Wk 3: Meeting the Artists!

Wk 3: Meeting the Artists!



You are responsible for the information on this page

As you know, this is a Hybrid course. We use our small amount of F2F time each week to focus on Activities. Now in Week 3 we’ll be spending this Wednesday and most Wednesdays at the SOA Galleries. The main official communication with you is online. Be sure to read materials like this post, and follow requests like the ones below for Post Naming, Classmate Links, and so on.

Artist Conversations

This week we begin our Artist Conversations and as I’ve tried to make clear, I’m asking you to really up your writing game. All the details are in the syllabus:

As you know, we’re at the SOA Galleries this week. And most weeks from now on. Class is at the regular time, but we’ll meet in the gallery courtyard between FA2 & FA3. Bring your 4×6 ID Cards (yes, you can do them there)

Points on BeachBored

All points through Week 2 are now up on BeachBored. Be sure to check your points and know where you stand!

Post Naming!

Please use this format:

Wk2 – Art Experience – Plaster Casting
Wk2 – Artist Conversation – Brianna Allen
Wk2 – Classmate Conversation – Geri Weckstein

Classmate Conversations

  • Be sure to state your classmates First and last Names.
  • Be sure to include a (live!) link to their website.
  • We don’t have a Classmate Question OTW yet, why don’t you write one: glenn.zucman.com/i2va/fall16-qotw/
screen cap of Kelly Schwartz' sailing website
Kelly Schwartz, Summer ’16

Organize your website

Now that you’re gaining a little bit of familiarity with WordPress, you might go back and clean up your website. You might like to choose a different theme, or just organize your current theme. A lot of you have “Site Title” as your site title. It should be something else! 😀 Like:

  • Glenn Zucman Art110
  • Art Adventures
  • Glenn’s World
  • Sailor Kelly

Or just about anything other than “Site Title”! 😛

Theme Content

Many of you chose “Portfolio” themes that came with samples of your work on the home page. In the short, Art110 context these layouts might not be that helpful. But in the longer career context, these might be great. Whether you’re in Fashion Merchandising, Nursing, Aerospace Engineering, Business Marketing, or any other field, you can use areas on your website like these to feature some of your work. Just like writing your 1st resume, don’t worry too much about starting out with the awesomest content, just put up what you’ve done. Over time you can replace that with new and stronger work.

Also many of your themes came with “Demo Content” things like “Sample Post” that let you see how the theme will look even before you’ve posted much or any content. Now that you’ve got some content, you could go back and delete those demo posts.

Featured Images

When you’re making a post you can add images. I think you’ve all got this! 😀 You can also specify one image as your “Featured Image.” This image is the one that many themes will use on your home page. You’ll see on some of your websites that the demo posts show images on the home page and your new posts don’t. If you spedify a Featured Image that will fix this.

Points so Far

Weeks #1 & #2 are up on BeachBored now. So far we’ve had 102 points possible. Here’s how many points you should have to be on track for each grade level, and how many peeps in 1p / 2:30 are currently at each grade level:

A = 92 points – 52 / 46
B = 82 points – 9 / 6
C = 71 points – 0 / 4
D = 61 points – 1 / 0
F = 60 points – 3 / 6

As you can see we have a lot of peeps on A pace so far. Awesomesauce! If you’re one of the few who isn’t, now is the time to get rolling! Blowing a couple of weeks and then doing great work from here should work out pretty well by the end. Blowing another couple of weeks will put you in a deep points hole that’s hard to dig out of. I encourage those of you with low or no points to either decide to get started today, or to drop already if that’s what you need. Don’t just flounder collecting few or no points each week.

If anyone has any questions or needs any help, please ask me. Sooner is better! My virtual OH is Monday 9-10am at glenn.zucman.com/i2va/chat. You can also ask questions there 24/7. You can also email me: glenn.zucman@csulb.edu. And my RL OH is Wednesday 11:30-12:30 at the Umbrella Tables outside Robek’s / Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at the USU. I can also meet with you at other times by appointment.


Top 5 @1pm:

Amanda Martinez & Maritess Inieto in CSULB Classroom FA4-311 and smiling
Amanda Martinez & Maritess Inieto, 1p
  1. Maritess Anne Inieto, 153
  2. Stephanie Arciva, 145
  3. Melissa Rios, 143
  4. Carlos Villicana, 131
  5. Selena Lara, Joy Elizabeth Uba, Brian Sath, 127

Top 5 @2:30:

sitting in a black leather chair
Lydia Chang
  1. Lydia Chang, 160
  2. Jamie Van, 149
  3. Adriana Maciel, 139
  4. Samantha Gomez, 132
  5. Jessica Obrique, 131

Discussion Posts

Most of you are doing great with post naming. A few of you still need to be sure to start your comment with your name, as “Amanda Martinez” does in this example:

screen capture of a blog comment

  • Please be sure to include your name, clearly spelled!
  • Please be sure you post on the right page: 1p peeps on the 1p page / 2:30 on 2:30! 😀

Joseph DeLappe Discussion

I thought… Jospeh Delappe’s ‘dead-in-iraq’ was super interesting.

I’ve played plenty of war games and always just thought of them as games, not really reflecting about the reality of war. I remember sitting on the couch playing Call of Duty years ago and my mom would always say, “You don’t respawn in real life”, and I’d be like “Shut up mom you’re annoying” or something like that.

But I guess as you get older maybe you start to see war how it really is. Hell.

— Daniel Schmitz

Gesture Sketches

Looks like those of you who made it to the game had fun both at the game itself and also trying gesture sketching. Great job everyone! 🙂 It seems like many of you only drew a small handful of sketches. That’s great. But if any of you do want to draw better, I’d really encourage you to take an opportunity like that game to draw literally hundreds of 5 or 10 second sketches. Try to see how the body is articulated and make quick, sketches of volume in space, and spatial orientation. The more you do the faster you’ll get better. Not everyone “needs” to be able to draw, but if you’re interested, that’s how to make progress.

Brian Sath & Maritess Inieto smile at the camera as a Long Beach State vs Washington State women's volleyball match goes on behind them inside The Pyramid at Long Beach State University
Brian Sath & Maritess Inieto
a page of quick gesture sketches
Brian Sath
a page of quick gesture sketches
Maritess Anne Inieto
a page of quick gesture sketches
Jamie Van

Landscapes with a Corpse

Alex Miramontes' 3-year-old niece pretending to shoot him in the park with a water gun

I decided to base this art project on a recurring dream that I had when I was in middle school, till this day I occasionally have the same exact dream. My dream is similar to the book The Giver by Lois Lowry and the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. My dream takes place in the far future in a dystopian society and our government has implemented many laws and devices to control the population. The government’s intentions were to create policies that would allow everyone to be equal, but total equality resulted in censorship and restraint. Basically, in my dream my job was to deliver historical books to government officials, but books were prohibited to the general public because the government was afraid of people gaining knowledge. However, I would often break the law and make photocopies of the books and distribute them to the general public. The government discovered that I’ve been breaking the law and they hired ninja assassins to kill me to prevent me from starting a revolution. What was weird about the ninjas was that they were genetically manipulated so they would be small, their size would allow them to be more mobile and less visible. These ninjas killed me when I least expected it, and they framed me to make it seem like I had committed suicide.

Alex Miramontes

photo of a stop sign at night
Briana Garcia

So, crazy story, this actually happened:

One morning around 7:15am I was walking to school (which is across the street from my house) and I was hit by a car at this exact intersection. How strange right? Within the 5 minutes that it took for me to get from my house to the school, I was hit by a car. What are the chances?

That morning I woke up and thought it was going to be just like any other. And then suddenly I was hit by the unexpected, literally. We go about our days and never consider that it could be our last. But who does? No one wants to think about that. Unfortunately for me, I do. That day left an emotional scar but it also made me realize that everything can be taken from you within seconds. I have learned to enjoy every day that i am given, appreciate the people around me, not to waste time being angry and to live my life in a way that makes me happy. I almost lost my life and it was scary, but it was life changing.

This activity wasn’t dark in my opinion. I think it was actually a great opportunity for people to realize what I did without actually having to go through it. My pictures are a little more dramatic than how it actually happened but I thought I’d have some fun with it. I was worried it would give me anxiety trying to relive that event but I’m stronger now and I’ve accepted it.

Briana Garcia

Briana Garcia lying in the street, near a stop sign, at night, as though she'd been hit by a car
Briana Garcia
young person on the floor surrounded by makeup as if all the makeup had "done her in"
Maritess Anne Inieto

Beauty is pain, sometimes enough to kill you.

Maritess Anne Inieto

Selenara imagining a death by gunshot - image with blood on forehead and leaning up against a low wall
Selena Lara

I grew up in Compton, which many like to refer to as “The Hood.” There’s a statistic that says that, given the neighborhood I was born in, by the age of 16 I would be involved in a gang. It also says that by the age of 18 I would either be incarcerated or dead due to gang violence. A lot of the kids I grew up with always talked about how their biggest fear was to not make it past 18. To end up shot up dead in a corner. I wanted to project just that.

The image of me dead, shot up in a corner, is a representation of what I could’ve been but wasn’t. Watching me create this image was difficult for my parents. They told me I was crazy for even thinking of death or anything related. It was also kind of hard on me because it’s the way many of my childhood friends ended up.

Selena Lara

a woman floating, unconscious (simulated) in a pool and holding flowers
Adriana Maciel

My boyfriend of two years broke up with me about a month ago and it hurt me tremendously. He was my first true love and I couldn’t imagine my life without him because I thought he was the one. We had lived together and we had been through so much in those years we shared. The week after he broke up with me I felt like I was literally drowning with emotions and everything reminded me of him or memories we shared, etc. I had never felt a heartbreak like this and I didn’t think I would ever overcome the feelings and depression I was dealing with.

I feel like this is not a representation of what I was feeling when I was ‘drowning’ in my sorrows, but I feel like this represents how I am feeling now. I understand why it didn’t work out with Andrew and I got closure from him so I am feeling a lot better about the situation. I feel at peace. I did drown figuratively but now I am content with myself and I feel like I let that piece of me that was so attached and heartbroken drown but I kept myself as a person afloat.

