sajad rafeei was born in shooshtar, 1983, he is an international caricaturist. In 2000, he attended the “yellow deer” group and started his international activities and his artworks entered international festivals.
He received his BA in mechanic engineering in 2005, and began two-dimensional and three-dimensional designing, his technical education boosted his success in the field of interior design. Of course, Sajad says that studying mechanic engineering somehow has created a gap between his job and his art for a long time before he was able to balance them.
Remarkably, Sajad Rafeei has won many national and international awards, some of which include: China “Googlem” Festival, the first prize of “BH” Cartoon Festival in Brazil, 2010; special prize of Turkey's Aydin Dogun Festival; third prize of “antiwar” festival in Iran 2010; the third prize of “The Olive” Cartoon Festival in Cyprus; the second prize of Iran's “Safe Society” Festival,2017, and many other awards.
Here is our interview with sajad rafeei:
What was your first cartoon?
I think the first cartoons were those drawings at the bottom of my notebooks during middle school. Some of which were meaningless and some were more like cartoon.
When and where was your first work published?
My first artwork was published in local “hamsayeha” magazine in Ahvaz, 2001.
What was your dream when you were a child?
As a child, I was interested in drawing, that’s why art teachers were more satisfied with me than others. I never had the specific desire and purpose to follow, which I think is very important. So, we should think either it is good to set a goal and a path for our children based on our experience and interests, and not let them repeat the mistakes we have made or let them choose their own path?
What is your dream now?
I wish I could explore in the art world without any trouble of living, but I think this is more like a dream because we are in a very complicated and difficult living situation.
What was your first prize?
The third prize of student cartoon contest in 2001. It was very sweet to me for three reasons: the festival's participants were professional cartoonists, I was studying engineering and most of the participants were students of art, the jury members were professional team including Masoud Shojai Tabatabai, Javad Alizadeh, and Vladimir Kazanovsky of Ukraine.
What was your last prize?
I received the second prize of Turkey's Amut International Festival “disarmament and genocide” ten days ago.
what are you working on now?
Nothing. I aim to create something for “Trumpism” festival.
Do you draw cartoons digitally or manually?
Both. Some parts are done manually and some digitally. The output will be printed.
Which medium do you use?
I use a combination of acrylic, colored pencil and plaster. I also use a light pen.
What is your best cartoon?
I love my “war” collection, specially the one that has got a prize of Aydin Dogun Festival, in which you can see a general and a hotel maid behind him carrying his suitcase. I also love the general's confidence; he is so delightful as if he walks on the golf course.
Can cartoon and caricature be taught?
Why not, everything can be taught, if one would be interested in learning and the teacher would be patient.
What about the idea of a cartoon or a caricature?
My daily life inspires me. Sometimes I have more than 40 subjects in my mind, but finally I will come with one that should enter a festival.
In your opinion which one is more important: idea or technique?
Idea and technique are the wings of a bird; never a bird can fly with a wing. In my opinion, the subject has to be original. This is very important to me because my performances take a long time and I have no time to waste. Some people think that the idea and the creation should be something notable, but to determine which idea needs a simple or complex creation is an expertise.
How do you come up with an idea?
The idea that comes to my mind is a kind of raw one that should be evolved, sometimes it comes from a memory or a book that I read. I endeavor to create something new and original; I can dare to say I am successful.
Have you ever trained?
Not in an academic manner, but I am always learning through reading articles published in specialized journals and watching the works of professors and artists.
Is drawing caricature your main occupation?
Caricature is my cup of tea, but it is not my main job, I have studied engineering and earn money from that.
How long does an artwork takes?
They often take a week, I work on them 2 or 3 hours a day.
What does length of time depend on?
The leisure times.
Does a simple or complex idea affect the form?
Exactly, for example, I spent lots of time on the work which has got the first prize of a biennial festival. I did a lot of research on how the presidents were coming to the White House and tried to figure out how the guards was standing in front of the White House entrance. All of these details take a long time. Or the work that won the second prize at Book Biennial led me to study a large number of opera houses, and it took a lot of time. Interestingly, for each of the characters, I have a separate story and try to Characterize each one. For example, a character who turn the book’s pages, it seems that he remembers something joyful or make her child laugh.
Who is the best foreign caricaturist in your opinion?
Various artists impressed me in different phases, like Yuriy Kosobukin, Mihai Ignat , Claude Serre, but if I want to name one I should name Quino.
Who are the best Iranian artists in your opinion?
All of them. I prefer not to name anyone.
Name the best movie you have ever watched?
I watch a lot of movie, of course, each of those films might have been the best on a special time. On the other hand, I always follow a few famous directors’ films, like Nouri Bigelow, Woody Allen, Scorsese, David Fincher, Inarito Gonzalez, David Lynch and Abbas Kiarostami.
Who are the best foreign and Iranian actors or actress in your opinion?
I like "Shahab Hosseini", "Peyman Maadi" and "Ali Mosfa" and "Al Pacino".
What is the best book you've ever read?
I recently have read “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera, but “Animal Farm” by George Orwell is wonderful one.
With whom (artist) you are in touch more?
I have friends like Amin Aghaei, Majid Amini, and Saman Torabi that I regularly contact by phone or in person, but also I have cartoonist friends whom I contact via telegram or WhatsApp or Facebook .
What do you think about Iran Cartoon site?
It is the 2nd site that impressed my artworks after “Keyhan Cartoon”, I owe them my success.
Thank you for your time
I wish you all the success!