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An interview with Taher Shaabani

An interview with Taher Shaabani

Taher Shaabankhani is a cartoonist, animator and illustrator. He was born in 1979, in Hamedan.

He majored in graphic from Hamedan Mofateh University.

He had worked as an animator in Hamedan Broadcasting organization. In 2001, he was beginning to work as a cartoonist and caricaturist and he cooperated with some Medias and presses such as Fars news and Jam_e_Jam. In addition, he worked as an illustrator in some publication such as Madreseh publication and Roshd Magazines. Shaabani attended in some competitions and festivals and he was awarded national and international prize such as Japan “Yomiuri Shimbun” honor award certificate and festival medal, in 2006. Also, he attended in domestic and foreign exhibitions.

He held three solo exhibitions of his works. Recently, Taher Shaabankhani was awarded a special award of the tenth festival on Iranian youth cartoon and caricature. For this reason, we had an interview with him.

 Why did you become a cartoonist?

- When I was 7, I interested in drawing and painting. So, I went to Hamedan visual arts vocational school. There, I acquired with “Mahmoud Nazari” who was a cartoonist and caricaturist. He worked thematic and I drew face caricature. Until he suggested to organize a cartoon group called “red pencil”, and we’ve done it with my friend “Ali Paknahad”. Then, we decided to set up an exhibition. Thus, we started the cartoon field seriously.

 What was your first cartoon? Did you remember it?

- It was about water, and I think I had drawn it for “Peyke Hamedan” weekly magazine in 1999.

 When and where did your first work publish?

- This cartoon was my first work.

 What was your dream in childhood?

- Every child has many dreams at that age, but I wished to older and become a painter. Of course, at that time, I could only imagined the works in the field of colors, lines, drawing and painting.


Now, what do you wish?

- People live in peace and calm and the internet don’t be disconnected.

 Of course, I think the second one isn’t a wish, and it is a request. It seems that’s for your satiric caricature mentality!!

- Believe me, this is my wish now.

 What was your first prize?

- I awarded the first prize in drawing in the visual arts.

 What was your last prize?

- It was the special award for 10th festival on Iranian youth cartoon and caricature in Bojnourd. I rarely attend festivals and competitions unless I can provide good work with concentration and a good idea.


What’s your last work?

- I think trumpism festival.

 Do you work digitally or manually?

- At first, I worked manually, but now for speeding in works, I set the etudes manually, then do the final work digitally.

 What tool and application, do you use?

- Photoshop

  Is it possible to teach the caricature and idea manufacturing?

- Yes, of course.


Which is more important to you, idea or technic?

-  At first glance, the idea is important but both of them are important in total, because when we have a new idea, we should do it as well. Sometimes we have a very good idea, but we can’t do it very well. Sometimes we have not a very good idea, but do it very well.

 How an idea form in your mind?

- Everything could form an idea. May be it is a sequence of a movie or a conversation in street or from etudes on a paper.

 What is the main feature of your works in terms of form, execution, and content from your point of view and experts?

- In each time, they thought one way. At first, they said my works are fun and then there were different trends. But now, most of my works are analytic, satiric, and ironic.

 How much time do you usually spend on a work?

- It’s depends on the idea. Sometimes something caused I changed my idea. Some works need 2 or 3 days but in part time. Sometimes I may get better results after a few days. Usually 2 days after finding an idea, I reach a definite conclusion and execute the work.


Is simple or complex form, related to the complexity or simplicity of the idea?

- Yes it is. If you have seen Rene Magritte paintings, you find that the themes he used in his paintings are the same as his technics. If these themes were executed with other technics, they couldn’t be very attractive. I think technic and idea should be matched together. Sometimes fun cartoons are funny but sometimes dark comedy is not matched with the idea.

 In your opinion, how much a work should rely on form and idea, and content? Do you consider one of these more important than the others?

- Maybe a caricature shows a serious and deep concept with simple lines. A good cartoon doesn’t need a form essentially, but also it bases on content.

 Is the angle of view of the artist on a subject important?

- Caricature doesn’t maintain a special form and maybe the technic or style of an artist doesn’t maintain a story but it’s more relevant to the content.

 You are going to attend in international Trumpism cartoon and caricature competition, do you work with this theme?

- Yes, I am thinking of doing some works.


What is your assessment of the international Trumpism cartoon and caricature competition?

- I think when we talk about Trump, every cartoonist specially in Iran imagine a dictator and superpower person and they interest in drawing some caricature about him. Trump is always a challenge for our country and he has insulted. So, it is important that cartoonists participate in the competition because of the process that Trump has taken on the Iranian people and country.

 Who is the best foreign caricaturist in your opinion?

- Quino and Mordillo

 Which Iranian artist do you like best?

- Most of the Iranian artist are good and they awarded in foreign festivals.

 What is the best movie have you ever seen?

- I’ve seen very good movie, but I can name The Grinch, Coco, The Legend of 1900, Apocalypto, and Green book.


Who is the best Iranian and foreign actor in your opinion?

- Among Iranian actor I like Ali Nasirian, Shahab Hosseini, Reza Kianian, Parvis Parastouee and among foreigner Al Pacino.

 What is the best book have you ever read?

- It’s a mad mad world, Sheldon Silverstein’ book.

 Which Iranian artist do you most in touch with?

- With Mahmoud Nazari, Ali Paknahad and Akbar Torabpour my cartoonist friends.

 What is your opinion about Iran cartoon site?

- It’s the best cartoon and caricature in the world, because it is the first cartoon site and some ones became cartoonist through this site. It’s true that Keyhan caricature is no longer published, but it’s offered a specialized education to its audience.


Do you have any special talk?

- I’d like to talk about two points. One that, Iranian cartoonists are very good and active, they should have a place to exhibit their works, but not only in festivals and exhibitions, because a cartoonist position is between people. Iran cartoon defends artist’s rights certainly, but it should be more regularized. It is better to organize a caricature association.

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