Adriana Maciel

simulating a celebrity overdose in a bathtub filled with dingy colored water
Emily Tomasello

Aside from the fact that I find over-glamorized celebrity overdoses interesting, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have any sort of personal connection with drug-related topics. I have not met anybody or had anybody in my life who had a drug problem to the point where they overdosed, so I guess I’m pretty fortunate in that aspect. I honestly could not imagine how that must feel for people who have had to go through that with a loved one. However, this was definitely an interesting experience getting to step out of my comfort zone in order to get this story across. I think art is one of the best ways to tell controversial stories like this one and portray a certain message. Hopefully, I did that here.

Emily Tomasello

simulated "death by heartbreak" - a body on the ground surrounded by rose petals
Jamie Van

When I imagine my departure, I consider heartbreak a possibility because I don’t think anything else hurts more–or kills more–than a broken heart. On creating this scene, I thought about incorporating a sense of Gothic style and romance. I can easily say that I am a hopeless romantic so I thought that creating a scene with a big mess would be fun to do because love is messy. Sometimes, we push away the ones we love. We come to become afraid of being vulnerable with another person and for someone to see the deep and dark parts of our soul because we are afraid of loving someone too strongly and then becoming disappointed. In romance, falling in love is a thrilling ride but falling out of love is the most heartbreaking and blue. Love is not always joyful but the meaningful moments and lessons we learn from being moved are something that I believe deserve a spotlight of their own.

When I thought of a tragic love scene, the first thing that popped into my mind was dead roses. With that in mind, I headed over to the nearest florist and asked for a dozen dead roses because why not? I’m sure the florist was surprised about my request but, in the end, I got the flowers that I wanted and then headed home to start working on the project. I ripped up a bunch of these roses and just scattered them all over the set. Just as love isn’t neat, I did not want a neat set. I also laid a fallen chair out on the floor because love has a way of knocking you down just as the chair had been knocked down. I paired the whole scene with a dark outfit to illustrate the dark demise of a broken heart when one may fall out of love, which is how I could imagine my departure and tragic end.

Jamie Van

simulated death scene with a body in a bathtub of red water
Lizzy Stiller

I have never had so much fun doing an art project. Personally, I’ve always been interested in dark subjects such as death and what not. So when I found out about this project, I knew I had to go big. I had a pint of extra fake blood from last Halloween and decided the bathtub was going to be the best clean up but also a very visual way of dying. I filled the bathtub and then mixed the fake blood in to become very deep red. Then I splattered it all over the bathroom walls which ended up being a perfect contrast on the white tiles. I entered the bathtub and poured more blood on my arms and chest to be even more gory. On the floor next to me I actually placed a little note to allude to a possible suicide.

Personally in my head I see my death as I was murdered but the culprit set it up as a suicide. Doing this project really made me open my mind to the possible ideas and appreciate the color contrast. I loved the look on the blood splatter on my tiles. The colors of the innocent white and the death red really spoke to me. It made me understand and appreciate just how powerful and meaningful colors are. I am actually quite terrified of death but this project made me think of an artistic interpretation of it. It is not something to be afraid of, but something to eventually embrace.

Lizzy Stiller

Laura Lockett lying in the driveway with radiant chalk lines emerging from all around her and her cat sort of inquiring "what's going on?"
Laura Lockett

With my mother’s help, I laid down in the driveway with the sun shining down hard on me and and traced an outline of my body so we could make more lines around me. Although I ended up a chalky mess, we had tons of fun bonding over this experience. Playing dead is a lot harder than you think when the sun is so bright and blinding. Even the cat wanted to make sure I was still alive and breathing as you can see in the picture above. The chalk outline is still on the driveway, so there might be a few more pictures uploaded as the rest of my family comes home and becomes a chalky mess.

Laura Lockett

black-and-white photo of Melissa Rios lying in bed and surrounded by Christmas lights
Melissa Rios

A lot of things ran through my head when my brother was taking the pictures. My throughts were mainly focused on what it would be like to pass away in your sleep. It has its pros and its cons. For starters, a person would have a peaceful death. One wouldn’t have to suffer through their death, which a lot of people now-a-days experience. A con to this experience would be that you wouldn’t get to say goodbye to your loved ones.

Melissa Rios

lying on train tracks
Esmeray Lopez

This project really hit me inside. It made me think about appreciating ourselves more. It’s hard to look at a picture of yourself in a position like this where it could bring so much pain to the people you love.

Esmeray Lopez

Art Talk OTW

  1. 3 Million Years of Art History
  2. Joseph DeLappe
  3. Mahsa Soroudi
  4. The Mind in the Cave

Nice discussion on Joseph DeLappe last week everyone. I want to get back to our “Art History Timeline,” and we will do that next week with The Mind in the Cave, about Cave Art from 10 to 40-thousand years ago. But this week I’d like to talk about one more living artist first. It’s only about 540 miles from us at CSULB to Joseph DeLappe at UNR. This week’s artist is both closer and further. Today she lives and works just down the road from us in Newport Beach, CA. But she was born and raised 7,500 miles from here in Tehran, Iran. This week’s Art Talk: Mahsa Soroudi:

Mahsa Soroudi.com

Nature’s Cadence:

7,500 Miles:


  1. Stephanie Arciva
    Mahsa Soroudi is a very inspiring individual. I found her background interesting because a lot of the time I forget about the world going on around me. I forget about the different lives going on, especially in a place so distant. I find it hard to understand the lives of people so far away, but what Mahsa Soroudi does is portray the life she had in Tehran, Iran. I found myself compelled by her experience, most drawn to her work. I want to highlight that I LOVED Mahsa’s collection, Nature’s Cadence. I love art that reminds you of how beautiful places of Earth are and it reminds me of its beauty. I felt most connected to this work because I tried to have succulents over summer. I have no experience with maintaining a plant, so although these plants are “resilient”, I ended up letting them die. I felt that Mahsa spoke for me when I felt like I had paid the plants no attention they needed and the energy they needed. I feel like she draws such an important lesson from this that I never even thought about. These plants are beautiful when they bloom but they face the most awful conditions. She finds her strength in these plants when it got difficult for her, and when she was put in awful conditions, being so far away from her home, she held on and overcame the situation to bloom into such an inspirational artist for women, for people who miss their home, to people around the world. I find her story so moving that it inspired me and I also found a piece of Mahsa in my last succulent that survived.

    1. Hey Stephanie!
      I’ve been meaning to have a succulent collection as well, but never went through with it because I’ve never had a green thumb. Your story about your summer succulents is reminding me that it wont be easy! Mahsa’s words about giving plants some special attention is definitely something to keep in mind. I also agree with what you said about how difficult it is most of time to understand how it’s like for other people around the world. The world is huge and we occupy such a tiny area of it that it’s certainly easy to feel disconnected from everyone else. It’s moving to see how simple succulents can make such a big impact on a person that it helps them through a difficult situation — especially the struggle to adapt to a completely new home. Like you, it’s inspiring for me as well to see that sometimes a tough experience can be overcome just by looking around.

      1. Abigail Manuel

        Like both you and Stephanie, I’ve tried starting a plant collection, and it is not easy. Withy my busy schedule, it’s tough trying to remember to water and take care of plants. Though I’ve never been too successful when it comes to taking care of and growing plants, I love the fact that her art focuses on the raw beauty that nature has to offer. I agree with what you said about the world being so small. I moved from a small town in Northern California to a large city like Long Beach and it’s definitely already opened my eyes to the fact that there is so much more to the world than our little comfortable corners of the world. I never really paid much thought to the possibility that a plant like a succulent could convey such a message as personal adaptation to new places and experiences.

    2. Araceli Lozano

      Hey Stephanie,
      I also loved that Mahsa’s art work that shows how beautiful the natural world is. Sometimes we forget to stop by and smell the roses because we are always in constant movement. But she shows that beauty is found everywhere. Your story about the succulents over the summer that died reminded me of this yellow calla lily that I had bought. I did not nurture it or give the flower the attention that it deserved. I put it outside for it o get some sunlight, but forgot to bring it back inside for several days and with the summer heat it slowly died.
      Also i agree with what you said about forgetting what goes on in the world. Most of the time we just hear about world events in the news, the problem with that is that the news is very bias and you only hear one side of it. I loved that Mahsa, though she does not deny that the issues we are exposed to as westerns about people in Iran, She also lets us know that there is so much more than that. She gave us a honest and neutral view of how life is in Iran.
      I hope to see her exhibitions soon. 🙂

    3. Andrew Nguyen

      Andrew Nguyen

      Hello Stephanie,
      I find it inspiring that Mahsa Soroudi was able to find therapy through gardening. I definitely agree that sometimes we get so caught up in our lives we forget to take a moment to appreciate all the things around us. Soroudi’s collection of succulents are beautiful and it was significant to me because she made many connections with herself to the plants. Succulents are symbolic to her life because they are neglected and often times forgotten but they have to persevere through hard conditions in order to bloom into something beautiful. Although she doesn’t speak perfect english her messages and comments really stood out to me. I was able to relate to so many of her struggles as an individual. Thank you for sharing your insight Stephanie.

    4. Brian Sath; Wednesday, 1:00PM

      Hello Stephanie! I definitely agree that Mahsa Soroudi is a very inspiring individual. Her background as well as the reasoning behind her project 7500 miles is very inspirational. I believe that it takes a lot for someone to stand up for others. Along with that I agree that there are lots of moments where I find myself disconnected from the world around me. I forget that I am fortunate to live in America and that it is a privilege. I do agree that it is hard for us to understand the lives of people who live so far from us, however, Mahsa kind of creates a bridge for us to understand through her 7500 miles project. Stephanie, I totally agree with falling in LOVE with Mahsa’s collection, Nature’s Cadence. The artwork that had been presented in it was so aesthetically pleasing for me. I can’t agree that I was connected to her based off of taking care of her succulents, however, I believe that it is a beautiful project. I always thought that growing succulents wasn’t my thing, however, many of my friends got involved with it. Her story and her perspective on life with the succulents is so inspiring. It is so inspiring that I just want to keep a few at my window so that I can wake up and feel motivated to go about my day. It is such a beautiful symbol to wake up to and I truly appreciate the opportunity to have come across Mahsa Soroudi.

