Visual Artist Tishk Barzanji Uses Surrealist Art to Explore Isolation and Anxiety

Visual artist Tishk Barzanji lives a life between two cultures, two worlds. Coming from an Iraqi background now residing in London, Tishk uses this experiences to create surreal, dreamlike landscapes in pastel colours exploring isolation and anxiety. 

A few years ago Tishk suffered from anxiety and isolation himself, to overcome this he started creating art that blurs the lines between 3D art and painting. The results are breathtaking and Tishk credits studying physics enabled him to look at the world in greater detail whilst effortlessly creating something timeless and eternal.

We chat to Tishk about how he overcame his anxiety, how his concept was accidental and why he decided to move away from Iraq to London. 

You explore isolation and anxiety with your surrealist urban landscapes, could you tell us how these came about?

My ideas regarding isolation and anxiety formed from my own experience a couple of years ago. I was indoors for many weeks, which meant I was living inside my own mind. It was a tough time, but I learnt a lot about myself and how to control my emotions.

How did you overcome your anxiety?

Moving away from my anxiety was a long process of ups and downs. The first thing that helped me, was to write down how I felt throughout the week. My old writing is actually the basis of most of my work now. I decided to be more active in life. To set a goal each day and achieve it. For example, I pushed myself to take photos of brutalist buildings in London, however bad I felt, at the end of it I felt I made a positive step. Ultimately, living in the present and not thinking too much about things helped me overcome it.

You blur the lines between 3D art and painting, how did you come up with this concept?

My concept was very much accidental. I always wanted to change the painting or drawing I created. So I decided to edit it digitally. This opened many doors for me in terms of what I could create. It was a huge revelation for me.

You studied physics, do you think this plays into your art?

Very much so, at the time I never knew how I would use physics in the future. But now I understand. It’s helped me look at the world in greater detail. It’s shown me certain aspects of life that normally people wouldn’t look at. I still read physics books, I’m hugely inspired by philosophy too especially Baruch Spinoza, his book “Ethics” influenced me in many ways. “The human Mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the Body, but something of it remains which is eternal.” I like to show that in my work, to create something timeless and eternal.

What’s next for you?

I have an exhibition coming up at a concept store in Taiwan (Snob) in June. I’m also planning towards my first exhibition in London this summer. Working on several other projects including album art for a couple of musicians, and other collaborations which I’m pretty excited about. 

You are originally from Iraq, did your creativeness start from there or when you resided in London?

I was always curious about how the universe worked, especially with my experiences in Iraq. That’s where I really began to question things and try to understand my existence. That set the tone for my later move to London, where I started to explore my creativeness. Moving to London was like being travelling in a time machine. Now I am trying to unravel that journey, my work is an exploration of that journey and the present. I’ve lived a life between two cultures, two worlds, and this is me bringing both of these worlds together.
See more at his website: Tishkbarzanji.co.uk/