Contemporary Artist, Davood Roostaei Reveals His Inspiration to Create Cryptorealism – the Unique Art Style Explicitly Crafted by Bare Hand

words Al Woods

“As “reality” couldn’t speak to the complexities of the modern world, the brush couldn’t do what I needed it to do.”

Davood Roostaei

Davood Roostaei, Epicurus, 1995, oil and acrylic on canvas, 66 x 48 in. ©️ Davood Roostaei.

Davood Roostaei from the start of his artistic journey seemed to grab the art world with both hands.  A couple of years into his training then career, he literally started making art with his hands, utilizing his fingers to develop a way of expressing what he would later call Cryptorealism.

Roostaei’s experiences as a young student led him to grasp the intensity of the world at a tender age. “I soon realized that I must explore ways to express the intensity of the world as intensely through technique and a rethinking of the art process,” he says.

Cryptorealism for Roostaei follows the pathway that numerous great artists have taken, a conviction that there are eternal perspectives in any fine art. The distinct journey of Roostaei, which he later named Cryptorealism, was a standpoint at various levels – an excellent blend where he brought plenitude of styles of art movements together, making it his own.  Roostaei has remained committed to this way of painting ever since he developed it in 1990.

Roostaei explains that Cryptorealism is perhaps the best way to foster multiple perspectives on different issues through an overlaying of levels of images. He created this concept to do what he thought was rudimentary to depict the world he had seen and experienced from all different perspectives.

It was perhaps the only way as an artist he was able to both render his experiences and tell of his world in all aspects of past, present, and future.

Roostaei could not avow a clear path to truth – then or now – as either an artist or a person. His life could only tell of the non – avowed and non – declared. When Roostaei realized that his new vision required a drastically new technique, he satisfied this realization by painting with his fingers, which has become one of his trademarks. He has not grabbed a paintbrush in more than thirty years in executing his paintings, leaning towards a more visceral connection with paint and how it contributes to his manifestations of art.

“As “reality” couldn’t speak to the complexities of the modern world, the brush couldn’t do what I needed it to do,” says Roostaei.

Davood Roostaei

Davood Roostaei, Fly With Me My Love, 1993, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 in. ©️ Davood Roostaei.

“The connection with my work needed to be primitive, removing the conventions both mentally and technically. This freedom could have only been accomplished with my owns hands, giving me the liberty to express my true self,” he adds.

Roostaei’s vast viewpoints accompany a practically fierce force, yet of course, he sees the world with the same amount of merciless intensity as reflected in his works. Formally trained at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Tehran in the late 1970s, he realized that masterful craftsmanship was insufficient to express the intensity of what he had seen and experienced throughout his life, necessitating the initiation of what we know today as Cryptorealism.

The need for an innovative style has served him well – he has a loyal following of collectors who appreciate the way he renders reality while simultaneously giving an imaginative contort, which is needed to show that the external reality isn’t all that is there.

This realization of Roostaei about the world that surrounds us haunts all the pieces he has crafted to date, stretching back to the start of his vocation in the 1970s.

Roostaei’s works are often a blast of dynamic hues, yet that is not all that is there: Look somewhat more intently, and one discovers images and figures similarly as kid delights in the patterns formed in a kaleidoscope. Indeed, the artwork crafted by Roostaei hides a part of his childhood that he wishes to convey to his audience.  What Roostaei is crafting demands us not to take a gander at life hastily.

Roostaei art

Davood Roostaei, Tempus Fugit Perpetuum, 1994, oil and acrylic on canvas, 48 x 32 in.  ©️ Davood Roostaei.

There are some key moments in his work that make us reminisce of what has occurred over the turbulent past decades; be they the fall of the Berlin Wall, the horrors of 911, or the bush fires that seethed in California. For Roostaei the center does not hold, something he got the hang of experiencing childhood in Iran, and later pursuing his career in Germany, where he embarked on to vocational journey as an artist, and now through working in Los Angeles, a city that has satellites at its center. Roostaei’s work along these lines holds fragments referencing the past, present, and the future. In the entirety of his work from the mid-1980s to date, images appear in a kaleidoscope of color, emotion, and commitment.

Davood Roostaei artist

Davood Roostaei, Adieu GDR, 1990, oil and acrylic on canvas, 48 x 32 in. ©️ Davood Roostaei.

In this “now”, Roostaei keeps on teaching us that life has a frenzy to it, but also a longing and lingering of a search for meaning, with pictures that have taught us that there is little totally new even in these tumultuous times of the 21st century.

When we view Roostaei’s work, we learn from the past, present, and the future. Roostaei’s art will indeed sweep you off the grounds and take you on the journey of politics, history and creative splendor.


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