Featured Artist: Ashkahn Shahparnia
Ashkahn Shahparnia (pronounced Ash-Con-Shaw-Par-Neeya) is a graphic artist based in Los Angeles. His colorful graphics have attracted big names in the print and music worlds. The young artist creates emotive art that is bright, unique, and full of personality. From t-shirts, to cards, to pencils, he has produced his designs in many accessible mediums. The extraordinarily talented Shahparnia is an artist to watch in 2012.
Recently, he collaborated with popular electronic musician M83 on the design of his latest album, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”. A whimsical image graces the cover of a phenomenal album that came in 3rd on Pitchfork’s coveted “The Top 50 Albums of 2011” list. Shahparnia also designed the merch for M83′s sold-out tour, which you can buy on the M83 website.
At just 27-years-old, Shahparnia is making big waves in the indie art scene and beyond. I interviewed him to find out what inspires his truly exceptional art.
BANGSTYLE: You are a recent art school graduate. How did you decide to study graphic design?
Ashkahn Shahparnia: I actually studied graphic design for a year and then got really bored and transferred to fine art with an emphasis in painting.
BANGSTYLE: Your designs has been featured in publications like Nylon Magazine and ads for Target. How did you go from art school to successful graphic artist?
AS: I guess you just have to work work work work work and work some more. You got to get your name out there and hit the ground running. That was my intention when I graduated, to kick and scream for some attention.
BANGSTYLE: Some of your art is pretty cheeky (I’m referring specifically to your “Evolution of the Muff” design). Where do you get inspiration for these clever graphics?
AS: The inspiration will come to me at anytime and anywhere. I don’t like to force ideas. I think great ideas come dropping from the sky on your head. That’s what keeps things fresh.
BANGSTYLE: Your graphic designs are printed on shirts, cards, pillows, and tote bags. Was it always your intention to market your art through so many different mediums?
AS: It all happened organically. I always loved the t-shirt and originally started with those. Then I realized that my designs could work on anything that fit. Like my BORING design works really well on a sticker and also on a tote bag and also on a pencil. My customers seem to like that as well. If someone can’t wear the Evolution of the Muff design on a t-shirt, they can carry it as a tote bag.
BANGSTYLE: M83′s album was on the best of list of every major music blog this year. His January shows in Los Angeles sold out both nights. How does it feel to know your album art and merchandise designs have been seen by so many people?
AS: F**king amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BANGSTYLE: There is something really whimsical about the cover of M83′s latest album. Where did you get the idea for the cover art of “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming”?
AS: Well, it was a collaboration between Anthony (M83) the photographer, Anouck and I. We wanted something dreamy and space like. The album is inspired by youth and eternity.
BANGSTYLE: I see you live in Silver Lake. What is your life like in Los Angeles?
AS: I love Los Angeles and love Silver Lake. There is so much inspiration here. So much energy and the people are rad.
BANGSTYLE: I took a peek at the “inspiration” tab on your blog. There’s a lot of boob going on.
AS: I <3 boobs.
BANGSTYLE: George Harrison is cool too. What kind of music are you into?
AS: Yes, George is great. Right now I am bumping the new Drake and Bon Iver non stop.
BANGSTYLE: Where can BANGSTYLE readers buy your art?
AS: They can buy it on my online shop here: http://www.shopshopA.com.
BANGSTYLE: What are your future plans for ASHKAHN?
AS: Lots of new products in the works. Lots of new collaborations. A new store opening in Los Angeles, Miami and Tokyo soon. New client work for some big brands and to drink as much beer as I can.
To view more of Ashkahn’s work, click here.