Art for the moments of life
An Interview with the Doctor and Artist Dr. Farzam Khalilian
© POLO+10 by Alexander Nebe / Photography Karsten Eichhorn
How and when did the idea for the founding of „Khalilian Equestrian Carpets“ came about?
Five years ago I was at the CHIO riding tournament in Aachen. It was a beautiful day – and I was enjoying the moment; watched the hustle and bustle around me, the horses, the people. And suddenly a question shot through my head: Why are there no elegant, classy carpets with horse motifs in its design?
So it was like some kind of creative enlightenment?
Absolutely (laughs). Suddenly I felt like an unconditionally enthusiastic child again. After that, I carried the idea around with me for some time without really taking action. Finally, in 2017, I actually started drafting the first design and put some of the ideas in my head on paper.
Would you say that the fascination for horses has grabbed you?
Definitely! However, I’ve been enthusiastic about horses since I was a child. Horses have always interested and accompanied me. They are impressively graceful beings who effectively convey their pride and beauty to the outside world.
Where are your carpet designs implemented and how long does it take to make them?
The carpets are made in selected manufactories in the Orient – with strict regulations, especially with regard to child labor. We only use the highest quality materials such as wool from Mongolian sheeps or Tibetan silk. The carpets are knotted in two layers and yet it usually takes around six months before a carpet is finished. With a knot density of up to 500.000 knots per square meter or more you can imagine very well why it takes such a long time. It’s real manual work – a very impressive and artful craft.
In which quantities do you produce?
Some carpets are unique. We produce a maximum of five pieces per design, depending on size and color weighting.
Artful carpets are one thing. As an artist, you also create „String-Art“ works. How did you come up with this art form?
My first school lesson in Germany is to blame for that. (smiles) When I was taken to the classroom, all students drove nails into boards according to a precise template and then created their pictures with colored threads. I have always fondly remembered this first formative experience from my new homeland. Years later – ok, decades later (laughs) – I started to reinterpret the technology.
Reinterpreted to what extent?
I use very thin and filigree threads for my pictures, which allow different shades and also color accents to be worked out particularly well. It’s very important to me that in the end the most varied details in portraits or horse heads are clearly worked out. For the last picture I used about ten kilometers of thread. This length could have been laid almost one and a half times around the Hamburg Alster.
What is special about this art form?
I find it really fascinating when you „paint a picture“ with threads. It’s simple but expressive. And hopefully I’m not alone with this opinion. (smiles)
How long does it take to complete a String-Art image?
That always depends on how large the format and how complicated the desired motif is. Portraits of people are more difficult and challenging than horses, natural or architectural motifs. Basically, however, I sit at a picture for several weeks, but sometimes the creative process goes a little faster.
To which countries have you already sold your works?
My first commission came from the royal family in Abu Dhabi. In the meantime, I also sell to New York and California, to Japan, South America or to the Moroccan royal family. Even a german family that produces cars in Stuttgart is now one of my customers. These addresses are a great honor for my work. However, the most important thing for me is to have created something with my art that brings joy to its new owner every day. No matter who and no matter where.
Can you draw parallels between your art and your work, the art form of cardiac surgery?
Both require the highest precision, concentration and dedication. Both activities make me feel very happy. The key difference is: In my artistic work I can also allow myself to make a mistake – not in an operation!
Do you also do individual remittance work for your clients?
Yes, with pleasure! The joint creative process is not only often very inspiring, it also leads to good conversations and sometimes even to a friendship. And I really appreciate that!
The horse plays a major role in your art. Will it stay that way in the future?
The horse is and remains omnipresent in my art. But there will definitely be excursions that are less focused on this subject.
The carpets and String-Art-pictures were created from defining moments in your life. Does that mean we can look forward to more artful stories that your life has written so far?
Definitely! I’m already working on some new art projects, including a Polo-Collection planned for 2021. I’m sure that great pieces will be created because the world of Polo inspires me many levels. If you don’t like the Polo-Collection you can scold me at the next meeting. (laughs)
String-art „Amenity“ / 120 x 120 cm / ca 4 km thread © Farzam Khalilian
Art for the moments of life.