By Dawan Brown – Collegiate Staff
Well before Rahi Soltani moved to Grand Rapids three years ago, he found his passion in painting.
At the age of 10, the native of Iran, started painting pictures on all sorts of canvases, before graduating from art school in Iran 25 years ago. Soltani is not competing in ArtPrize. Instead, he is using the competition to showcase and sell his art.
Soltani, now 42, has many portraits of celebrities, cartoon characters, and even himself on display.
“The cartoon faces take about 10 minutes while the portraits were more around 30 to 40 minutes,” Soltani said. “I use charcoal and pastel colors.”
A couple walked up to his pieces and were startled by his work and asked if they could be drawn in cartoon characters themselves. They appeared to be entranced as he moved his hands gracefully across the canvas, and seemed amazed at the talent held in his fingertips.
“I want people to love and appreciate art,” Soltani said. “Nowadays people shop more than they even look at artwork. People can waste all their money on things that could possibly be gone in months but art lasts forever. Art brings emotions and I want people to feel the art.”
Even after being at ArtPrize for three consecutive years, Rahi stated that the time he needed to create a massive piece that he felt comfortable enough to submit, he just did not have.
“I would love to submit a piece really soon but it’s gonna take time, a lot of time,” Soltani said.