The Beautiful Savage magazine “Young Underground Artists Series” continues with this exciting and gritty window into the life of our next artist, Shana Sadeghi-Ray.

Shana is a Bushwick-based multimedia artist. Some of her more eye-catching work uses tabloid images of celebrities, juxtaposing them against landscape and ambiguous backgrounds. Overall her work displays a certain feminist, comical and controversial tone. Shana’s zines are sold at: Printed Matter, Desert Island and The Good Company.

Shana Sadeghi-Ray in studio. Photo by Macey J. Foronda

Shana Sadeghi-Ray in studio. Photo by Macey J. Foronda

Beautiful Savage: When did you decide that art was the road you wanted to drive down?

Shana Sadeghi-Ray: I could say my whole life, but primarily in third grade is when I decided I wanted to stick to art. I drew a really good picture of a manatee and everyone loved it. I loved the feeling of people liking what I made. That really set me off [laughs].

Where does the inspiration for your work derive from?

Mainly my own thoughts, Pop culture, contemporary hip-hop, anything that’s blatantly obvious. Clothing, fashion, everything—doing girl things. Yeah, anything that I actually experienced—I try to bring it all into my artwork. It’s mostly all about me, and the feelings that I can’t articulate. It’s all my ideas turned into a visual, tangible object.

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What inspires you?

Kim Kardashian inspires me. I was really upset when she gave birth five weeks early because I lost her beautiful smooth baby body—so I’m just waiting for her to get pregnant again. Well the pop culture thing—I guess I’m an Internet baby because I’ve been surrounded by that sort of material. The tabloids started when I would have to go get them for my grandmother—she was obsessed with them—five tabloids at the supermarket. She would read them over and over again because she had Alzheimer’s. I never understood the appeal, and then I lived on Cape Cod with my boyfriend in a shack and we didn’t have TV or internet, no connection to the outside world so I would go buy Star and US Weekly. I became obsessed. I have to read them front to back before I can cut them up for my art. It all started as a joke and then it became my reality.

What response has your work garnered from being an underground artist?

For me, the part that makes my art underground is the anonymous aspect of my work. All my zines are free of words, with no indication of who created it. I personally do not face the response for my tabloid zine “A Source Says”, and have let people at bookstores, Printed Matter, Desert Island, The Good Company, deal with it. People don’t know who is behind the publication. I’d like to speak with those who purchase my zines, but they can’t find me and I can’t find them. I can’t keep track of who buys them. It’s not like a painting.

 Is being a young artist in today’s society challenging?

 It’s very challenging, especially here in New York because everyone else is an artist. You can’t walk through Bushwick and ask someone what they do, because you already know they’re going say, “I’m an artist”. You realize that you would also say the same thing if asked. There’s a lot of competition. The reason I still make art is to keep pushing an original idea. I do it for myself but I obviously do it knowing that I will be showing other people what I’ve created. Any reaction is helpful, good or bad.

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How important do you find it to invest time on the social part of the underground art scene?

It’s very important to me now. I mean, I’ve always been in the habit of going to galleries. Now I’m actually really interested in making time and it’s important to see what your peers are up to and know what you’re up against.

Is there any aspect of art that you don’t like?

 I hate people who are fake, and who are in it for the wrong reasons. I guess, people who are in it for fame purposes. If you don’t care about your work and you’re just doing it for notoriety, it’s really unattractive. So yeah, fake artists

What are your future goals in the art world? (Underground or beyond)
When I was in college, my junior year, I had set goals for myself with increments of five years. Five years from graduating I wanted to be at PS1, ten years after I wanted to be at The Whitney Whitney Biennial, and then fifteen years the dream was The MoMA. But I’m already three years into that plan and I’m nowhere near my goals, so I will have to extend it for five more years each.

Shana Sadeghi-Ray Photo by Macey J. Foronda

Shana Sadeghi-Ray Photo by Macey J. Foronda

In short, who are you as an artist?

I would say I’m very much a lost baby in Brooklyn, figuring it all out. I’m finally inspired again and it feels great. I can only see good things in my future. I just have to work very, very hard. To work a full-time job and come home and go make art in your studio takes a lot of effort and you have to actually care about doing it, otherwise you’ll be stuck in a rut.

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