Artist Interview: Fay Samimi

1.    What do you say when people ask you, 'What do you do?'

I am a ceramic artist, I play with clay.

2.    How did you get involved with art?

I started taking ceramic classes when I was in graduate school for engineering. I fell in love with clay, and it has been part of my life ever since. 

3.    Where do you derive your inspiration from?

The interaction of technology, science, and art.

4.    What's something that most people just don't understand about your field?

That making a ceramic sculpture is a long process. Typically, it is more time consuming to make a sculpture than it is to complete a painting.

5.    What's something that continues to interest you about your work?

Incorporating found objects in my sculpture to communicate the narrative in each work, and challenging myself to use material and techniques that I haven't used before in my pieces. 

6.    What new idea or innovation is having the most significant impact on how people think about art?

Buying art as an asset and using art as a status symbol.

7.    What's an emerging trend that you think will shake up the art world?

This is the most frequently asked question when I talk to people. For me, it's about "what if?" When I am listening to the radio, and I hear a story about feminist or environmental issues, I think "what if these subjects could become a human feature in an animal?" or "what if an animal could be morphed into a human expressing my views?" For example, I found a shell and tried to hear the ocean from it. Then I thought "how many ways we could listen? Can we listen with our eyes?" I made a piece called LISTEN and added a shell on a human head. I also added a bird to this same sculpture as it represents one of the most pleasant ways we can listen to nature.

8.    Please tell us about your training and how you transitioned to where you are today.

I have been taking classes and workshops from the artists that I admire to learn and to improve. You can say that I am a self thought artist. Working with clay has been my hobby while I took care of my family and worked as an engineer in the microelectronic industry.

When we moved to Florida 8 years ago, I retired as an engineer and devoted my time to my passion for art.  I used to make mostly funky, functional ceramic vessels, but in recent years, I have gravitated towards making sculptures.

9.    What is your state of mind when you are creating?

It feels like meditation, the outside world does not exist. I am often told that I must be enjoying it so much because I am smiling at the work in front of me.

10. Does your social and political climate impact your artistic expression?

Yes, of course. You can see the influence of feminism and environmental issues, particularly my concern about the influence of humans over animals and nature.

11. Are you thinking about the viewer’s psychology of experiencing your art when you create?

While I am designing my pieces, I don't think about how the viewer will perceive my art. I concentrate on my story. But, when a piece is finished, I am very interested to know how the viewer interprets my story from his/her perspective and how they finishe my story.

12. What emotion would you say plays the biggest role in your art?

Spiritual.