Today we’d like to introduce you to Roxana Eslamieh.
Hi Roxana, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I started my journey laying on my bed as a child, staring up at the cottage cheese ceilings, finding new forms every day from the same set of projected dots. I have always been drawn to immersive environments and repeating forms, so it makes sense that I became engrossed with printmaking and video art when I started studying at the USC Roski School of Fine Art. I was fascinated by traditional print methods and how they could be utilized in the modern world. I loved creating video art installations as they enabled me to create a truly immersive piece. I felt that I had to somehow merge these two worlds. After graduating, I became interested in weaving. I joined a small weaving studio in Eagle Rock called Pets with Fez. There, I learned about weaving on a floor loom and color theory as it applies to textiles. I struggled to find direction as I explored a myriad of artistic practices. I felt I needed to make a decision as to how I would make my creative mark on the world. I turned to my two greatest loves: printmaking and weaving, and worked to create an object that was as much immersive art as it was a commercial product. Taking a wall and adding life and depth to it through wallpapers was the solution.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My major struggle in this endeavor was designing with the idea of endless colors in mind, including metallics. Because of my experience at Gemini G.E.L., a fine art printmaking publication house, I became extremely particular about color matching and maintaining the integrity of a hue from on the screen to off the press. Any designer is familiar with this debacle. After I had proudly designed three collections, I went on the hunt for a manufacturer. My biggest obstacle at that point in time was digitally printing with the addition of metallic inks. It was near impossible to find a manufacturer who could produce this for me and stay cost-effective. Trying to decide between losing metallics or not, I realized I could silk screen my papers. This harkened back to my art practice in undergraduate school and felt more appropriate for the line of nature-inspired, tactile papers I had developed. I simplified the designs and was able to maintain the metallics that I loved so much, and I’m so glad I did, as metallic gold has become a major Manuka signature.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’ve found that the inception of all my best ideas begins in the garden when I’ve finally found time (usually on a precious Sunday) to sit down with my rice paper and sumi ink to sketch. I start by testing various instruments with ink on paper – it can be pens, quills, paintbrushes, sponges, anything that will leave an impressive mark. I have always been known for my tactile interpretations of nature, with my aim being to recreate the textures and patterns of our world through a medium that can live with us. One of the designs I am most proud of is Rift, a series of ink drawn cliffs that curve and dance to the tune of fate and fortune. I love that design because it can be so many different things. The wavering mountains of the Sierras, the Aurora Borealis of our magnetic Poles, the Salt dunes of the world’s greatest deserts, the Hierve al Agua of Oaxaca, Mexico. In that sense, it speaks many languages, it is a universal work of art.
Are there any books, apps, podcasts or blogs that help you do your best?
Podcast: “The Week in Art” keeps me up to date with current events in the art world. Podcast: “A Well-Designed Business” podcast is very motivational in terms of the struggles and obstacles a new business owner faces. Also, because it focuses on a lot of female run businesses and on interior designers, which is my target market and therefore helps me to learn more about how I can service their needs.
Books: I am currently reading “Oriental Carpet Design”, a textbook really. It allows me to gain a deeper insight into each rug’s cultural background and meanings of the various symbols woven within. A book I am always returning to, which is placed prominently in the Manuka studio is ERTÉ: The Last Works – Graphics and Sculpture by Eric Estorik. Romain de Tirtoff was a Russian-born French artist and designer known by the pseudonym Erté, from the French pronunciation of his initials, whose work I am endlessly inspired by. While Erté gained notoriety early in life for his costume and set design, this book focuses on the fine art he made in the last 30 years of his life. He often falls under Art Nouveau in most history books, but his surreal depictions of women elegantly draped in rich velour and adorned with gold defy categorization. You just have to see it to know what I mean, I am always trying to emulate the bizarre yet dignified luxury so effortlessly rendered in any Erté work.
Subscribe to our newsletter: