narrator says THE MUSIC THAT ALI IS
LISTENING TO FOR THIS PAINTING
IS "ASCENDING BIRD," A PIECE BY
THE IRANIAN MUSICIAN KAYHAN
KALHOR AND STRING QUARTET
BROOKLYN RIDER: ANOTHER
IRAN-MEETS-BROOKLYN
COMBINATION.

Ali says I LIKE HOW IT BEGINS VERY
QUIETLY AND THEN IT JUST SORT OF
ERUPTS, WHICH IS...
I GUESS I COULD RELATE TO THAT
IN A WAY, THE WAY I PAINT.
I MEAN, THE ENERGY JUST SHOOTS
UP, AND THEN IT JUST SORT OF,
KIND OF, UH, CALMS DOWN, AND
THEN IT GOES UP AGAIN.

Lilly says ALI HAS TALKED ABOUT
SYNAESTHESIA, AND HE'S HAD IT
SINCE HE WAS A CHILD.
HE TALKS ABOUT THE IRAN-IRAQ
WAR, AND SO THAT KIND OF
SPLINTERING SOUND OF BOMBS
COMING, I THINK, YOU KNOW, HAS
MADE A HUGE PSYCHOLOGICAL
IMPACT, AND WHY WOULDN'T IT?

Ali stands looking at his painting.

He says I MEAN, WITH MUSIC, I'M
NOT MAKING A SOUNDTRACK PAINTING
OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
THE SOUND THAT I'M TALKING
ABOUT, IT COMES FROM THE
PAINTING ITSELF.
BUT IT HAS TO BE EXCITING TO ME.
IT HAS TO BE SURPRISING TO ME,
OR ELSE THERE'S NO POINT.

He comes closer to the painting and continues painting it.

Lilly says IT'S THE RHYTHM THAT
IS THE MOST COMPELLING THING IN
ALI'S WORK, AND THAT RHYTHM IS,
I THINK, CONTEMPORARY.
HIS PAINTINGS SEEM MORE STACCATO
THAN, UM, FLUID...
I MEAN IN HIS BRUSHWORK.
AND YET OF COURSE, YOU KNOW, HE
SEEMS TO BE, LIKE, REVELLING IN
HIS PAINTS, AND HE TAKES IT INTO
A...
I THINK A VERY EXCITING REALM.

The Narrator says THE "ASCENDING BIRD" MUSIC
REFERS TO AN ICARUS-LIKE
IRANIAN LEGEND, WHERE A BIRD
FLIES TOWARDS THE SUN AND
CONSUMES ITSELF IN A MOMENT OF
TRANSFIGURATION.
DEATH IS A TRANSFORMATION.

Ali says THE SOUND HAS, LIKE, THIS...
LIKE, A SOUND OF RISING.
THINGS ARE...
IT'S LIKE IN OPERA, WHERE THE
SOUND JUST GOES UP, AND I THINK
THAT'S SORT OF WHAT'S HAPPENING
AT THE TOP.
LIKE, AS YOU GO THE HIGHER
LEVEL, IT TRANSFORMS INTO
ANOTHER ELEMENT.
IT BECOMES SOMETHING ELSE, LIKE
THE "ASCENDING BIRD," THAT
MUSIC.
OR EVEN PARTICULARLY, LIKE THAT
PAINTING OVER THERE, I MEAN, ALL
THOSE FIGURES ARE TRANSFORMING
INTO ETHER.
MOST OF MY PAINTINGS, THE BOTTOM
SIDE IS WHERE ALL THE KIND OF
CHAOS, AND WHERE ALL THE
FIGURES, ANIMALS, GODS,
MACHINES, EVERYTHING IS.
AND AS IT LIFTS UP, THE PAINTING
BECOMES LIGHTER AND THERE'S SOME
KIND OF A HOPE.
THE CHAOS UNDERNEATH TRANSFERS
INTO, LIKE, ANOTHER ELEMENT,
LIKE ETHER OR SOMETHING.

Fast clips show various of Ali's magnificent works of art.

Benjamin says TO ME, THEY'RE LIKE
A JUMBLE OF NOTES, AND TRYING TO
UNTANGLE THOSE NOTES AND, IN A
WAY, TO LISTEN TO THAT SOUND,
SEEMS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT TO ME
AS A VIEWER THAN TO ACTUALLY
DECODE THE VISUAL IMAGERY.