  2. Tina Nguyen
    I thought the succulents were really beautiful. I,myself, am a huge fan of succulents. I have fake succulents in my room by my window (because I don’t have much of a green thumb and the fake ones last forever). Mahsa Soroudi really inspired me to try to grow succulents myself or maybe start with caring for real succulents instead of buying fake ones. Maybe I’ll even grow a small garden one day. I love how Soroudi found inspiration through plants and that they helped her get out of her homesickness after moving from Iran to California. I love the beauty that plants bring however Soroudi gave me a newfound view of plants and nature. I never really thought about how plants and their roots are so strong and that they can help someone get through a rough period of time. After watching the video, it just occurred to me that growing plants could be considered as art because from week 1’s definition of art “art is something that as human influence” and growing plants definitely has human influence for we need to care for the plants by watering them and giving them enough sunlight. I also went on Shroud’s website and found her photos to be so aesthetically pleasing because of their soft filters making the photos seem so peaceful. Not only has Soroudi inspired me to try and care for plants one day, but she has also inspired me to take more photos of my surroundings to appreciate the things around me some more.

    1. Hi Tina, I agree with how plants can help someone get through tough times. I’ve never really seen plants that way until I saw her project – Nature’s Cadence. It’s really fascinating how Masha took plants and turned it into something special; some people could find meaning from it and they could relate their experiences and compare it with the plants. Just like me, I could relate to Masha about how plants taught how to stay strong when moving to a new place.

      Joy Uba

      1. Hey Tina,
        I couldn’t agree more about how growing plants could be considered art. We have thing botanical gardens like the Fullerton Arboretum that aesthetically pleases our eyes. Not a lot of people would consider a garden a type of art but it is. When you walk into a garden you can see people’s handwork when you see flowers in positioned in a certain way. It was not random but coordinated so it shows the gardener’s skill and effort into their piece.

        -Tommy Duong

    2. Lukas Fuentes
      Hi Tina! I think its great that Mahsa was so inspiring for you, and I agree that she is! I also didn’t realize that it is possible to be inspired by nature and plants but it is a really cool and exciting thought. I don’t think I have the patience to actually grow my own plants but I hope you do! I will try, as you mentioned, to appreciate my surroundings more and maybe even search for some inspiration in places you wouldn’t normally expect to find it. I do have one thing I want to say about your last comment. I think it is a great idea to take photos and appreciate life/nature/surroundings/etc. but at the same time I think it is important to take a step back from technology (cameras, phones, social media and so on) and really just appreciate the beauty of something with your own eyes. Of course you can take a photo and all that too but there is something about seeing something with your own eyes that not even the best camera can capture. It seems that a lot of people now days are obsessed with their phones and cameras and social media that they take a picture or a video of something awesome (whether it be a waterfall or a bridge or a tree) and then never actually take a moment to appreciate the thing with their own eyes. Okay, sorry for that bit of a rant haha. Have a good weekend!

    3. Amy Song

      Amy Song
      Hi Tina! I also feel inspired by Mahsa to grow some succulents of my own! I thought it was really cool how she was able to grow plants from cuttings she got from her friends’ homes. I once tried to grow an aloe plant I got from Home Depot and I neglected it for so long it died. I never got another plant after that because I felt terrible about the aloe but after seeing Mahsa’s beautiful plants I want to try to grow some again! I also loved her photos from Nature’s Cadence and it also inspired me to pick up my camera after not touching it for so many years.

    4. Selena Lara
      Hello Tina!
      I agree Mahsa is all around inspiration not only to grow succulents but also to grow as individuals! I feel that the story behind her succulents was so beautiful it too made me want to grow some of my own. Mahsa found the beauty in something I personally have always taken for granted, plants. Seeing how the plants where a reflection of herself was really inspiring because it just makes someone want to fight harder in life. Not only to fight harder but to surround your self with beauty and positivity. Perhaps we can get together and grow some succulents together !

    5. Hi Tina!
      I agree that these succulents are beautiful with the message they bring out. I was interested with how Mahsa connected these plants lives with her own personal experiences and struggles. I love how she explained various times that it was almost a coincidence that when she saw that the succulents begin to wither it was during a time she had found herself dealing with difficult experiences, and when she saw the succulents fighting for life and survival it helped her to become motivated to becoming stronger as an individual.

    6. Andy Bui
      Hey Tina,

      I also have a changed perspective regarding plants now. When plants are not taken care of, they will struggle to live. Similarly, like a human, when you don’t put in the effort, you’ll have a hard time thriving and having a more positive life. With a little love (and water), and time, you provide the essential ingredients that allow the plants to take root and blossom. In life, if you also put in effort and time into almost anything, it can help you strive through period of struggle even if it won’t be easy. It takes a dedicated and willing person to keep plants alive and healthy as it does to keep your life traveling smoothly over the obstacles in the road.

    7. Hi Tina!
      I like succulents too! I think they are the cutest and most beautiful things. I have always thought succulents were pretty, but after seeing Mahsa Sorodui’s “Nature’s Cadence,” I see it as a new type of beautiful. I think they are beautiful now for how cute they are but also for what they represent/say—they are so strong along with being pretty. Society has taught be that beauty was always something that was fragile and easily ruined but succulents have shown me that both can be achieved.

  3. Hannah Adams commenting,
    I suppose I’m with Tina and Stephanie in terms of enjoyment of the succulent part of this interview. I have always been fascinated by these hardy, yet fragile organisms. Succulents survive in some the most hostile environments. They have developed numerous defenses against desiccation; thorns, thick and waxy cuticles, small leaves, and others. These were adaptations that took many thousands of years. I believe they make a good metaphor for Mahsa’s experience moving to and adapting to the United States. She had to be tough to survive away from her home. Able to adapt to the challenges of a desert of a different kind; a desert of familiarity. I really love Mahsa’s choice of medium for this project, if live plants are considered so. I have not seen them used this way before. Working with living organisms imparts unique characteristics. For instance, there is always the possibility that plants won’t grow the way one desires, or that they will discolor, or even die. But this uncertainty is part of the meaning of the piece. One never knows how they will change and thrive in a new world. I have never been faced with the challenge of being an emigre, and so I am therefore interested in it’s effects on artists and what they choose to create. I wonder how Mahsa’s art may have been different had she stayed in her native Tehran?

    1. Hi Hannah!
      Like you, I was also really fascinated by succulents especially after watching Mahsa’s interview. I never really gave plants that much thought but after watching the interview, it made me realize how amazing plants are. I also rarely ever see anyone use plants as a media for art, but I hope more artists will see the beauty that they bring and do what Mahsa is doing. To answer your question at the end about how Mahsa’s art may have been different if she had stayed in Tehran, I would think that she would have never found the inspiration that she did in the plats. Mahsa found that plants were resilient because she was feeling homesick during her first few days in California. If Mahsa had not moved to California, she probably would not have felt homesick and needed to turn to plants for inspiration. However, Mahsa could have also faced adversity while in Tehran and needed a getaway which she could have found through plants.

      -Tina Nguyen

      1. Kayla Tafoya-Sablan

        Hey, Hannah. I agree with you on the part where you mentioned how the succulents are a good metaphor for Mahsa’s situation after she took the big leap of moving out here to Southern California–completely difference from countries like Iran and Malaysia, too. So I don’t blame her for how she felt, but I do admire how she took the initiative of caring for her succulents in the emotional state she was in. Although she states that she never felt the oppression others claim to have faced while living in Iran, I’m sure she feels extremely fortunate because of that—and I would be too! I also admire her efforts to expose other contemporary Iranian artists as I can only imagine how difficult it is to receive this kind of exposure or any at all as an female immigrant in a patriarchal society.

    2. Roxana Chavez

      Hi Hannah,
      I am totally agree with you in ” one will ever know how they will change or thrive in the new world” because it is the unknown for a person who is moving or having a big change in there lives. Some people will have this idea and Image in their head of how it will be but when the time actually comes for that person to actually live that change in a new world they can find themselves missing home. Similarly to Masha she felt a little homesick but found her inspiration and her project through her succulents. I am also curios about how her art would be different if she would of stayed in Tehran. Would it have also been succulents? Or would it have been maybe her culture?

  4. Mahsa Soroudi’s “Nature’s Cadence” project struck some familiarity. I love how she was able to see and find herself in the succulents that she takes care of, and in turn, found a way to portray that through art. As a U.S. immigrant like Mahsa, I understood what she was trying to communicate. Moving to a new country is definitely an adventure, but homesickness is inevitable. Yet, eventually, you will find a way to overcome it. Mahsa was able to cope with the new environment through the environment itself. She found inspiration and strength through plants, and inspires me to get some succulents as well! However, I was younger when I moved here so it wasn’t as difficult as it would’ve been for her. But the struggle of adapting in California was definitely there, especially during my first time in an American school back in 5th grade. After almost 10 years being in the U.S., learning about Mahsa Soroudi’s story was able to still take me back to when I was 10 years old and struggling with the huge change of setting.
    Soroudi’s passion for art is definitely seen through the “7,500 Miles” project. I took some time to look at the artists’ works from the website and they were unbelievable! Some that I saw and enjoyed are Homa Arkani’s, Ghazaleh Baniahmad’s and Elahe Farjad’s pieces. Baniahmad’s pieces about her move to Canada and her mom’s stroke were unbelievable. Farjad’s “Seated People” series reminds me of what I should do from time to time — just stop, sit down and gather my thoughts. My life lately has been very non-stop, which sometimes can mentally take a toll on me. Farjad’s paintings of figures just sitting down tells the audience that sometimes we just need to take a break in order to “concentrate on our feelings, or to discover, understand and let things go” — at least for the sake of our mental health.

