Mémoires de l'artiste
“Gratefully, my life continues to be one of pursuing consciousness and further self-actualization through the endeavor of intelligently harmonious creation. The persistent influences from advanced human innovation throughout time, the pursuit of capturing the Omnipresent, and the study of mineralogy as a physical medium of capturing the dynamic principles of vitality in the Cosmos are always imbued in my creations... Until the period in my life when my aesthetic ingenuity can achieve its pinnacle expression through executed masterpiece collections that serve the greater good of Humanity.” -Fareen Butt
I was born in Toronto, soon moving to California, where I grew up.
I am named Iram Fareen Butt, the last name being my father's family name that originated from Kashmir (known for it's breathtaking mountainscapes). My mother's heritage is from the mountainous Alborz region. The Silk Road passes through this region; the influences by Middle Eastern, Persian, Indo-chine, and Byzantine cultures are very evident in the art, architecture, customs and beliefs of the areas. Fareen means the one who beautifies a place with her presence. Iram is the name for a station of heaven, in Zorastrian philosophy it is considered the highest realm of Being which embodies intuition, intellect, and creativity. It is also a name given to a legendary garden by the Arab king Shaddad (who created a heaven-like garden within a desert), and further becoming a popular name for gardens throughout the Middle and South East Asian region lasting past dynasties and civilizations, to today.
My childhood passed simply, my parents were entrepreneurs in the medical and technological fields; they were innovative people with an avant guard perspective on life.
I remember my first drawing, and it is the very second memory in my life. I was just learning to walk at this time, it was just before moving into our first house. I saw a moth sitting on the outside of a glass round window. I was trying to tell my mother to save the moth, that it would die in the cold. She didn't understand what I was trying to say, so I thought that if I could draw it, it would somehow become immortalized in the picture, and I put all my emotions for the life of that moth into the picture. I drew my first conscious still-life: a rough circle, with a small triangle containing other small circles within it.
In elementary school I was always an exceptional illustrator, and my teachers would tell my parents to encourage me in the arts. My science fair projects were always revolved around geology, crystals, the science of optics, and the science behind optical illusions. One year the project focused on the effects of vibrations on the formation of crystals and other physical matter.
Middle school was a time full of local and national trips around the USA. Trips included camping in Death Valley and the Mojave, and spelunking throughout the US with friends and their parents/ guardians. At this point I discovered a real love for minerals, and for unique landscapes. Trips included the Carlsbad Caverns, The Ruby Falls Caverns, Raccoon Mountain Caverns, and Cathedral Caverns, to name a few places.
During my high school years, to pursue unique business opportunities, my family moved to the Subcontinental region.
Schooling was a challenge for me, as in such a closed and traditional society, my peers were of the extremely wealthy class and uninterested in anything beyond their narrow scope of life, only biding their time until inheritance and marriage. So I left school and quickly finished my entire high school career in private tuition, giving final exams within 3 months. I was 15 at the time and had about 3 years to go still before college. I started to travel in the regions, and internationally. During this time, I discovered many little known sub-cultures within the mountainous regions of Turkey, The Emirates, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kirghistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Bhutan, and China. Some were nomadic, others lived in lavish caves underground and in mountainsides. Still others lived in elaborate tent-like structures. All lived in mineral-rich regions and used minerals as a regular part of craft, clothing, and jewelry. During this time I was also able to travel to many caves around the world. At times I worked as an apprentice with artisans of the regions that worked with crushed mineral pigments. For example, one apprenticeship was with an Ayurvedic mineralogist, who would manipulate the constitution of gemstones for the purpose of ingestion and healing.
My college years started in 1999, and I moved to New York. I mainly studied liberal arts, including languages, geology, mineralogy, literature, history, civilization, and prehistoric cultures that were still in existence today. Continuing to travel extensively, I had a chance to further explore various cave systems around the world where some of the first minerals came into existence, created by nature over millions of years. During this time I independently painted and studied the use of minerals in my artwork. The works from this time reflect a raw and somewhat juvenile experience with the medium.
During my last year in college, I took about two years off of my life and continued to spelunk, as well as continued to discover mineral sources and paint. Over these years of teen and early adult years, I have visited many stems including the Azure caves of Chile and Argentina, the Canin Massif of Slovenia, the Abkhazia, Caucus, and Gagra range in Georgia, Torcha del Cerro, Spain, the Samoens system and Mirolda, French Alps, Vogelshaft and Laprechstofen in Austria, the Cappadocia cities of Turkey, Pathet Lao in Laos, Coober Pedy in Australia, and my favorite, the glowing Waitomo system of New Zealand.
In 2006 I had finally stopped traveling. I rigorously focused more on painting and creating bodies of works whilst further refining the technique of working with minerals. Some of the works were completed before this year, most were completed this year and afterwards. In the works I make now, there are the influences of the landscapes and places I saw: the rich history of cultures which brewed over centuries and then left pure, untouched, and uninfluenced in our modern day by the West, the insatiable curiosity of mineral properties of light/ color, and their mysterious origins from deep within unknown realms of the earth. There is the recognition of infinite possibilities within these inspirations and minerals as a medium.
Geography, geology and mineralogy are not the only studies incorporated in the works: as the works become more refined, the applications of physics, chemistry, and the study of light and colours unseen by the human eye as captured within crystals and created structures are explored. There is also the influence of the Landscape as a subject of art in classic Eastern works: the outer landscapes of mountains, the Rorschach Test as a path leading the inner landscape of the Mind, the abstract concept of Space beyond Time referred to as Akash and Ekaksara in the Vedas. There is the influence of painting with minerals, as was the technique used in Japanese Nihonga, the Indian and Persian gemstone paintings and miniatures, as well as during the Medieval and Renaissance periods of Europe. The recognition of the alchemical properties as recognised in Medieval Alchemy of Europe and the Middle East, and of Ayurveda's mineralogy. There is the combination of Eastern philosophy, specifically the Vedas, as well as the sciences of Cymatics and Metaphysics, of Energy and the Wave as expressed through Sound and Light. Finally, there are the paralleling Numerological considerations as presented by the I Ching, the Vedas, the Gematria, and many other spiritual scriptures.
Recent exploratory trips included the Magrite Museum in Brussels, (to witness the exploration of the subconscious by a revered artist), the viewing of Axel Vervoort's private collection in Wijnegem, and the attendance of several private auctions held by The Beijing Poly International Auction Company.
My life has been, and will continue to be, one of advancement in perception, wedded with self-actualization through the creation of my artworks. The influences from international human innovation past and present, the pursuit of capturing the Omnipresent, and the study of mineralogy as a physical medium of capturing the principles of Cymatics, Metaphysics, and Numerology will continue to converge into the creation of my artworks...
Until the period in my life when my creativity can achieve its pinnacle expression through masterpiece collections of the art.
Artist standing with commissioned work from the Akasa Masterpiece series in London. Work includes gemstones such as topaz, sapphires, carnelians and diamonds. Artwork is 11 x 33 ft in size.