Verse Meets: Pari Ehsan
Pari Ehsan in conversation with Leyla Fakhr.
Leyla Fakhr: How did you get into the arts?
Pari Ehsan: Art is really my love language. It is what I'm always seeking to see more of and to be exposed to - in one moment - see a work and just completely flip your perception and change your mind.
Leyla Fakhr: Please tell us about yourself, what do you do?
Pari Ehsan: I'm the creative director, and founder of an online platform which merges architecture, fashion, and art called Pari Dust.
Leyla Fakhr: What is the best thing about what you do?
Pari Ehsan: I moved to New York, and I thought I was going to start my own interior design firm. But the day that I went to take a headshot for what was going to be my interior design website, I ended up matching a Helen Frankenthaler painting... I was like, double down, I'm going to experiment with this more, and I became a bit addicted to doing it. My roommate at the time said: are you okay? Are you crazy? Because I was always leaving the house with insane, weird hair. And, of course, like painting my face, it was very much a release for me, a way to step outside of myself and have an experience. So what I do is, I dress in ways that dialogue with the art, and then I style myself accordingly, my hair, makeup, and every element. And then I give myself over to the art or the installation and create this series of performative imagery.
Leyla Fakhr: What drew you to the artist you’ve chosen?
Pari Ehsan: So one of the artists that I'm following, and that I really love and admire is Jason Gringler. And he is the one whom I curated for verse's first exhibition launch. I first came across Jason's work, I think, in 2014, or 2015. Through a studio visit. This is a candleholder that Jason made for me, he made up a few of them in his studio, and he brought them into his home and I was like, oh my gosh, I want one. It's very much like a reflection of his paintings because he always has this reoccurring kind of grid or cross for me... his work is timeless.
Leyla Fakhr: What is his work about?
Pari Ehsan: He has been creating work that has to do with reflections and screens before we were thinking about it in the same way that we do now. So it seems like a natural progression for Jason to mint this video. And for it to live as an NFT.
Leyla Fakhr: What do you think about the relationship between NFTs and the artworld?
Pari Ehsan: I have a lot of hope for the future. I'm a very optimistic person. And I think that's served me pretty well. Of course, historically, the art world is very exclusive, and it's hard to enter into, which is why the NFT space is so interesting and so compelling. Because it kind of levels, the playing ground traders have a tall job to do, I think, in that empty space because it really is inundated with everyone who's trying to be a part of something that they see as powerful.
Leyla Fakhr: What do you think about the future of art, and what aspects of it excites you?
Pari Ehsan: It's hard to know where to start. One of the great powers of art is that it builds empathy by being exposed to something more abstract or conceptual. You are able to kind of see someone else's perspective that perhaps you didn't see before, like an insight, that act of discovery in someone and to cause them to go and seek that experience, I think is very powerful. And that means a lot to me
Pari Ehsan is the creative director behind Pari Dust, a digital platform for art and fashion. Pari Dust explores new ways to combine the elements of our visual world, offering windows into contemporary art, fashion, and the built environment through a unique lens. In an ever-evolving space, Pari seizes opportunities to engage in conversation with influential minds; and to collaborate with artists, brands, fairs, galleries, museums, and retailers who share her vision.
Leyla Fakhr is Head of Programming at Verse. After working at the Tate for 8 years, she worked as an independent curator and producer across various projects internationally. During her time at Tate she was part of the acquisition team and worked on a number of collection displays including John Akomfrah, ‘The Unfinished Conversation’ and ‘Migrations, Journeys into British Art’.