    1. Patricia,

      I agree that the “Nature’s Cadence” project was a wonderful portrayal of homesickness and the process of starting over again. Mahsa references a period of “not growing for a while”, and that can feel very familiar to anyone who has experienced a rut or period of stagnation. Like homesickness, not growing or developing as an individual can cause serious confusion and even depression due to feeling as if there is nothing familiar around you. Mahsa is referencing the low point of change, when everything familiar feels lost, except the hope of growing into something new. This is shown in her succulent passage. The severed branch must first find a new source of soil, then heal from its wounds, before growing new leaves and changing into its own distinct plant. The best part of “Nature’s Cadence” is its acknowledgment of the effort given by the changing individual. I love her line which states, “knowing all along a great deal of effort is being made by the plant beneath the surface”. The tremendous amount of effort that goes into adjusting to a new country, dealing with homesickness, or getting out of a rut should not be overlooked. Your story of moving to California in 5th grade probably has great emotional depth for you, and that’s because it took lots of strength to do so. “Nature’s Cadence” reminds us not to take for granted the achievement of overcoming our personal struggles.

      1. Hey Evan,

        I really like your description and relation to how Mahsa’s stagnation can be mirrored with the growth of her plants. I feel like Mahsa resorted to plants because it was the only thing she could find familiarity with during her time of confusion and not knowing the culture she had placed herself into. She wanted to bring art into the world but could not find anyone or anything to base her feelings off of until she found succulents. I feel like this is such a unique way of creating art because it is art created from her period of hardship and unfamiliarity. There are so many artists who create based off of their periods of sadness and confusion, and this is just another great example of how everyone’s story can be manifested into something new and beautiful. I really loved when she stated that these plants are so small but you see them growing and fighting for life, and it really placed a great image into my head seeing how inspired she was by this and it motivated her to bring something out that she never believed she could do.

  5. Lukas Fuentes
    I find Mahsa Soroudi’s work very noble. I think it is great that she is trying to expose people in Southern California to the cultures, ideas, beliefs, and world of people in Iran. As someone who was born and raised in Southern California, I never got a lot of expose from cultures like those found in Iran, and I think I would benefit a lot from a first-hand experience with Mahsa’s 7,500 Miles project. I would love to learn more about the cultures and ideas she is talking about and it would be really interesting to get this exposure through art. I also think many other people would benefit from such an exposure. I sincerely hope that Mahsa is able to realize the goal of her project. I also found her Nature’s Cadence project very symbolic and inspiring. Everybody has their ups and downs, its a natural part of life. This is even reflected in the succulents. Although, they are a very resilient kind of plant, they began to wither, but once she started taking more care of the succulents they started to blossom. I thought it was great that Mahsa could learn something from mother nature. She was able to take the energy and vigor of these plants and empower herself to do something she cared about and try to make a difference. Sometimes all we need to do to get out of a rut is take care of ourselves. Its not always easy knowing exactly how to do just that, but if you listen to yourself, and maybe get some hints from good old mother nature, you can figure it out.

    1. Hannah Adams
      Lukas, I too enjoyed Mahsa’s project, 7,500 miles. I have never really left home other than for the occasional vacation, and I have never left the Western half of the United States. It is hard to gain a full understanding of other cultures and other ways of life living in essentially one place. It is difficult to find time and funds for travel, which is why art is so indispensable. It allows a viewer to be immersed in another world while staying in the same physical location. This project brings a particularly important viewpoint. Most people will watch or read from a news site. So most people are constantly updated on the state of the conflicts in the Middle East. But this is an unrealistic interpretation of the area. Even Mahsa was sure to make clear that war didn’t affect her very terribly, and that her home was a wonderful place. She left only by choice. That is why I think her project is so necessary. It shows the world Iran from the perspective of those that live there, and have grown up knowing the intimate details of their homeland only a native could be familiar with. The fascinating thing is that much of the art is similar to what I would expect from a Western artist, with the exception being, perhaps, Homa Arkani. This, I suppose, is part of Mahsa’s goal. To show that Iranian art fits no stereotypes, and that each artist is unique. It is especially important to read the artist’s background history, to know why they chose their subjects and what they hope to accomplish. I too believe all could benefit from exposure to the art of those living in other cultures and this project is an excellent way to do this.

  6. Roxana Chavez

    Roxana Chavez

    Hearing Mahsa Soroudi describe her life and how she has connected her projects to her life experiences together is beautiful. I am astonished at how one can receive such a amazing inspiration from nature and the simplicity that is around us everyday. It is easy to envision how to will be like to move to another country. You create all these plans and just think how perfect it will be. As Mashsa’s envision of when she came to the United States she was going to do volunteering, and other plans she had set for herself but after a couple months she found her self a little homesick and out of place. I can relate to her experience because I felt the same way when I came to college. Although it wasn’t like a huge transition like moving from another country, it was a huge transition for me coming from a really small high school to a really big college campus I felt out of place the same way Masha felt. However I found my place that same way Masha found hers. As Masha began to feel distant from this new country she grew closer to her succulents that where drying out. She began to nourish them and she began see that even though they were drying out they still mange to be strong and continue on. So Masha viewed that as a way that just because she is far away from home and feels out of place in this new country she has to continue moving forward. That is also what I did too, because I felt out of place I began to get more involved with my new college campus. I began to attend tutoring more frequently, familiarize my self with the campus, socialize with new people and also became a Soar Advisor. Now I can say that as I come to school I feel more at home. I don’t feel out of place I feel like I belong. Everyone has moments of not feeling as they belong but just like Masha found her unique inspiration from her succulents and perseverance anyone can do so also.

    1. Hey Roxana! I also felt the same and will not look at simple things so simply anymore thats for sure. That is great that you feel at home here at CSULB now and I’m sure that we have all felt the way you have at some point in our lives. It is difficult to find ourselves sometimes, but we need those difficult times to guide us through life. The succulents are a wonderful metaphor for overcoming life struggles and hardships. I also love where Mahsa draws her inspiration from and think that it is awesome that we, as the audience, are able to relate it to our own lives- I feel that that is truly where the art is.

    2. Hello Roxana! I too felt out of place when I first arrived at CSULB mostly because I was stereotyped right from the beginning. Life transitions are hard. I came into CSULB excited about all the diversity but never really realized that I was going to be defined by the place I came I from. Unfortunately, I was and that made my transition even harder. I came from a high school where I was loved by a lot of my teachers into a school where I was seen a statistic. But the longer time I spent at CSULB my views where changed by a lot of professors who told me that I could get as far in life as I wanted to. My mind and my thoughts grew,as an individual I became more opened minded because of it. I felt that I only experienced the neglect because I allowed myself to accept what everyone else thought rather than challenge their opinions.Now that my knowledge has grown I find myself capable of challenging the opinions of others because I know they are no longer fact.

  7. Samuel De La Cruz

    I found Mahsa’s story to be inspiring if you ever decide to embark in a new journey. Mahsa was able to come from Iran on a moments notice after getting married to start a new life in California without even thinking twice about it. It was very brave of her to take this chance and come out here to California. I found it great that Mahsa comes from a family of artists as her father had a painting academy in Tehran. Mahsa also mentioned that Tehran is Iran’s art capital and that the city is a metropolis that is culturally diverse. The art project “Natures Cadence”, Mahsa began with the succulent plants can be very symbolical to survival in new environments. The succulent plant leafs she took and set in new soil can show you that survival in new environments can be attainable if the fight for survival is strong. Mahsa used the plants as an example for herself when she started feeling home sick to give her the confidence and strength to surpass her homesick feeling. This is a great way to spread the message that anyone can overcome struggles as long as you have a positive outlook and are willing to fight for it. Mahsa’s other project of 7500 miles is also a great way for her to spread her message that Iranian women artists reflect the same interests and concerns of western artists. Mahsa mentions that people have a perception that Iranian women are submissive but in fact 60% of Iranian women go to Universities. Mahsa’s story of overcoming the changes she encountered is a great message that she gives everyone to be open minded and accepting of any new challenges. Not only did Mahsa overcome these challenges, it made her a stronger and happier person being able to beat these challenges.

  8. Amy Song

    Amy Song

    As an immigrant, I think I can relate to her feeling of homesickness and loneliness even though I moved here ten years ago. I liked how she was able to lift herself up by taking care of her plants. I also liked how Professor Zucman mentioned how her succulent cuttings are a representation of her and other immigrants. The cutting represent immigrants’ country where they came from and they are taking root in a new place and thriving. I really respect her effort in using 7500 Miles to change stereotypes of Iranian culture and Iranian women. I liked the part where she says that many Iranian women go through the same struggles as American women. I think often times, we focus on people’s differences rather than looking at similarities. I like how her project is showing how we can relate to Iranian women. When she was describing Tehran, she said that it is a metropolitan city that is kind of like Los Angeles in diversity, it made me think that all I know about Tehran and her country was what I’ve seen in the media and the media does not portray an accurate picture of what Iran is like. All in all I really respect Mahsa’s strength and her efforts in changing stereotypes about her country and culture.

    1. Maritess Inieto
      Hello Amy! I too talked about the feeling of homesickness and how I was able to relate to her. Although I am not an immigrant, I moved out of the Bay Area and into Socal and there are very different cultures, people, and etc. that make me feel so homesick. But slowly, I learned to make Long Beach my home away from home. I agree with Professor Zucman’s correlation between the succulents and being an immigrant. Something beautiful emerging from something so small is such an inspiring idea. Her succulent garden itself was so gorgeous, and the metaphorical meanings behind the succulents was grand. Indeed, as people of one culture or one aspect of the world, we tend to focus on our many differences, when in reality, there are far more commonalities that we also share. Mahsa is a very strong, beautiful, and inspiring individual for moving out of Tehran, into a new place and really making something out of herself. Her new journey really made her blossom as a person and I am excited for all her current and future projects.

    2. Ali Garawi

      Hello Amy, I definitively agree with you, on how you mentioned that many Iranian women actually go through the same struggles as American women. Ive never been away from home so i have never felt home sick in my life but i can definitely imagine what it would feel like, especially in Iran, because I have family in iran, and I see how happy and together there lives are, and if one of the children or sisters were to separate from their family’s that they have lived with there whole life it would be really hard. the amount of rich culture and art, and food there is in Iran is almost unmatchable, so I can really see why she would miss Iran so much. Ive never been to another country, but I could imagine i would feel extremely home sick.

    3. Hi Amy,
      The way Mahsa Soroudi lived with many troubles is difficult and can relate to any immigrant in the US, Being an immigrant makes life harder than what it already is but even though she did not have much she used her own environment to make her self feel as she belongs. I agree your thoughts and I really like how she used a plant to make herself feel at home. This shows a way to help people that feel the same way over come that challenge regardless if you are an immigrant or not.