Ali says THEY'RE QUIET.
He chuckles and continues
THEY'RE FINISHED WHEN THEY'RE
QUIET AND THEY'RE NOT ASKING FOR
ANYTHING MORE, AND THEY'RE FINE
EXACTLY HOW THEY ARE.
AND USUALLY WHAT I DO IS I TURN
AWAY A PAINTING FOR, LIKE, A
MONTH OR SOMETHING AND THEN COME
IN ONE DAY AND QUICKLY TURN IT
AROUND AND LOOK AT IT, AND IF
IT'S...
NOTHING JUMPS OUT AT ME, THEN
IT'S FINE.
IF THERE'S ALWAYS, YOU KNOW, IF
THERE'S A PART THAT JUMPS OUT AT
ME, I'M GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL
WITH IT, EVEN THOUGH IT COULD BE
THE BEST PART OF THE PAINTING.
MAYBE I HAVE TO DESTROY IT FOR
THE WHOLE THING TO FUNCTION,
REALLY.

Now, Ali stands in a rooftop.

He points to the street and says YOU LOOK AROUND, AND IT'S LIKE
LOOKING AT, LIKE, LITTLE WORLDS
THERE, WITH LITTLE PEOPLE GOING
ABOUT THEIR DAILY LIVES.
SORT OF LIKE BRUEGEL PAINTINGS,
WHERE YOU HAVE THIS BIRD'S-EYE
VIEW AND YOU'RE JUST CREATING
NARRATIVE FOR THESE LITTLE
FIGURES THAT ARE JUST GOING
ABOUT THEIR DAILY LIVES.
IT'S KIND OF FUN.

Benjamin says BROOKLYN IS THE
MOST CREATIVE BOROUGH IN NEW
YORK.
AND NEW YORK IS MADE UP OF FIVE
BOROUGHS.
THE MOST WELL KNOWN, OF COURSE,
IS MANHATTAN, WHICH IS THE
ORIGIN OF THE ART WORLD PAST.
BUT THE COST OF LIVING IN THE
CENTRE OF NEW YORK AND IN
PARTICULAR MANHATTAN HAS BECOME
PROHIBITIVE FOR MOST ARTISTS.
SO, YOUNGER ARTISTS HAVE
COLONIZED SECTIONS OF BROOKLYN
AND QUEENS IN ORDER TO FIND
CHEAP LIVING BUT ALSO, LARGE
WORKING SPACES.
AND SO, THE BULK OF ARTISTS,
EVEN SUCCESSFUL ONES, TEND TO BE
OPERATING AND WORKING IN
BROOKLYN.

Ali says WHEN I CAME TO NEW YORK, AS I
WALKED AROUND I FELT LIKE IF I
COULD CALL ANYWHERE HOME, THIS
IS IT.
I DON'T FEEL DISPLACED HERE,
REALLY, BECAUSE OF DIVERSITY AND
BECAUSE OF THE TYPE OF PEOPLE
THAT LIVE HERE.
YOU HAVE THE BEST OF BOTH
WORLDS, REALLY.
I MEAN, YOU COULD GO TO THE
MUSEUMS AS YOU LIKE.
IT'S VERY CLOSE.
BUT THEN YOU COULD SORT OF GET
AWAY FROM EVERYTHING, TOO, AND
COME UP HERE AND SORT OF CLEANSE
YOUR PALETTE AFTER HOURS OF
PAINTING.
I'VE BEEN ACTUALLY WATCHING THE
SUNSET EVERY EVENING, LOOKING AT
THE COLOURS, AND SOMEHOW THESE
COLOURS HAVE WORKED THEIR WAY
INTO MY PAINTINGS.

Next, Ali points at a large abstract painting hanging on a wall.

Ali says THIS SORT OF PINKISH COLOUR CAME
ABOUT FROM THE SUNSET.
BUT THE MOOD, CERTAINLY, FOR ME,
MORE SO THAN BEFORE REFLECTS MY
SURROUNDING WORKSPACE.

