NESHAN, The Iranian Graphic Design Magazine

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Neshan 44

Iranian Contemporary Design

Why Is A Raven Like A Writing Desk?

Ali Afsarpour

I feel no urge to write about Siamak Pourjabar’s works until I tell you about his personality. Honestly, I am more willing to write a story about him rather than an article. It is a pity to know a character like him and talk about his birth date, graduation year, or work experience instead of writing a story about him. I am not a storyteller and you probably are not holding this magazine to read a story. We are both lucky that a long time ago, someone made this job easy in a faraway land. He was Lewis Carroll, who lived in the northwest of England and the job was done in 1865. Evidently, he had never seen Siamak, but in writing his well-known story called “Alice in Wonderland” he was inspired by people that were not only like Siamak but also shared numerous similarities with him. They were the hatters! At that time, hatters used mercury to make hats and they would be poisoned by inhaling its vapor. Lewis Carroll, who lived near Stockport where many hatters lived, had seen many of them confused and bewildered. Therefore, the “Mad Hatter” character was born into the “Alice in Wonderland” story.

I believe Siamak is the best living example of a mad hatter (at least in this land). I know he will not feel insulted by this analogy, and thus you should not be insulted either. He possesses the insanity required for being an artist and the honesty, sincerity, and naughtiness required to be the Mad Hatter of Lewis Carroll’s story. Above all, he loves and respects his hat collection, which contains the best hats in the world.
You may wonder how these are related to graphics and design. In response, I must say that I thought you should know the creator of these works and his mindset. Siamak Pourjabar shows his unique style both in his works and his lifestyle. He does not copy anyone, but is influenced by things he loves and personalizes them in a special way. He does not ride the new waves; he resists them stubbornly and sings a different song. He can beautifully play any instrument provided that you are used to the jazz, blues, and rock music! Do not get me wrong, by “instrument” I am not referring to paint or brush. I am referring to anything from electric guitars to drums and anything that creates sound. He is hard working and has good taste, which is reflected in his illustrations, color choices, harmony, and favorite musical genres. 
He is a graduate of sculpture from the Fine Arts Faculty at the University of Tehran. He has not taken any academic course nor has he studied illustration. However, he has studied extensively, observed many works, and done his part. Hence, he is a perfect example of one who is self-taught.
You may want to know every single detail of his design process. I can only say that if you observe the different phases of his work, it will knock your socks off halfway to the end! He completes every artwork with the utmost care and subtle details before he begins another one. Therefore, if you see one of his works and you think one part could have been done differently, I assure you he has an example of the work done in a different way in his collection of etudes. If you do not believe me, ask him!
Siamak Pourjabar does not insist on manifesting the Iranian identity in his works. Rather, he is in intense imaginary competition with his imaginary rivals around the globe. He sincerely believes that neither his clothes nor the music he listens to is Iranian. He says he knows how to be an Iranian because he is an Iranian and it suffices.
He is constantly discovering figures and pattern in whatever he sees. Perhaps all of us have done it, especially in our childhoods, but we have rarely tried to illustrate our imaginations and we have overlooked them. However, Siamak does not take it for granted, and thus there is no empty space in his workshop. He has covered the walls, doors, staircases, and ceilings of all stories with traces of himself and his imagination. He sees it as a sort of cure. If he does not find a switch or knob to turn it into an elephant, crab, or frog, he spills ink on a paper and then tries to make something out of it. When he is done, he is calm for two or three hours. I recommend you seeing his Instagram page to be entertained. 
The bases for all of his graphic designs are illustrations created by him. These images are often highly detailed and the details occupy the audience’s mind for a long time. He detests existing fonts and whenever he needs to write something, he matches the letters in accordance with the style of his illustrations. He will even freely write all of the letters in a brochure or on an album cover using typeface-like handwriting. 
Hence, the posters designed by Siamak Pourjabar may be likened to artworks in addition to communicating information. Perhaps it is better to consider him a “poster artist” rather than a “poster designer.” If you listen to his words you will realize that he has chosen this style consciously and prefers his audience to take his posters home and hang them on their walls instead of saying, “Wow, what a great poster!” You may think this artistic mindset contradicts the nature of graphic design. However, you should know that he has worked for several reputable advertising agencies for a long time as a graphic designer, art director, and creative director and has accomplished his tasks properly. How? Probably through hard work and humor.
To prove my words, let me finish by quoting one of his sentences: “I like being silly and I do not like to take myself seriously. This is my motto.” 
    Therefore, doesn’t comparing him to the Mad Hatter ring true?

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