  9. Maritess Inieto

    When Mahsa said that her family was moderately Muslim family, where they were not practicing so much, but not really disconnected and that she was born Muslim, I understood where she was coming from. I was born into Catholicism and come from a moderately Catholic family. We went to church every Sunday and I went to church school, but growing up now, I would say that I do not practice it so much, but I am not completely disconnected. When Mahsa was describing her home, Tehran, it highly intrigued me because to experience something different on each street, I feel like, makes you a more open minded person. The exposure to different lifestyles and such is always a great experience. I feel like there are many places similar to Tehran in the sense that there are many different vibes to one area. It’s so brave and independent of Mahsa and her new husband to move out of Tehran a week after getting married. Leaving home isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Hearing how Mahsa grew up was quite a culture shock. I also didn’t know that succulents are able to grow from each individual leaf. Her little succulent garden was so beautiful! It reminded me how life and death are correlated since the original leaf dies as the new plant grows. Mahsa talking about her homesick experience reminded me of my own because I moved away from home to go to school here at CSULB. I only moved about 400 miles away, which isn’t as far as 7,500 miles away, but I completely understood what she meant. Relating herself to the succulents and talking about how the succulents gave her motivation was such a sweet metaphor of what she was going through.

    1. Monique Alcala

      Hi Maritess

      Your post stood out to me because of how much I can relate to it. The first reason being I was also raised in a family that practiced Catholicism, and after growing up I realized that my family as a whole became disconnected to the religion. We did not lose the faith but the constant need to attend church and pray as often was lost. Also, I am originally from Northern California and I feel that there’s a huge difference here in California, between Northern and Southern. The vibes and the cultures are completely different but someone from another country or even state would probably assume that all Californian’s are tan, love to surf, and interact with celebrities all the time. I moved from Northern California after my parents split, so I had to leave one parent and my childhood home behind. This has made me stronger and re-rooting myself in Southern California has allowed me to grow as a person. I also found what she said as motivational and insightful about succulents!

    2. John Savage

      Hi Maritess

      Your post also stood out to me because I too was raised in a Catholic family and went to church for school, but now I hardly practice it at all. I also think that my family and I have become a bit disconnected with our religion. And I agree with you that when you experience something different o each street you become a more open minded person. When you have all these experiences you can make good decisions and understand another person better.

  10. Monique Alcala

    Mahsa Soroudi is an incredible artist who truly is able to capture the beauty in everything she photographs. After exploring her website and her both projects, the one I truly enjoyed looking at is her exhibition, Nature’s Cadence. About a year ago, I became interested in succulents and began looking into the requirements needed to grow and care for them. I bought my first succulent after my boyfriend of four years and I had broken up. I bought it solely for the aesthetics, but I never realized how the plant would help me re-root myself and grow from such heartbreak. I can relate to Mahsa’s relationship to her plants because after caring and observing the plant I also realized that I wanted to grow and be as beautiful as it. I never thought another person could feel the way I did about a plant, and I think it’s extremely beautiful how such a tiny plant could inspire an artist such as Mahsa to capture these beautiful photographs.

    1. Hello Monique, I know how you feel, sometimes the only person you can truly depend on is yourself, just like this plant we have to survive with any type of condition we are given. I like how you said “it’s extremely beautiful how such a tiny plant could inspire an artist such as Mahsa” because sometime there can be so much meaning in something so simple that people will never see. I was really intrigued how she compared her life to a plant. Now hearing about it, it makes you think about what people go through and people may never know because you keep your problems to yourself.

  11. Samuel De La Cruz

    Hi Amy Song, it is wonderful that you can relate to Mahsa as you were an immigrant ten years ago as well. I also completely agree that we all focus on the different cultures differences and not the similarities that each culture may have. If everyone would be more open minded and accepting of the differences in other cultures, we can all see that we are all very similar in our different ways. Many immigrants come to this country to make a better life for themselves and we can all agree that it does not matter where you come from; we all have the same ambitions as to making a better life for ourselves and our kids. It is a cycle that has made this country great because it attracts all peoples from all corners of this world. Another thing I can agree with you about the media just giving us the news they want us to know. Tehran is portrayed as a bad place when we don’t know how it really is there. Mahsa explains that Tehran is culturally diverse and it is a great metropolis and is known as Iran’s art capital.

    1. Jonathan Girgis commenting-

      I thought I had an idea of what Tehran looked like, but after the video I actually looked it up and it looks way more modern and organized than I believed. I think it’s true that immigrants are like these plants; they want to grow ‘roots’ and find a place in this strange and foreign land. I think the U.S. is unique in that it allows people from all sorts of backgrounds and nationalities to do so. It really makes it feel like some kind of heaven with all the diversity. I also think that people can forget that just like us, the vast majority of people around the world, in general, want the same things we do: a job, a family, happiness, etc. They don’t want to go around and cause trouble, but the media is unbelievably good at portraying certain groups in an exaggerated and negative way. Whether it’s African Americans, Muslims, or whoever, it’s usually important to do some research and remember that often news is biased or just plain wrong.

  12. Mahsa Soroudi is a woman that I would love to meet. Her life so far is so interesting and what she has been able to accomplish since leaving Iran is amazing. I viewed her website and enjoyed looking through all of the different artists under her 7,500 miles exhibition. Mostly, enjoyed how they are all women showing us their work, that what Mahsa pointed out in the video, is not typical of art we would expect from artists of that culture. It is a realization that artists have a lot of say, other than what is expected of them. It is great that Mahsa is helping women from her country with that cause and opening up the world, their real life, day-to-day issues and topics that are important to them. She really made me see global/cultural issues and topics in a new light, and I am thankful for that. It is very important to have women who support other women in achieving their dreams and goals- especially in a new country as the United Stated that has so much to offer. With Nature’s Cadence, I found it lovely the connection that she felt with her succulents and plants. Succulents are awesome- I have a lot, and even though they are not required as much attention as other plants (I only water mine once a week), it was eyeopening how in-tune she was with them. This shows how much emotion goes into an artist’s project- they are deeply connected to their work and you are able to see parts of them in it. I feel like Mahsa has so much to say and show the world and I cannot wait to hear and see more of her work in the future.

    1. Hey Allison! I agree with your post 100% Mahsa Soroudi is someone that I would also love to meet because she seems like such an interesting individual. I love her emphasis on showing women’s artwork based on real life struggles to show and help understand what they face as immigrants and having to adapt. And that their artwork has much more of an goal/achievement than we think because it is more global oriented. I also think succulents are awesome and find it incredible how something can be so simple yet beautiful at the same time. So it amazed me how connected Mahsa would get with these plants because of how much passion she would put into her work. Great Post!

      -Esmeray Lopez

  13. Simply put, I admire Mahsa Soroudi, and honestly I can probably count the number of people who I feel the same way about on one hand. She is from a region of the world which has historically and to this day not been favorable to the progression of female rights, choosing instead to subjugate and control them, using religion, politics, etc. Not only does Mahsa speak up for what she believes in, she stands firmly in those beliefs and refuses to live an ordinary life. Being an artist requires you to be bold, and Mahsa is. Even though Iranians tend to be progressive, despite what the media usually shows them as, Mahsa wants to represent her people. She wants to criticize them, if necessary. She doesn’t just want to be a regular housewife and mother. My mom, also from the same region of the world, started off being just a housewife as so many Middle Easterner women are. However, a few years back she decided to start her own business, and still has it today. For both these women it’s often unheard of and surprising. In addition, I really like the 7500 miles project. No agenda, just showing what life is like back home through art. I took a look at the website and the paintings of the artists are quite captivating. Often they have a darker or sadder tone; the women in the paintings seem to be burdened or just tired in general, depending on your perspective. Other paintings, one which had a bunch of people in a party having fun and being happy, raised the question: are they really happy? You could honestly ask that question about many Americans, regardless of their social status, wealth, etc. From Hollywood to the more average areas, are people really happy or is their smiles just a cover? Besides that, I really enjoyed the interview and Mahsa’s work in general.

    1. Stephanie Arciva
      Hi Jonathan! I love the point you emphasize with Mahsa’s representation to her culture! You highlight her background and how she both tries to embrace and criticize it. Mahsa wants to criticize the current condescending position women may be victims to as well as embrace their culture. Mahsa inspires women to find strength amongst each other considering their culture is uncommon in LA. I feel that Mahsa is revolutionizing a movement among Iranian women and western culture. This includes the beautiful experiences women have, experiences they may experience as a mother or a wife, but it also encompasses the ugly, including the frustration and confusion. You acknowledge her intentions as “a darker or sadder tone,” that I feel reflect these negative emotions to help the audience understand it isn’t an easy experience for them. The world needs to understand their perspective in order to understand their important role in the world, whether it be their role as an artist, mother, sister, or daughter. In order to understand if whether the people in these paintings are truly happy, you have to understand their struggles.

  14. Selena Lara

    I felt an almost instant connection with Mahsa Soroudi. She clearly doesn’t forget about where she comes from and is willing to talk about it. Mahsa doesn’t let her self drown in the negativity that is connected to Iran. Instead, she is seeks to not only learn about different cultures but also expose herself in them. Through the exposure of different cultures Mahsa better educates herself and finds a connection to U.S culture. Mahsa is a complete inspiration. Through the beauty of her succulents she was able to remain strong and “fight for life.” Similarly, at one point in my life I too felt that I no longer had nothing to fight for. My first year at a four-year university not only was I stereotyped for being a hood baby but also for being the daughter of Mexican immigrants. At that point in my life, I thought I didn’t really have roots in the U.S and was struggling to grow as a person. But Like Mahsa described some succulents have to be over achievers and grow without roots because at the end of it all we are all on the same life path. While I do find myself connected to Mahsa at the same time I wish I was more like her, willing to just pack my bags and go. But unfortunately, I’m not like that at all. I kept myself from attending a better university because I was afraid of being stereotyped when I had the same challenge at a place I believed would be more like home.

