A1one – Alone together

What do you see when you think about Tehran? Up uintill recently my mind pretty much drew a blank on that one, except news images of a green revolution I had no idea what was going on in the daily lives of people in the Iranian capital. Now I see the works of A1one. This artist has been doing street art before he even knew street art existed anywhere else in the world. As one of the pioneers in Iranian graffiti, his goal is not to make political statements, but rather focus on the social aspect of life. The sollitude of this artists make for a unique style with a great deal of influences. At the other hand, this disconnection with the rest of the world takes its toll on an artist with a free mind.

Describe a bit of your daily life for us:
I paint and hardly live

We know you live in Tehran. Were you born there? If so, how was growing up in Tehran? (If now, where did you grow up and how was that?)
Yes I was born here. Before I understood how different my world is with the worlds of people in other corners of the world, it felt so normal. But when I understood living in Iran means being apart from many parts of the world, it’s another feeling.

Did getting fired from university was the beginning of your work as a street artist?
Never said that. but yes getting fired from the art university was the beginning of my urban art activity.

We’ve read that you’ve also been inspired by murals by the likes of Diego Riviera, how did you know these works and what strikes you about them?
Yes. Diego Rivera is huge enough to be known even under the ground or on Mars. He is one of treasures of Socialist Era.

Quite a few people have left Iran, being unhappy with the political and religious climate. Did you ever think of leaving Iran and establishing somewhere else? And why? (or why not?)
Lucky them. Iran is not a good country for Progressive art. Lots of politics and lots of pressures on every person makes it not an affordable place to live and create new things. I hope these things change a bit in future.

Do you feel like you’re a part of the street art scene as a whole or cut off from it – and how does that influence your outlook?
Don’t know. I am part of a cult which from which I do not know if it exists or not.

What does it mean to you to be Persian?
Proud of having 5000 years of civilization and sorry for the ruined history and international politics which made this country the way it is and made people the way they experience life in today’s world.

After the elections in Iran of this year, do you feel like something has changed? (morality, attitude, etc)
I feel.. The changes are fucking me deeply. No horizon, no hope, depression, anger and a rain of lies. If I am alive it is because I have a crazy feeling of hope in my dreamy head.

Are you working towards a specific goal in life with your artwork?
I was , but nowadays I am more sad than having any goal ,at least right now.

Even though your ‘a1one’, are there any artist you would really like to do a collaboration with?
All artists with true passion. IF I was free to travel ……. IF , if (there is a saying in Iran about IF): “If my aunt had a cock then she’d be my uncle.”

What inspires you?
Love and hate. I simply call all my pieces as Pain-things.

What can we expect from a1one in the future?
As it goes like… I see : Being more lonely. Some diseases or ….

About Arden de Raaij

Front-end developer, Photographer and co-founder of cfye.com, originally from Amsterdam the Netherlands but currently located in Lisbon, Portugal.