We had the good fortune of connecting with Golareh Safarian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Golareh, what do you attribute your success to?
What is success? Aside from the basic definition of achieving a purpose or reaching a goal, being recognized (or recognizing yourself) as a successful individual requires a set of prerequisites that are inherently mercurial and subjective. Depending on your personal understanding of the term, you may associate success with financial independence, public recognition and acclaim, gaining the respect of your peers, or all of the above. In trying to define my understanding of success, I have come to accept it as a rather illusive notion. As I sift through my memories and try to recall my mindset at different times, I realize that my definition of success has changed just as much as I have throughout my life.
As a teen, I remember associating success with doing well in school. I was also into sports, and loved to run. The 100-meter sprint was my favorite event, so training for and doing well in races was another measure of success for me. Once I graduated from college, my notion of success shifted towards my career. Landing a well-paying position with the potential for growth and professional development became my new goal, and achieving that goal-my definition of success. Things changed again when I left my corporate job to start my media agency MindTripz Inc., and my e-commerce and design company Gogimogi. Suddenly, I started to measure success at more micro levels, mostly because I needed to acknowledge and celebrate every small accomplishment to keep my motivation high and the momentum ongoing. Every time I designed a new website, or finished an edit, or created a new product, or found a new production source, or made a sale, or landed a new client, I stopped and acknowledged the success in achieving that small specific goal and allowed the sense of accomplishment to fill me with confidence. This confidence fueled my courage and motivated me to take the necessary risks to keep moving forward.
Simultaneously, I have a different understanding of success when it comes to my visual art. I find undeniable joy in the process of creating, and even though public recognition and acclaim are the ultimate societal measures of success for an artist, just by having the opportunity to express my emotions in limitless visual mediums is a gift I recognize and celebrate.
By now, this has become such an integrated part of who I am that only its absence would mean lack of success. Another shift in my understanding of success occurred when I decided to write my children’s book “Gogi & Mogi Go to The Garden” in 2017. I had always wanted to write and illustrate a book for early readers, but the traditional approach of finding a literary agent who would then try to find a publisher willing to bring on a new writer with no experience in picture books seemed too daunting, so I never even tried. But then, I learned about self-publishing and realized that actually writing and illustrating the book was more important to me than being recognized by agents and publishers as a potentially solid investment.
I proceeded to create the book and published it in May of 2017, having shifted my notion of success to achieve my goal. The real success came when I saw my book in the hands of young kids, responding to the colorful illustrations and reading about hummingbirds, snails, and spiders. My most recent shift in defining success occurred when I launched the online meditation and mindfulness center “The Healing Salon” in December of 2019. I had been practicing mindfulness for many years, but it wasn’t until I sat down to create a comprehensive content plan for the center that I realized how much I associated true success with peace of mind and happiness.
Throughout my whole life, my understanding of success has been linked to achieving different goals. Whether it was doing well in school, or advancing my career, or launching a company, or creating a painting, or publishing a book, I have always associated success with reaching an end. With “The Healing Salon” that changed. For the first time, I realize that real success doesn’t come with finishing projects or reaching milestones. True success is an inner and outer state of wellbeing. A mental state free from anxieties and worries. A mindset free from the constant burdens of social popularity contests and approval ratings.
A peaceful serenity that comes only when you are no longer bound by the limitations of an earthly existence. And with this new definition, I cannot say that I have achieved true success-yet. I am determined to pursue this new goal with conviction and relentless discipline, however, knowing that, similar to my other pursuits, I will inevitably fail time and again before I can truly say I have reached my desired end.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It has taken a long time for me to be able to comfortably say I’m an artist. Like many, I spent years searching for that one thing that would make me truly happy. I looked high and low for a genuine purpose that would fill me with positivity and give me the energy to get up in the morning looking forward to my day.
For the longest time I believed that thing to be my career. My job was my identity. I would dedicate most of my waking hours either actually doing my job, or stressing about how I could have done my job better and what did I need to do to advance my career further. I’m not exactly sure when I snapped out of that mentality. It may have been after an illness in 2012 that sent me to the emergency room with a fever that wouldn’t let up. When I finally recuperated, something was different. I noticed that my job was not making me happy. In fact, it was the source of most of my anxiety. I also noticed that the nature of my position was not aligned with who I was. I was in media production, and although I had opportunities to be creative here and there, it was not a creative role, and creativity was something I craved. I quit my job in March of 2016 and launched MindTripz Inc., a boutique creative marketing and media agency with a focus on content creation. I didn’t know much about starting a business, but the possibility of building something rooted in creativity was exhilarating. Soon after launching the company I realized that I had to step up my game and develop my skills in many areas.
At my corporate job, my position was clearly defined and I was good at what I did, but straying too far outside the parameters of my role was discouraged and almost frowned upon. As an entrepreneur, I had to get rid of that mindset. Suddenly I needed to learn more about accounting, sales and lead generation, social media engagement strategies, analytics, global outsourcing, branding and more. This was also true on the creative side. I had years of experience as a multi-disciplined visual artist and photographer, and had produced and directed marketing content before, but my knowledge of graphic design, visual effects, video editing, animation, motion graphics, etc., was not where it needed to be. It was time to roll up my sleeves and learn everything I could which I did enthusiastically. This is when I knew I was on the right track. I was excited to get up in the morning and get to my computer to learn how to make character animation or add that funky transition in After Effects I had learned from that tutorial on YouTube. I was feeding the artist in me.