    Her project 7500 miles is so utterly amazing. The purpose of the project is to show the universal themes of women’s life experiences. The idea of the project its self just goes to show that even when we think we are so different because of where we come from, at the end of it all we share more than just a plant. It also shows that we are more similar than the flags our countries wave.

    1. Amanda Martinez

      Hi Selena! I also felt a connection with her and can relate to being a first generation citizen going to a four year college not knowing what to expect. You should never let what people think about you keep you from reaching your full potential. You could still attend that better university to complete your undergrad or for grad school. There is always time to go explore and see new places in the future if you are not ready right now. You could be the over achiever plant that grows its roots a lot faster than the others or the one that takes a little longer to get there. Like you said we are all on the same life path and in the end you will make it to where you feel comfortable being.

  15. John Savage

    Masha Soroudi’s story of her coming to America was very inspiring.my favorite part of her story was when she talked about learning to adapt to her new environment like her succulents. Her project 7,500 miles is a great idea because hopefully it will expose the western culture to a new point of view and show that we aren’t that different from our fellow man across the world. Having a bunch of different artists on this project will also allow for more exposure to the different art that is from their culture. With this project Masha and the artists are trying to break the stereotypes of women and Iran by exposing people to their art. Overall I think this project could have a huge effect on the world if enough people see it.

    1. Alex Miramontes

      In response to John’s comment, I agree with you and hope that her project “7,500 Miles” will expose western culture to a new point of view. I fell like Western culture is not fully informed about Iran and their culture, we typically associate Iran with their government and dismiss other important information, such as our commonalities. I liked how she mentioned in her interview that all cultures share universal themes and issues, she emphasis how we are more alike to one another than different. Allowing many artist to display their work will not only give artist the exposure that they deserve, but will also allow Iranian contemporary art to be seen in a different light. Masha is attempting to break all the stereotypes that are associated with women and Iran. I believe that its important that she is not reinforcing these stereotypes but rather critiquing and challenging western thought. I hope she raises enough money so they could have a physical exhibition, being able to see these art pieces in person would be an awesome experience.

  16. Araceli Lozano

    Listing to Mahsa Soroudi speak about her life is inspiring. Though it is not the typical story that westerners are used to hearing from people who come from Iran, it is inspiring nonetheless. She made it a point of letting people know that Iran is more than what the current media portrays them as, they care about issues that are going on in a global spectrum and that she did not flee her county but choose to left. Mahsa and her husband left because they wanted more opportunities for their life. In a way i can relate to her because countless times i consider the possibility of leaving California and staring a new life in a different state, possibly a different country. But just as Mahsa mentioned how she feels that she couldn’t grow roots to where she was living, that is how I imagen i would feel too.
    Mahsa Soroudi’s and Parisa Ghaderi’s project ‘7500-miles’ is an amazing project, not only the art work itself but what it stands for. They wanted to give light to women artist from Tehran, Iran and hopefully have westerners see Iran in a different light and not how the media chooses to portray them. One artist that I found interesting and found their art work to be amazing is Niloofar Mohammadifar. In her paintings you see people having a great time but as she writes in the description, what if deep inside they are only pretending to be happy and okay. Its art that speaks to everyone, everyone at one point in their life has pretended to be happy when deep inside they felt upset, or unhappy. The message is a powerful one and it is brought to light with such amazing painting. After reading the artist description, you start to look at the painting more differently to see if you can see another emotion coming from the figures.
    Mahsa’s work is also captivating, on her website there is this picture of the ocean and a pier, but off in the distance it looks as if the the pier still continues to go on into the ocean but because of the fog you cannot see it.

    1. I agree with Areceli. It does take a lot for people to just leave their home, one that is filled with so many memories and ancestry. No one just packs up their stuff and decides to leave permanently. Many factors contribute to this, including new opportunities as Araceli had mentioned. I had also thought about moving somewhere else, however I started crossing out that idea when i started to notice certain things while traveling with my family. Each city or region had its own unique culture, but it never really could relate to what home meant for me. It’s admirable for people like Soroudi to choose to move, even though Soroudi had mentioned that if she so happened to stay she would have lived a fair life.

  17. Amanda Martinez

    It was interesting to hear what Mahsa Soroudi had to say about Iran it was not what I imagined. I was expecting something a bit more negative, but I am glad that it was not. She grew up being exposed to many different cultures by living in a metropolitan area and watching Hollywood movies. Her urge for wanting to learn more about other cultures is what made her move from her home country. She wanted to have more opportunities and get a better education by learning about other cultures first hand. She seems like a very positive person even when she was not doing so well. She even says how difficult it was for a bit living in the US and she used plants as a creative outlet in her work Nature’s Cadence. She was able to relate herself to succulents which are very resilient plants that live in harsh dry conditions show how strong of a person she is. She points out that no matter how beautiful the plant is above ground you never know what is happening underground and as an immigrant she feels like she went through the same struggle. She was not going to let homesickness keep her from being happy in this new place. Instead she found beauty, strength, and patience in what grows naturally in Southern California and used that as her motivation to keep her going.
    Mahsa’s other piece 7,500 miles is ongoing project that represents Iranian women artist. Mahsa is very passionate about representing Iranian women and showing how they are like women all over the world. Since a lot of representations of Iranian women is stereotyped showing them as submissive and passive. This piece is a great way to express how people all over the world are not so different from each other and we all have similar concerns. I admire how passionate she is about representing the people of her country through art.

    1. Raylyn Diep
      Now that I think about, I agree that I was expecting to here some negative things. However, she really showed her respect and love for her country and culture. She really wanted to show people the beautiful side of Iran. I love how she talked about her struggle and how she was able to thrive with great effort just like her succulents. I believe that her love of her culture ultimately came down to how she was exposed to so many cultures that she grew to understand and respect them. Just like how she was amazed of other cultures, she wanted others to feel that same amazement when looking at Iran. She really wants to promote and help the female artists of Iran. Her undying passion will one day achieve great things in the future.

  18. Alex Miramontes

    I was mostly fascinated by her story and journey of being an emigrant. I think she has a lot of courage to just pack all of her stuff and go to a different country. Undoubtedly, going to a new country would result in a culture shook, it takes a lot of courage for someone to leave their hometown and start a new life. She mentioned how she was homesick for a while and that lead to a lot of sadness, too some extent I could relate to that feeling and I am glad that she found an outlet to express her self and deviate those emotions. I really enjoyed Mahsa’s project “Nature’s Cadence,” because of the metaphors and symbolism that’s found in her project. The succulents that she grows reflects her personal journey of adapting to a new environment and culture, similar to how the plants need to adapt and adjust to a new ecosystem. I had a huge misconception of succulents. I’ve always thought that they were plants that are able to sustain themselves in any climate, but in this video its evident that they need just as much nurturing and attention as any other plant. On Mahsa’s website she says, “This exhibition calls for us all, from time to time, to listen to Nature’s Cadence.” I feel like what she is saying is that from time to time we should stop and admire the beauty that is around us. Besides Mahsa’s project “Nature’s Cadence” she is also working on a project called “7,500 Miles.” When she was talking and her “7,500 Miles” purpose I was glad that she was taking a different approach on displaying Iranian contemporary art. With news and media we have a misconception of different cultures and their issues that we fail to realize that we all share universal and global themes. Her project “7,500 miles” refrains from displaying stereotypes and cliches of women and Iran, it provides social commentary of universal themes. One of my favorite artist was Homa Arkani and I enjoyed her piece “Frida.”

    1. Hi Alex, I also love how Mahsa has chosen to identify herself and her journey as an immigrant and developing person through the growth of her succulents. Before learning about her and her “Nature’s Cadence,” project, I never would have thought to relate the struggles of finding your way in a new environment, to those of a plant, but after learning about her art I find it to be a truly beautiful way of relating to nature. The fast pace of our own lifestyles may prevent us from looking around and realizing that we are part of bigger picture, and that we as humans can learn a lot from the resliience of nature surrounding us. I also loved “7,500 Miles” and how it aims to show others that although media and generalizations about the differences between middle eastern and western cultures pin the two apart, the reality is that we have more in common than we may realize, and that different struggles aren’t subjective to any specific group.

    2. Hey Alex!
      I too thought succulents were a plant that was able to sustain itself in mostly any climate. I saw succulents almost like cactus, I did not think they needed much watering. Thanks to Mahsa I learned otherwise, i loved how she used the succulents as a symbol for her life. She made a huge connection with them and built her project ” Nature’s Cadence.” I think that was very creative. I also enjoy the fact that her projects all have to do with her Iranian background. Her “7500 Miles” project is the miles from her home in Newport Beach to her home in Iran, and her “Nature’s Cadence” project is related to her adaptation to a whole new country. Overall, i admire the fact that she has not forgotten where she came from and she always tends to incorporate that fact in her projects.

    3. Nhi Truong

      Hi Alex,
      I was also very inspired by her story. She is a bold person with a dream to explore the world. While she was exploring, she was able to learn many things, including English. Throughout the years and all the moving around, she did indeed get homesick and struggled to find comfort anywhere else. To combat this, she looked to her succulent plants for motivation in life. In a way, they were a symbolism of her own self. She saw how they did not need water to live and did what they could to survive. Her succulents would grow roots down to wherever they could, and she used this as a motivation to do the same. She connected so much with these succulents that she made a project called “Nature’s Cadence”. All in all, I admire her for being strong and having so much adversity.

  19. Mahsa Soroudi is an inspiration on how even though we may be apart from our roots in terms of physical distance, there will always be a connection. She comes off as a strong woman, ready to take on the world and explore it in her own way. I found her connection to her succulents very intriguing, especially the way she connected her experience with them. I found especially interesting the part where she spoke about how sometimes we don’t know what’s happening in the roots of the plant, and the same goes with people. We only know what we see, but don’t give much thought to what’s underneath and the things that attribute to who we are today. Our personal background, culture, and experiences are all things that lead us get to where we currently stand in life, and this is something that can be overlooked. I also loved the part where she spoke about the current struggles of women in the middle east, and how western culture is only interested in pinning them as exotic creatures, when in fact they are much more than that. I also found her project “7,500 Miles” interesting in the sense that the artists simply want to express things that are important to them, and not form part of any particular political agenda, as perhaps our western culture would expect them to do. It is simply about standing as an individual with particular concerns or interests that can relate to more than one specific group of people.