Jeffrey says IT'S ALWAYS
FASCINATING TO SEE HOW AN ARTIST
ADAPTS TO HIS OR HER
SURROUNDINGS AND HOW IT AFFECTS
THE WORK.
THE WORKS FROM A FEW YEARS AGO
SEEMED TO COME MAINLY OUT OF HIS
OWN IMAGINATION.
THE CURRENT WORK, THOUGH, IS
MUCH MORE ROOTED IN THE REALITY
OF HIS NEIGHBOURHOOD.
YOU CAN SEE THE INSPIRATION OF
THE ROLL-DOWN GATES, THE STREET
CHARACTERS OF THE BROOKLYN
LIGHT.

The Narrator says ALI LITERALLY DOES WALK THE
STREETS, GATHERING INSPIRATION,
AND THE THINGS THAT CATCH HIS
EYE ARE OFTEN SURPRISING.

Ali uses his cell phone to photograph a garage iron curtain.

Back in the room with the painting, Ali points at it and says THIS LINE ELEMENT, THIS SORT
OF MOTIF, I THINK I SEE A LOT OF
SHUTTERS WALKING AROUND.
AND I THOUGHT, YOU KNOW, THAT'S
KIND OF AN INTERESTING ELEMENT
TO USE.
LIKE, IT SEPARATES THE SPACE
BEHIND FROM WHAT COMES FORWARD,
AND I ALWAYS LIKED THIS SORT OF
ELEMENT OF HAVING DEEP SPACE
FIGHT WITH FLATNESS.

(music plays)

Walking down the street, Ali stops and takes a picture of the narrow space in between two building.

Ali says PERHAPS SOMEONE COULD RENT A
ROOM THERE.

He laughs.

Now, he points at a door with shelled paint and says IT'S NICE HOW THERE'S, LIKE,
RUST AND GREY AND A LIGHTER GREY
AND A YELLOW.
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT LATELY
I'VE BEEN PAYING ATTENTION TO IS
THE SORT OF WEATHERED LOOK, AND
KIND OF MAKING MENTAL NOTES OF
HOW I COULD USE THESE IN MY
PAINTING.
YEAH.
YOU HAVE, LIKE, A JUXTAPOSITION
OF, LIKE, GRITTY AND NATURE.
(chuckling)
HELLO?
I LOVE YOUR GARDEN.
YOU KNOW, WALKING AROUND
BROOKLYN, YOU FEEL THE SENSE OF
CREATIVE ENERGY AROUND AND YOU
MEET PEOPLE IN THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD.

Lilly says HE STARTED OUT AS A
GRAFFITI ARTIST, MET GROUPS OF
OTHER GRAFFITI ARTISTS, AND HE
FOUND THAT REALLY EXHILARATING.

Ali stops at graffiti and says YOU GOT TO GET THIS.
AT THE BEGINNING, AMERICA, IT
WAS REALLY HARD FOR ME TO ADJUST
IN A SCHOOL THAT, YOU KNOW,
GETTING THE BEST GRADES WOULDN'T
NECESSARILY MAKE YOU POPULAR.
WHICH IN IRAN, IT DID, YOU KNOW?
THAT'S...
He chuckles and continues
YOU HAD TO SORT OF ADJUST TO A
DIFFERENT UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT
IT IS TO BE IN AMERICA.
WHAT IS BROOKLYN BAZAAR?

The Narrator says ON THE CORNER, ALI HAPPENS TO
RUN INTO BAZAAR ROYALE, A
GRAFFITI ARTIST AND LOCAL
ORGANIZER WHO HAS A MISSION TO
BRING ART TO THE STREETS.

Bazaar Royale is in his mid-thirties, with a beard and long dreadlocks. He wears jeans, a white T-shirt and a plaid shirt round his waist.

Bazaar says USUALLY, WHEN YOU GET A MURAL
WITH YOUR FACE ON IT, YOU'RE
DEAD, AND I'M VERY MUCH ALIVE
AND WELL.
SO, THIS IS THE FREEHAND
PAINTBRUSH.

Ali says OH, I SEE.
OKAY.
GOT IT.

Bazaar says IT'S BETTER FOR ME TO PUT
THESE THINGS UP OVER THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD, SINCE THE
DEVELOPMENT OF BROOKLYN IS
GROWING AND THE DEMAND IS SO
HIGH.

Ali says SURE.

Bazaar says AND RATHER THAN LOOK AT
BOARDED THINGS, I'D RATHER, YOU
KNOW, LOOK AT ART.

Ali says YEAH, YEAH.

Bazaar says AND ENSURE OTHER PEOPLE DO,
TOO.

