- Ayyam-i-Ha is a Baha’i festival that is joyously celebrated in countries and territories all over the world. It is a time of hospitality, generosity, and caring for the needy. This year Ayyam-i-Ha runs from February 26-29.
I love a good information chase. I started following Saba’s Stuff on Instagram because its lush, vibrant, simple and sweet illustrations really appealed to me. So I went on the hunt to find out who the Saba behind the Instagram account is. I was pleased when I discovered Saba Taghvai is the artist behind these whimsical works, and I was doubly pleased when he agreed to tell us all about them! You’ll find our conversation below, as well as a small sampling of Saba’s art:
Baha’i Blog: What inspires you and what is your creative process like?
On a tangible level, I’m interested in what people do with the space on their window sills, which is why so much of my work has imagery of bouquets and ceramics. On a more abstract level, I’m really inspired by spiritual truths found in nature. For example, I’m moved by the quality of generosity, so I look for that — something giving, giving, giving without asking anything in return — and try to draw patterns between that behavior in nature and human reality. When I create, I’m usually driven by one (or several) of these qualities that I’m trying to understand. I’ll roughly sketch or write a concept in my notebook, then revisit it on a computer, and refine it until it feels complete; however, some ideas make the leap straight from thought to a finished piece in one sitting.
Baha’i Blog: What media do you like to work with and why?
I enjoy working digitally because it feels very clean. Growing up, I was never a fan of how pencil drawings would smudge as you’d work on them, then your hand would get covered in graphite and you’d try to erase the smudge marks on the paper, but it never quite looked right! When I got into digital art, it was like, “A-ha!” and my inner-child with the smudged-drawings rejoiced.
Baha’i Blog: How do you choose the subjects of your work?
When I’m observing people interacting in different environments, something will catch my eye that will make me go, “Hmm, what if this looked like….” or “what would my interpretation of this look like?” Often, there will be a specific texture, composition or subject I’ll want to develop an ability to illustrate and just go with that. It takes practice, but when you’re actively looking and translating ideas into effort, you’ll find ideas everywhere in your day-to-day.
Baha’i Blog: What are you working on now?
Very recently, I began collaborating with a small team of people wanting to learn about filmmaking and storytelling, creating content that reflects the realities of our communities. These are under a non-for-profit named Amber Imageworks based out of Vancouver, Canada, and personally I’m contributing to the graphic and visual effect needs of these films. We’re just in the beginning stages and this is such a new canvas for me, but there is something so encouraging (and fun!) about a group of people with different backgrounds coming together to learn about and develop a new skill set.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you for chatting with us, Saba!
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