    1. Yonathan Sahle

      I completely agree with your statement about no matter if we are apart from our roots in terms of physical distance, there will always be a connection to our roots. I am a strong believer of this, although i was born and raised in the USA, my parents and majority of my family was raised and live in Eritrea, that is a country in East Africa. I agree with Mahsa too that we do keep some of our culture and remain connected everyday to our roots, I am speaking from first generation Eritrean American perspective. I also found it interesting when Mahsa brought in her perspective of how the West (USA) percieves the women of Middle East and how the focus is only exotic when to there is more to focus on. I believe with this point she makes a great argument that many might not of noticed till hearing her viewpoint. I completely agree with your opinion on how it is interesting that the art she is trying to exhibit is not a form with a political agenda but rather an Exhibit that expresses the artists personality. This statement is key to how i believe all artists strive to push their art. Overall i believe that Mahsa is a very intriguing person and i believe she will find what she is seeking for in her Art career in California.

  20. Raylyn Diep
    Mahsa Soroudi is so amazing! It is so incredible that she is trying to introduce her own culture to the world. She wants to show that women can also make it in this profession. On her website, Nature’s Cadence really interested me since I also love succulents myself. When she talked about her amazing plants, it really showed that her plants were something that supported her through the hard times of her life. Her succulents showed her that she too can also persevere even during the darkest times. Her succulents showed her that although they seemed like they were dying, they still thrived in the end through great effort. She was able to grow and become the person she is today because of her plants. As she talked about her exhibition, she really wants to show people the real and beautiful side of Iran rather than the stereotypical side of it. She really hopes that none of her exhibitionist will bring up any political issues in Iran. She just wants to show people her culture. As she talked about her homesickness and loneliness, it reminded me of my parents and how they struggled so hard for my brother and I. I remember my parents telling me how hard it was to live in a place where they didn’t know anyone or even speak the language. However, through much hardships, my brother and I are now in college and achieving the dreams that my parents wanted us to have. Overall, Mahsa Soroudi’s works are amazing and inspirational.

    1. Hello Raylyn. I was also interested in Mahas’s connection to succulents. I think it is very noble of someone to jump into a completely different environment and stay there. I also think that no matter where anyone goes, they can call it home. Mahsa grew and thrived after she thought that she couldn’t, which I think is very inspiring.

      – Nick Lemmerman

  21. People may have lived in the same cities or districts, however, a lot of factors affect their lifestyles. Events that happen during their lives can affect people positively and negatively, some events more or less. Soroudi sympathizes with why some may have a negative outlook, where some may have been more well off than others. Her own experiences allow her to see things in a brighter light. I felt like she was kind of reminiscing her childhood as she talked about how similar her home was to LA. And just as Soroudi mentioned, I would agree that many people, especially westerners, are fed with information that is intended to evoke certain emotions depending on what people deem popular or more important. Just how Middle eEastern and Asian women are supposedly exotic. It’s a female characteristical cliche that has been fed to many of us and has been evident for centuries. Just as how many of us are misled to believe certain fads or information. She’s very inspirational in a way that she makes a great effort to import her own artwork, as well as her fellow colleague’s artistic pieces 7500 miles away from home in order to educate the minds of the West, to expel the cliches that were taught to us since birth.

  22. It was very interesting to hear Masha’s life story, on how she moved from Tehran when she was 30, and learned English in Malaysia, and then moved here to the U.S. I can definitely relate to what she said, because my mom is from Iran, and i myself have visited Iran multiple times, so i can definitely see why she was home sick, because Iran is beautiful! Alot of people have a false perception of what Iran looks likes and how it is over there because of they way the media distorts it, but its actually beautiful and very peaceful, its full of beautiful scenery and art, lots of the oldest and most expensive and most appreciated rug work is in Iran, the food and culture is amazing. After visiting her website it was amazing to see how she adapted so well to the U.S, and in the 7500 miles project, she was able to express her feelings and show how the media portrays such and inaccurate perception of iran, more specifically the culture of iran, and how women are treated there. She was able to show how involved Iranian women are in art, and education. Her work was beautiful and I really respect her courage of being able to come the U.S, adapt and find such a valued purpose.

    1. Christian Gallo

      HI Ali Garawi,
      I agree that people do have a false perception of what Iran looks like because when I try to picture how Iran looks like I can only see what the media has told us even though I know its not true.The way you describe Iran makes me want to visit Iran. The media also changes peoples’ point of views on other country, which can lead to negative feelings about that country and a false perception. .

    2. Hi Ali,
      I also really respect her courage in moving so far away and being able to adapt and find something to do that can help people see a side of Iran that many may not have known even existed. Though I have never visited Iran, I do know people who have left a country for another and it is not at all an easy experience. If something like moving schools can change a person’s life, moving from one country to another must feel like going to another planet. I would like to learn more about Iran and its art, and hope that the exhibition that she is trying to put together happens so that I may discover more about beauty of Iran that you mentioned.

  23. Mahsa Soroudi is a very interesting individual and artist. I really like her perspectives of how she wants her steps to be in her art. She is a very open minded person and at a young age was aware of many other cultures and other things that made her the person she is today. I found it very interesting when she was talking about her project where she wants to expose the emerging artists from Iran. I really loved when she started to mention the artists that she wants to work with, specifically Homa Arkani. I was intrigued by what Mahsa was saying of Homa’s work and how she really likes to question, critiques, challenging the young social trends and culture. Mahsa also expressed what she thought of Iranian art that is based on women to only show the exotic views. Another point that i thought was interesting to hear from her was the perspective of how the US (Western ideology) views women from the Middle East. She continues to express how the women are viewed to be submissive and that living in Iran it is a patriarchal society and that the West likes to see art that portrays that. When she said this i instantly noticed that what she said is true and that many times the majority dominating perspectives in the US are based off of stereotypes, no matter what culture is being observed. It was a very powerful message when she later continued to state that fighting these stereotypes of middle eastern women drove her to have a purpose for this Exhibition that she is working on. Another interesting point in her interview was when she explained her Exhibition title 7,200 miles. To build off of that i liked how she responded to describing whether or not some of the pieces might be bold and politically motivated. She said that her motive is not to provoke any political mindsets but rather have the direction of the Exhibition be a reflection of each individual artists experience and thoughts. I love the point that both Professor Zucman and Mahsa came to the agreement towards the end about the Iranian artist like other artists have global concerns that give their art a global culture rather than the stereotype view of Middle Eastern art, which drove home the point of her Exhibition.

  24. Joy Uba

    Mahsa Soroudi sounds like an inspiring person. I can somewhat relate to her because my family and I emigrated from the Philippines 15 years ago. My parents wanted to leave the country and move to United States to obtain a better education and better opportunities that they would get here. I went to her website and what caught my eye was her project, Nature’s Cadence. Before, I never thought of relating my experiences to how a plant adapt to its new environment. This project opened my eyes to new relatable experiences and it triggered emotions. I love the photographs because it made me feel nostalgic and relaxed at the same time. They are very aesthetic as well that it will catch anyone’s eyes. I can connect to this project because I also tried to adapt to new places every time my family and I moved. It was really hard but I learned to adapt at each places and then finally grew my roots to our long term home.

  25. Marysol Jimenez

    I feel that Mahsa Soroudi is an incredible person, after hearing her story I was amazed. Mahsa comes from an Iranian background where she explained her family was pretty moderate with culture but the move to the United States was still a huge transition. A week after getting married her and her husband just decided to start a new life somewhere else, where they would seek better opportunities, you can say they were seeking the American Dream. Although to reach the American dream it is not easy one must work hard for it. Mahsa underwent a time where she felt a bit home sick she explained she would not do much other than sleep and maybe garden. She made a huge connection with gardening, succulents were what she enjoyed gardening. She explained how during the time she felt down and homesick was the time she saw her succulents drying up and dying. She did not take care of them or give them the love and energy they needed but once she started to care for them again they revived. New roots started growing and new succulents were born from the old ones. This is where her project “Nature’s Cadence” comes in, the succulents symbolize her and he journey to adapt in a new place, a new country. Like the succulents, after going through a little trouble they were able to grow back and Mahsa as well, after being a bit homesick she was able to bounce back and work on many amazing projects.

    1. Andrew Nguyen

      Andrew Nguyen

      Hi Marysol,
      I definitely agree with your assertions! Mahsa Soroudi is really an incredible person because she established her roots here in California. I also think its amazing how she was able to relate her life struggles of being homesick to her plants. I think reaching the “American Dream” is something hard to attain, especially somewhere you’ve never been. I never considered gardening therapeutic until I watched this interview and I hope I can explore this one day. Soroudi inspires me because she was able to find something simple as gardening succulents and she made connections to her life with it. In addition, I also find it interesting how she is very in touch with her culture and is knowledgeable about global issues.

  26. Andrew Nguyen

    Andrew Nguyen
    I really enjoyed watching this interview with Mahsa Soroudi. Looking at the succulents interested me because my close friend has a succulent business. I have been wanting to adopt some succulents in my room. I appreciated all the connections Soroudi made with her plants. There was many times where she compared her life to the plants. One thing that stood out to me was her comment about how succulents are resilient plants and they can do well without much watering; however, sometimes they need love and attention. I thought this was symbolic to life because sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget to take a moment to appreciate all the things around us. Often times, we take things and people for granted. In addition, I really admire how she found so much passion and inspiration through something as simple as plants. Succulents were therapeutic for Soroudi because she was able to overcome her struggles of moving far from home and establish her “roots” here in California. Succulents describe who she is because it seems like she is very in touch with her cultural roots and this is just like her plants. She described how succulents have strong roots and this describes her as an individual.

  27. I like that Mahsa was able to recognize that her experiences are similar to nature, especially succulents. Succulents are bonkers–they literally regrow from cut-off leaves, etc. But they are strong adapters and survivors. Like Mahsa, their roots find a place for themselves no matter what and continue to grow and prosper. I can only imagine how unnerving and difficult it would be to move across the globe and just start a new life. But I believe that no matter where you go, you can make a home out of it.

