Exclusive Interview with International Artist Vida Khadem

Artist Vida KhademVida Khadem is a painter, writer and film maker. Her work has been exhibited internationally. She was born in Afghanistan. Her family left the country and moved to the United States when Vida was very young. She has a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts and Film from George Mason University and an advanced script writing degree from New York University.

You can learn more about Vida as well as purchase her art through her website – Art by Vida.

View Vida’s art portfolio, or you can view it after the interview below.

ExtraImaginary: Give us a background of yourself and your art.

Vida: Painting has been one of my passions since childhood. All I can say about myself as a painter is that I paint from a place of feeling. My paintings express things that are being drawn from my sub conscious, which creates images that sometimes I can not explain in the present. Other times have I painted images that were foreshadowing of something that will happen in future. I paint because I have to. Painting has been the way in which I could express most of my unspoken feelings since childhood. I could paint before I could speak. The canvas has been my escape, my freedom, my way of self therapy. It is a place where I feel complete freedom! So I am truly humbled for the encouragement of my friends and fans who have shown so much appreciation for my work.

ExtraImaginary: Your artwork is across many media. You have done paintings, land art, sculptures, movies, and written scripts. What is your motivation? What inspires you?

Vida: I would have to say what inspires me is my own personal drive. Sometimes it is the need of wanting to know something, other times it is the need to express something, and at times it is something in the world that I feel needs a voice, a cause that needs to be brought to light, and thus I work and research and create something that would bring attention to it. Other times it is the need and desire to understand something about myself and the world at large.

ExtraImaginary: How do you transform your inspiration into artwork?

Vida: I usually start from a single point, be it an emotion, or a question, or a thought. Then it stays with me, and I obsessively think about it, and let it dwell in my mind and in my heart. I do research, and read everything that there is about the topic and try to get as much information about the subject in question.

There are things that I plan, but I always leave room for the unknown, because there are many amazing things that come out of sheer spontaneity.

As such, I never know where a piece of work is going, I only know the beginning, and the rest is a combination of thought, planning, research and sheer accidents.

ExtraImaginary: How do you know when a piece is finished?

Vida: I know it. I know when it is finished. I don’t know how. But it is a feeling in my gut. A light bulb goes off in my head that says, “Yes, this work is now finished. Complete.”

ExtraImaginary: Tell us about Full Moon. It has a lot to do with your heritage.

Full Moon by Vida KhademVida: My parents left Afghanistan after the war, when I was very young. I grew up in America, and knew very little about where I come from. After graduating from college I traveled back to Afghanistan to make a documentary. It was my first trip back as an adult. And what I saw touched me deeply.

There was too much destruction all around, and devastated souls, young destitute lives, women in peril, men in state of disillusion, and a country that was once a haven turned to an inferno without hope.

The capital city had been burnt to the ground. Every building that was standing had hundreds of bullet holes. The national museum had been looted. There was nothing that the eyes could rest upon that was beautiful.

I wanted to take a destroyed broken and bullet ridden wall of an existing building and turn it into an art work. I wanted the citizen of Kabul City to have something to see that was beautiful. That was art. That was hope.

That was my goal, but as life would have it, when I was in Kabul there were many bomb explosions and I could not paint on one of the bullet ridden City walls that I had chosen. So we opted to go outside of the City to a very famous part called Lake Qhargha.

There were no existing walls in the Park that I could paint on, so we opted to build a wall. It actually turned out to be a much more interesting endeavor. But, honestly speaking, it wasn’t the original plan. But it turned out well, and I am glad that it was embraced by the city officials and the citizens of Kabul City.

Creation of Full Moon

ExtraImaginary: Can you tell us a bit about your latest exhibition, “The Genesis”.

Our Daily Bread - From The Genesis SeriesVida: “The Genesis” is the story and history of Mankind and his relation to the planet. It is told in seven chapters, based on the religious texts, starting with creation of Heaven and Earth and when God created Adam.

Why did God create Man? Where did it all start, where are we now, and where are we headed?

What is Man’s responsibility towards the planet?

With “The Genesis”, I wanted to instill in the mind of the viewers a different way of seeing our planet, our dependency and connection to the planet, its fragility and perhaps the need for us to take care of that which was entrusted upon our hands.

Paramount Business Jets is the official sponsor of this work. I would like to thank Mr. Richard Zaher, the CEO of Paramount Business Jets for his kind support of this latest Exhibit, and for having the vision and heart to see the larger purpose and good intention behind this latest creation.

ExtraImaginary: What was the inspiration behind this?

Vida: The religious text and the story of creation was the inspiration behind this new work. In studying the Holy Torah, the Holy Quraan and the Holy Bible I found out that there is one story that is the same in all the Holy Books…and that is the story of Adam and Eve, the judgment day, and the rise and fall of humanity…hence “The Genesis”.

Which made me wonder, is it possible that in this simple story there is a metaphorical meaning for the whole span of humanity?

The Genesis

ExtraImaginary: Can you tell us about your upcoming project?

Vida: My upcoming work, on which I have been working for the last three years, uses the likeness of a Mercedes Benz Simplex Race Car as an inspiration for a Land Art Project for Public with the goal to inspire the youth towards greener auto technologies of the future.

I would like the proceeds from the sale of “Genesis series” to go towards building this New Public Art work. This project has been endorsed by Paramount Business Jets, Afghan American Peace Corp, Mayor Fred Costello of Ormond Beach Florida, the Board of Commissioner of Ormond Beach Florida, JugenLaden Bornheim, and the Company Mercedes Benz, and it’s parent Company Daimler and the Motor Racing Heritage of Ormond Beach.

This is an ongoing international project, and I am thrilled to have such wonderful response and moral support of people involved.

“The Engine” is one of man’s greatest invention. So much of our lives depend on it. Our collective effort is needed to come up with a solution for the future of automobile that can run on an alternative source of energy.

ExtraImaginary: Who are your favorite artists?

Leonardo Divinci, Van Gogh, Michael Angelo, Wolfgang van Goethe, Ludwig van Beethoven, Stanley Kubrick, Damien Hirst, Gohgosh, Maria Callas, Rekha, Steven Spielberg, Luciano Pavarotti, Ahmad Zaher, my grandfather Qyamudin Khadem…and so many more across every continent..it is hard to list them all.

ExtraImaginary: What are your goals in regards to your art?

Vida: I believe in Art having a cause. I would like to inspire and educate thru medium of Art. To dissolve the differences between race, culture, religion and boundaries that divides the human race. To serve the planet and it’s people in large.

ExtraImaginary: Is there anything else that you would like people to know about you?

Vida: I am an extremely sensitive person. It is my greatest weakness and greatest strength.

ExtraImaginary: Thanks Vida. You’re ExtraImaginary!

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