We had the good fortune of connecting with Farnaz Harouni and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Farnaz, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
A creative career path was the last thing my parents would have chosen for me. They wanted me to be a doctor. But I know that no one is going to live my life for me day-in and day-out, so I make choices that ensure I don’t live a life of regret. I knew from a very early age that I had to follow my instincts and take the path that resonates with my soul rather than just thinking about what pleases my parents. My choice of career paths was not an act of rebellion. It was just me living an authentic life. I have been an artist since I can remember. My parents never supported it so I learned on my own. By the time I was a junior in high school, I would have visions of elaborate gowns that came to me in a flash and burned an afterglow like you get from staring at the sun. I’d be able to rotate the vision in my mind and see it three dimensionally. I could zoom in and out in my vision and make changes where I would see fit. That’s when it became clear to me that my calling is to be a fashion designer. I convinced my parents by painting their portrait for their anniversary. My father, who was a very hard man to please, was convinced I actually have talent and gave his blessings. That decision was the defining empowering moment in my life that my destiny is in my own hands and I’m the only one responsible for how my life will turn out.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
We are so conditioned to believe that specialization in one thing is best. That we must find a niche and pigeon hole ourselves into it. Quite the opposite, I believe that the richness one can attain from multiple ventures in life allows for new creative possibilities that would not have come about otherwise. One great example is how Steve Jobs took a calligraphy class while having dropped out of college which sparked the idea of different fonts in the computer code he developed which made apple the leader in the field. It is in combination of seemingly unrelated elements that new concepts and ideas can emerge. I started my career as a fashion designer, then my creative energy led me to add a second business to my calling, that of interior design. My knowledge of the fashion world makes me a more dynamic interior designer. My work in interior design also informs my fashion designs in new and creative ways. Those sensibilities make me more insightful as a fine artist. All of this then goes into how I teach as a college professor and how I relate to my students. Every field involves research and development. It is in those various contrasts that new insightful and exciting breakthroughs can be found.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite thing to do in LA is rollerblading on the beach. I go every weekend. That is my reset button for the week. Other favorite past times on the weekends include hiking and spending time with family and friends. I love going to art galleries and museums. I’m also a huge fan of electronic dance music so I go clubbing as often as I can.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My journey would not be what it is without Otis. I graduated from Otis college of art and design a different person than I went in. A leading institution in fashion design, I was intimidated at first to even apply. I submitted my portfolio and I was elated to learn I was accepted with a scholarship! That was the most intense 4 years of my life. I had no sleep, no social life, no time for anything other than the heavy work load. That intensity broke me and remade me into a confident artist and designer. I knew I could take on any challenge after that. It made me disciplined, strong, and capable of channeling my creativity through a process that yields reliable results. I knew I had every skill I needed to be able to craft all that I dreamed up. That process has served me well in all my endeavors from fashion, to interiors, to fine art. I see no limitations, I get to live in a world of possibilities.
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