ComfiArt is taking you to the ComfiZone, our blog series where our Chief Executive Officer interviews extraordinary creatives about their life as a creator and beyond. Next up to the canvas is Farah Mithani, check out his story.
CA: Hello Farah, so glad that you took some time with us to talk in the ComfiZone with ComfiArt. Tell me a little about your background.
FM: I’ve been an artist since I was a kid. I used to sit on the sidewalk outside my house and draw things I observed or learned from my Encyclopedia set. Whenever we were allowed to pick our own electives at school, I picked art. I’m thankful for all the amazing art teachers I had growing up, especially Mrs. Reedy from Clements High School, in Sugar Land, TX. I can still see her face of excitement, whenever a student showed her progress of classwork. With her support, I won medals for my art, joined AP Studio art, and got accepted with a full scholarship for a summer program in Los Angeles at Otis College of Art and Design. She even pushed me to challenge myself daily. I struggled in high school due to bullies, undiagnosed mental illness, financial instability, and suicidal thoughts and actions. I spent a lot of time in the art room. Art and family support saved me.
During college, I was diagnosed with anxiety and ADD, which put a lot of things in perspective for me. My therapist suggested I use my art as a coping skill. I did so, but it was for me, not the world, not yet. I am now going on my 8th year as a Special Education: Emotional and Behavioral disabilities Middle School teacher. As a teacher, I use art to develop an “out-of-the-box” thinking mindset for STEM subjects. I only recently started sharing my artwork with the world before I moved to Atlanta, which was a bit more than a year ago. I am so glad I did because I can help spread awareness for mental health and other important causes using my art.
My art has a pretty wide range. I am always eager to develop my current skills and learn new ones. I dabble in a bit of everything, from sketching to sewing to photography and spray painting. I create art with and for my students, art for commissions, for important causes to me, for others, and to soothe my mind and body.
CA: What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
FM: I have been working since I was 15. I started off helping family businesses in Downtown Houston, TX. During undergrad, I had many jobs. I was a yearbook photographer and a tour guide for the university. Outside of school, I worked at Mad Potter, which is a pottery painting place. I also worked in retail at the Puma shoe store for a couple of years. My last job before my career was a Mad Scientist, where I got to be like Bill Nye at birthdays and after-school programs. Currently and the past 8 years, I have been a Special Ed Teacher EBD for Intermediate and Middle School in Washington D.C, Houston, TX, and nowhere in Atlanta, GA.
CA: What food, drink, song inspires you?
FM: I like to snack on things that are healthy and give me more energy, like fruits and veggies, pistachios and almonds. Water is the most hydrating for me. Music varies all the time. Currently, I am listening to a shuffle mix with 90s rock, Masta Ace, and Lupe Fiasco.
CA: Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
FM: Hurdles as an artist change daily. Some days, loneliness takes over, especially if you are an introvert like me. Some days I forget why and who? I remind myself to be confident in ME and my work. I believe in myself and things always start to look up. It can be hard though. One reason why I started the BeeYou project is to help remind myself and others. Even though it is my motto, sometimes I forget too. I have joined a MeetUp, showed my work at art shows, taking all sorts of art classes, and done many collabs with other Atlanta artists. This has really helped me speak up and speak out. I encourage others to do the same and to do what makes you happy, even if you are doing it alone.
CA: What is your dream project?
FM: I currently have two dream projects. One is to do a mural for Art Basel, the other is to be a part of New York Fashion week with my own line that is designed by me with my artwork, whether it is hand-painted or printed.
CA: Name two artists you’d like to collaborate with.
FM: One artist would be Alexa Meade. She is best known for her portraits painted directly on the human body with objects and scenes painted around the human as well. It is mesmerizing to watch her paint and her final pieces are absolutely beautiful. The other artists would be the famous street artist, Banksy. I’d love to see his creative process and have a chat with him.
CA: What’s the best advice you’ve been given as an artist?
FM: Don’t compare yourself to other artists. I think this is so important because once you start comparing, which sometimes social media can get you sucked into, you start losing yourself.
CA: What object or tool you use the most that you can’t live without?
FM: I’m always learning about different tools, but I always have an ink pen with me. I love using Uniball Signo pens.
CA: Thank you again for share your story with In the ComfiZone. You can find Farah Mithani on Instagram @artbyfarahmithani
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