Monday, June 22, 2009

House of Iran

I used to work for an Iranian gentleman who was an upper-class exile. Like so many people with education and a connection to the Shah's government, he and his family had to leave Iran after the Islamic revolution. This gentleman used to create collectibles which he sold to other nostalgic Iranians: things like decorative plates, jewelry, or art prints. I did designs for him, most of which were not used, but he also sold prints of my art at Iranian events.

One of the designs I did for him was for a cultural "show-house" in Balboa Park, in San Diego. There is a collection of these display houses, the "International Cottages," which are open every Sunday to display the products, crafts, food, and culture of different countries. This design is a concept study for the Iranian (Persian) entry, called in Persian "Khaneh Iran" or "Iranian House." It shows a little museum filled with Iranian crafts, ceramics, glass and metalwork, as well as replicas of ancient Persian treasures. There is also a Persian tearoom where waitresses in traditional garb bring you tea and sweets. Artwork is watercolor on illustration board, 10" x 14", June 2000. Please click on the image for a somewhat larger view.

I also did some concept drawing work on the exterior, which looked like a typical small Southern California stucco house. The International Cottages were originally built for the 1935-36 California Pacific International Exposition. I have heard that the Iranian House was created but I have no idea what it is really like inside. I hope to visit it someday.

This post is in honor of the brave Iranians who are fighting for their freedom, and for the exiles who long to return.

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