Ali says EXACTLY.

Bazaar says BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, IF YOU
LOOK, THEY'LL WRITE OVER
EVERYTHING OTHER THAN THE ART.

A graffiti shows three human faces.

Ali says YEAH, THAT'S TRUE.
THAT'S GOOD THAT THEY RESPECT
THAT, YOU KNOW?
Bazaar says YEAH.

The Narrator says WHILE ALI ISN'T INVOLVED IN
STREET ART ANYMORE, IT'S NOT
HARD TO SEE ITS TRACES IN HIS
WORK.
THIS PAINTING IS FROM 2008,
WHERE GRAFFITI ART SEEMS TO
CONFRONT THE PERSIAN
MINIATURES.
MANY ARTISTS MAKE SKETCHES IN
PREPARATION FOR THEIR BIG
PAINTINGS.
ALI IS TURNING THAT IDEA ON ITS
HEAD.
HE'S MAKING CHARCOAL DRAWINGS,
SOME OF THEM QUITE
GRAFFITI-LIKE, DERIVED FROM
PARTS OF HIS BIGGER OIL
PAINTINGS.
THIS PAINTING IS TAKEN FROM A
SECTION OF THE PAINTING WITH
SUNSET PINKS THAT HE'S JUST
FINISHED WORKING ON.

Back in his studio, Ali points at a painting and says HERE IS THE SECTION WHERE I
WANTED TO CAPTURE IN THE DRAWING
THE LITTLE CHILDREN OF THE
PAINTING, AND THEN THEY SORT OF
GROW UP AND FIND THEIR OWN WAY.

Jeffrey says ALI IS ALSO A
PAINTER WITH EXCEPTIONAL
TECHNIQUE.
THIS LIKE A STUDIO IN PARIS IN
THE 1920S.
IT'S NOT JUST THE HIGH CEILINGS
AND THE BALCONY; IT'S THE WAY
THE PAINTS ARE ALL ARRAYED.
HE'S A CLASSIC OIL PAINTER.
HE HAS MASTERED THESE
CENTURY-OLD TECHNIQUES.
BUT THEN, OF COURSE, HE'S ONE
WHO IS VERY WELL AWARE OF THE
WORLD OF DIGITAL IMAGERY AND
FILM, TELEVISION.

The Narrator says THIS IS ONE OF ALI'S
PAINTINGS INSPIRED BY CINEMA.
IT'S CALLED
RAN,
AFTER THE
JAPANESE EPIC FILM BY KUROSAWA.

An impressive colourful triptych appears.

Lilly says THIS IS KUROSAWA'S
MASTERPIECE.
YOU KNOW, WITH ALL THE SOLDIERS
RUNNING AROUND.
SO, HE KIND OF LOOKS AT THE FILM
AND SEES HOW HE CAN TURN THAT
INTO A PAINTING: LIKE, THE WAY
THEY USE COLOUR, THE WAY THEY
CROP, THE WAY THEY USE LIGHT.
YOU KNOW, ALL OF THAT.
HIS COLOURS ARE RATHER
DENATURED.
THEY'RE NOT NATURAL COLOURS.
VERY NOISY COLOURS.
THEY'RE NOISY, SHRILL, BUT
THEY'RE ALSO BEAUTIFUL.

Ali says THERE'S BEEN SOME
CRITICISM ABOUT MY COLOUR
PALETTE.
BUT I THINK THERE'S ALWAYS BEEN
THIS BIAS AGAINST COLOUR IN
WESTERN HISTORY, WHERE THEY
WOULD THINK IT'S PRIMITIVE OR
EASTERN.
(chuckling)
FOR ME, USING THESE COLOURS IS A
WAY OF CAPTURING, LIKE, THAT
INTENSITY THAT YOU GET AFTER
IT'S RAINED, AND YOU WALK AROUND
AND EVERYTHING IS SORT OF, LIKE,
SO INTENSE.
I THINK THESE COLOURS EXIST IN
NATURE AND THEY EXIST IN YOUR
IMAGINATION, SO WHY CAN'T THEY
BE PAINTED?

The end credits roll.

Narrated by Verity Sharp.

Produced and Directed by Simon Broughton.

Executive Producer, Edward Morgan.

Copyright 2015, Bloomberg LP.

Watch: Ali Banisadr's Impassioned Landscapes