During this time, I also started to create more visual art pieces. I began exploring different genres and especially gravitated towards glitch art, probably thanks to my new affinity for video editing, animation and motion design. I began exploring mixed media, combining digital art and photo manipulation with analogue impasto brushworks to create pieces that merged classicism and new media. All of this also encouraged me to take my creativity one step further.
In late December of 2016, I launch Gogimogi Designs, a sister company to MindTripz Inc., with an e-commerce platform focused on whimsical designs inspired by nature. With the tagline “Artistically Geeky” Gogimogi’s mission is to shamelessly celebrate colorful designs and embrace a childlike sense of wonder. The designs I created for Gogimogi also inspired the illustrations for my children’s book “Gogi and Mogi Go To The Garden.” I remember one night, a few months after I had launched MindTripz and Gogimogi, I was out with a friend and we ran into some of her acquaintances. She leaned over to me and quietly asked how she should introduce me. “What should I say you do for a living?” I thought about her question for a bit and then said “you can say I’m an artist.” She rolled her eyes and said “No, I can’t say that! Sounds fake.” I was caught off guard. What was so fake about identifying yourself as an artist when you spent most of your time designing and creating art, and everything else you did as part of your “job” was to support that artistic pursuit? Maybe it was defining your creative work as art that came across as presumptuous? Or maybe, the term “artist” came with such a stigma that unless you were selling pieces for hundreds of thousands of dollars on Sotheby’s you had no right to identify as such. It all left me feeling a bit deflated. “You can say I’m an entrepreneur.” She didn’t like that much either. “I’ll just say you’re in media.”
With time, and maybe thanks to my mindfulness practice, I learned not to put too much emphasis on how others reacted to my self-identity. I know that I live and breathe art. Aside from my family, it motivates most of my drive in life. Even when I launched the meditation center “The Healing Salon” I wanted to create visual meditations that were artistically driven. When I get a client for MindTripz who’s looking for a piece of content, or to develop their brand, I see it as an opportunity to be creative and artistic. When I spend an afternoon with my canvas and oils, I’m indulging in my artistic pursuit. All other aspects of my career are to help support a creative life fully lived. Hi, my name is Golareh and I’m an artist.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
These days, with the COVID-19 Pandemic raging in LA, it’s hard to remember a time when we used to go out and enjoy the many wonderful sites of our amazing city. But if I were to picture a time, hopefully in the near future, when we are free from this vicious virus, and I get to show my best friend some of my favorite things to do in Los Angeles, then here’s my list:
First, I would take her to LA’s Farmers Market by The Grove and have a killer breakfast. Maybe one of the crepes from The French Crêpe Company, with a nice breve latte and an almond croissant. I would then plan a week-long art walk for us. We would start with my favorite museum in LA County, Norton Simon.
On second thought, maybe we would spend two days there-one day is not enough if you like to linger and hover over the art-which I do! I would also take us to The Getty Villa, and The Getty Museum. I would make sure we spend a whole day at The Huntington Library, Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, and would spend extra time at the Tea House, The Japanese Garden, and The Lily Pond.
I would take her to the beach and we’d skateboard on the Venice Boardwalk, and watch the sunset behind the majestic Pacific Ocean. We would hike at Runyon Canyon Park. We would have dinner at Jones Hollywood. We would catch a show (hopefully a Beethoven) at LA Phil and another show (hopefully a Puccini) at LA Opera. We would go to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. We would check out The BROAD. We would take a drive down to San Juan Capistrano, check out the landmark mission there and have delicious authentic Mexican food at one of the local restaurants. We would go to Abbott Kinney and eat at The Butcher’s Daughter. I would order the Mixed Mushroom Pizza and the Coconut Curry Bowl. We would travel back to prohibition times and check out The Varnish in downtown LA. And the list could go on, and on, and on. I Miss my city so much! I really hope life can go back to normal soon.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not have been able to achieve even a quarter of what I have so far without my family. They are my backbone. My mom Elisa, and late father Mahmood, my sisters Robyn, Shanna, and Victoria, my brothers Sam and Martin, my nephews Aryo and Arshia, and my nieces Atessa and last but most definitely not least, Jazzy, are the source of my energy and love. Through their encouragement I find the motivation to pursue my dreams and the strength to believe in myself. I am so grateful and blessed to have them in my life!
Other: Saatchi Art: https://www.saatchiart.com/golareh MindTripz Inc. https://www.mindtripz.com https://www.instagram.com/mindtripzinc/ https://twitter.com/mindtripzinc https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB4Mkq8z4vzyAmbkeJf0dbw Gogimogi https://www.gogimogi.com https://www.instagram.com/gogimogidesigns/ The Healing Salon: https://www.thehealingsalon.com https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi-pf_vutHWJmEY93LrIt7w https://www.instagram.com/thehealingsalon/