How does your experience as a refugee from the Iran-Iraq war inform your earlier paintings up until your most recent work?
I think the hybridity in my work comes from living in two different worlds. My childhood was spent in Iran during the revolution and war and then when I was twelve I moved to the U.S. Having such a range of experiences and cultural influences at such a young age broadened my idea of the world and the people and places held within it. I still like to explore that idea of the vast and endless range of people, places, and things that exist in my work today.
When did you realize you had synesthesia and how does your auditory memory affect your painting?
When I was a child in Iran and the eight years' war was going on, I would make drawings based on the sound and vibration of the explosions that I was hearing to try to make sense of what was happening around me. I did not think much of this then but as I got older I started to realize that there was always this parallel visual world when I was hearing sounds or reading. I then realized that this also worked in reverse, when I would look at visual works, I would hear a sound. I wasn't aware that there was a term for it until later when I read Kandinsky's influential book "Concerning the Spiritual in Art."