Meet Vincent van Gogh like never before! It's not like you've ever met him, but you've probably read a lot about him and looked at his famous one-eared self-portrait at least once in your life. The Dutch post-impressionist painter is one of the most influential artistic figures in the history of Western art and Iranian-born, Lisbon-based cartoonist, Alireza Karimi Moghaddam is one of his biggest fans.
"As a teenager, I fell in love with Van Gogh's life story and paintings. His style, colours and lifestyle inspired me (...) I immersed myself in the love of his life", says Alireza, trying to explain his fascination for van Gogh. The Dutch really had a troubled life, an agitated career and a restless personality. I remember I was in primary school when my art teacher would tell us about Van Gogh, his art and life story. I'm not sure if it was just my teacher's compelling way of telling a story, or Van Gogh's art and unhinged personality that really attracted me to this particular painter. Anyways, I remember being quite obsessed with van Gogh for some time; only that I didn't have any artistical talents whatsoever to express that fascination and it slowly died out. Nevertheless, whenever I hear the name, a flicker of that childhood obsession comes back to haunt me.
The world is still obsessed with Van Gogh
I think the world hasn't still gotten over him. The truth is that his sudden death left us with a lot of questions and a lot of mysteries regarding his life, his character, his art and mostly, his artistic creed and obsessions.
For Alireza Karimi Moghaddam, "Van Gogh is not only a painter and a genius but a way of life. (...) he is a symbol of love, humanity and altruism". The Iranian cartoonist thinks that Van Gogh could have been an artist everyone could relate to. He wants to show us through his cartoons that the Dutch painter was all about beauty and love and that his life with all his troubles and mysteries, was an inspiring one.
This is the explanation behind the Iranian cartoonist's take on Van Gogh works. His adaptations of Van Gogh's Sunflowers or Starry Night are surreal and by placing the Dutch painter in almost all of his works, he gives this bearded-man a more romantic feeling. Moghaddam's van Gogh is cycling through a meadow of sunflowers and laying in a wheat field observing the night sky. He's basically exploring the nature he's about to paint and his figure is not as frightening and mysterious as we were led to believe by artworks, portraits and stories. No, this van Gogh is closer to us, you can feel his love for nature and art and his peaceful meditation on the next painting, the next piece of art.
Moghaddam's comics are digitally rendered and they seem happy in style, colour, atmosphere; not much like van Gogh's gloomy mood. Nevertheless, you'll also come about some darker versions of cartoons which also illustrate the artist' cruel battle with mental health. You sometimes see Vincent Van Gogh on the verge of suicide. Nevertheless, Moghaddam's comics will not shade your cheerfulness or make you feel uneasiness in any case. The final taste you'll get after going through these comics is one of melancholy and admiration for a great artist and a true lover of art and life.
Iranian-born cartoonist Moghaddam was born in 1975 and currently a Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Graphic Design from The Teheran University. He started his professional career of animation, graphic design and illustrations in 1991. In recent years he became quite a hit online and appeared on a lot of graphic design magazine covers. Scroll down to see his works on Van Gogh's art and life.