    – Nick Lemmerman

  28. Nhi Truong

    I love the message Mahsa Soroudi portrays in her artwork. Through this invterview, she opened my mind to the real problems women in different countries face. I fell into the same group of Americans that stereotyped women in Iran. Before, when I thought of these middle eastern countries, my uneducated mind simply thought of war, gender segregation, and no women rights. However, she addressed this stereotype, saying how women all over the world have the same problem. It really opened my eyes. We’re told that these middle eastern countries were dangerous and that their government suppresses individuals, but Soroudi tells us from her point of view, that her hometown is very similar to the streets of LA. Tehran, the city she grew up in, has the top universities and throughout time, has had many new and exciting galleries have pop up. In her art piece called “7500 miles”, Soroudi incorporates different artwork from female artists in Iran in hopes of educating people in Western cultures. Soroudi was also very adventurous; she left her country to explore the world and learn different things. A consequence of her actions, however, was that she struggled to find a place where she really felt like home. She explains to Zucman about how her succulent plants grow. She then proceeds to show us how the plant grows roots in soil, symbolically making a new home for themselves. So, whenever Soroudi feels homesick or down on life, she looks to her plants for motivation. Her ability to look at seemingly meaningless things and derive value in it to make herself a better person is what makes me admire her. Overall, Soroudi is an inspiring individual and I believe everyone can learn a thing or two from her.

    1. Monica Lock
      Nhi Truong, I agree with you about a few points you made. I immediately thought of gender segregation and little to no women’s rights when it comes to Iranian culture. Mahsa Soroudi has made a good point about how Western cultures always viewing Iranian culture as such. After watching the video and looking through her website, I realize that there is so much more. She was able to overcome homesickness by caring for her succulents and keeping herself busy. I definitely learned a few things from her as well as learn about other Iranian artists. I thought it was amazing how she captured stories from other Iranian artists such as Elahe Farjad who portrays the importance of being still and appreciating art rather than looking at portraits for a few seconds and moving onto the next one.

  29. Christian Gallo

    Christian Gallo
    This interview was interesting because you get to see Mahsa’s point of view on how she deals with moving to a different country that has a different culture.. She explains that she chose to move to the U.S. on her own free will and she was not trying to escape from her country. When people move from their country to another country, other people will think that person is trying to escape their countries problems but in reality some are just trying to explore new things. I believe that Mahsa’s 7500 miles project is a great idea because it shows the type of art from a different country and a different culture. This project can help people better understand someone else’s culture and forget about the stereotypes. In this project there is only a universal theme and is non political. I hope she is able to make her 7500 miles project into a physical exhibition. She also talks about how the succulents are very resistant but still need attentions. This can also be true with people because there are times when a strong willed person can feel sad and sometimes all they need is attention from a person, in order to talk about their problems.

  30. Esmeray Lopez

    Mahsa Soroudi seemed like a very open and free individual from this interview and I really enjoyed it. Her work on succulents interested me because she connected so deeply to these plants that she felt a connection of herself in them. Because it was her work she put her whole being into these plants and cares for them as if they were her children and it is truly amazing because succulents don’t need much attention yet she gave them the attention she could. I loved when she made a comment in the interview and said “As beautiful as plants are to look at you never know what’s happening underground.” And she related this saying to herself when she immigrated and started making roots in her new home. I love her project idea 7500 miles and how it can have a very big emphasis on women’s artwork and it having a much bigger message about global issues. These women she features are also immigrants who share a lot of the same feelings she first felt when coming to the US. And it makes my heart happy that she tries to empower these women and flaunt their work because it is important and beautiful.

    1. Hello Esmeray. I too remembered the artist saying “As beautiful as plants are to look at you never know what’s happening underground.” I am interested in the fact that those words stuck in our minds so much. Mahsa is a very interesting woman with a complicated and diverse background. Her submersion into caring for her plants creates breathtaking pieces. I would be interested in researching her work further.

    2. I agree with you, Esmeray. It was enjoyable to hear about her projects and what they meant to her. It’s cool how everyone has their own struggles but they always find a way to deal with them because they know they have to. Her struggle symbolizing succulents is something that caught my attention because it represent how her struggle eventually blossomed into success. Many people have their way of expressing themselves, and it was great that she did it through this form of art.

    3. Demi Kong

      Hi Esmeray! Mahsa Soroudi’s relationship with her succulents is so pure to me. Like you said, she is so deeply connected to them and even though it is not necessary to give so much attention to them, she does because they are like her children and puts so much work into them so they can grow properly and uproot themselves. I absolutely agree with you on Mahsa Soroudi’s art project, “7,500 Miles” empowering women. It truly is beautiful and matters so much, especially in today’s world where women are fighting harder than ever to be recognized as equals to everyone. If no one else will prioritize our work, who else better to than fellow women? Soroudi is so inspirational because of this and is what I consider a role model.

  31. Brian Sath; Wednesday; 1:00PM

    I found Mahsa Soroudi to be a very inspirational individual. It was surprising for me that she was so open about her past. I have never come across an individual from Iran, and usually from reading the news, I only hear bad things about Iran. In high school, I participated on the debate team called Model UN. The biggest issues that we discussed were women’s rights and Iran was a heated country overall. For me, I thought that it was surprising that Mahsa Soroudi actually didn’t escape from her country due to oppression. I thought that it was interesting that Mahsa Soroudi still cherished her culture and escaped because she had a longing to explore different countries and the world. It did seem weird that Mahsa Soroudi felt that she was “gloomy” and “melancholy” when she was America. I have a lot of friends that are interested in growing succulents, however, I do not believe that they had the same reason as Mahsa. Mahsa is so inspirational that it makes me want to grow succulents. I believe that life is a beautiful struggle and that everyone goes through some type of hardship and Mahsa’s way of representing her hardship is just beautiful. I am very ecstatic that Mahsa was able to discover herself and represent herself with succulents. It takes a simple plant into so much more and gives it meaning. As for her projects, 7500 miles, I thought that it was a very interesting concept for her to share her ideas on the struggles issues concerning women. I thought that it was beautifully written when the website stated “This exhibition will not play the exotic card to win the sympathy of a Western audience, but will focus on universal themes that women experience in their lives, beyond being mothers, wives, and daughters.” To me, I found this to be very powerful as it connects all women within this world. I also believe that it is phenomenal that she is sharing the art work of those who may be unseen or disregarded. As for Nature’s Cadence, I thought that the page was overall beautiful. The photographs that were shared on the page were aesthetically pleasing. They had such soft filters that I got lost in whether it was a painting or a photography. Overall, MAhsa Soroudi has a very unique and beautiful story and artwork!

    1. Briana Garcia

      I have to agree with you Brian, I thought the same. I haven’t encountered many people from Iran, none actually. It was interesting to hear her story. Like you said, we usually only hear the negative things involving Iran and I think that should change. I’m glad that Mahsa came to U.S. and has shared her story through art. I also think that her work is very inspirational and meaningful. I believe she is brave and has a lot of courage in order to have overcome such hard challenges, like moving over here for example. I can’t even come close to understanding how difficult it must’ve have been dealing with a drastic change like that. Knowing that it has allowed her to move forward with her talent is inspiring, however. Like many artists, she brought meaning to something we view as ordinary.

  32. Monica Lock
    It was eye-opening to hear about the perspective of Mahsa Soroudi, an Iranian, female artist, talk about her struggles as an emigrant. Although she kept getting feedback from Western cultures to talk about the struggles of Iran to include the hardships of being a women, she stood true to herself. It is really difficult to please every single audience. It has never came to my attention that Iranian women have the same problems as women in other countries, so I am glad that Soroudi mentioned that.
    I thought it was interesting how she used plants to help cope with her homesickness. Usually when I hear about people who are homesick, the best way to overcome that is to go out and try to submerge yourself into the new culture as much as possible, but this has brought a new perspective. When it comes to plants, I don’t have much thought about watering it, or comparing it to myself in any way. Soroudi was able to change my perspective about these resilient plants. She pointed out how the plants were able to thrive again even after her negligence. She compared it to herself and how she was at a low point, but the plants were able to motivate her. A few months ago, my neighbors gave me a cactus from Arizona in exchange for watching their dog for the weekend. I watered it a few times a month (which was listed in the directions). A few weeks ago, I noticed the pricks started to fall off. Eventually, I gave up and now the cactus is very close to dying. Now, I will try to save my cactus after listening to Soroudi’s story.

    1. Daniel Schmitz

      Hey Monica,

      I like what you had to say. I, too, sometimes forget that regardless of where you are in the world, people all exhibit the same emotions. Everybody wants the same basic things in life, and that causes a lot of people to have the problems. I also liked how Soroudi was able to bring her plants into a whole new light. It kind of makes me think of the weeds that people don’t want growing in their gardens. People spend so much time trying to keep their garden beautiful and their flowers pretty, so as soon as they see one ugly plant, they just pull it out or spray some poison on it. But imagine how hard that weed’s life is, much like the succulents Soroudi grew. The weeds and succulents are able to overcome immense obstacles (growing from just a leaf, growing in a crack in the sidewalk, or growing without much water). It’s really cool how she was able to look to these hard-working and determined succulents as motivation.

      And good luck with your cactus! I hope everything turns out well.

  33. Kayla Tafoya-Sablan

    So, I can really relate to Mahsa in the way she felt once she moved to Southern California. I was born in California, but I was raised on an island in the Pacific called Saipan. I occasionally visited SoCal every other Summer for a few weeks but once I was forced to move to California by my parents to finish up my last year of high school also so that I could have greater opportunities for receiving higher education. It was complete culture shock. I couldn’t relate to my peers at school; I always felt different so I was alone A LOT as Mahsa was. I often journaled my days and turned to my religion for comfort so I really admire how she took the initiative to seek out comfort for the way she was feeling after her big move out to SoCal. I admire her willingness to take care of her succulents even when she was in the emotional state she was currently in. Her passion for exposing her fellow female Iranian artists is admirable as well as she states that these women often fall short of success they deserve due to the lack of exposure they try to obtain. She genuinely seems like a beautiful person inside and out. Her upcoming projects such as Nature’s Cadence is such a beautiful, meaningful project. Her simplicity of her work calls for the the saying “less is more.” And by the looks of her website, I can sense that is exactly what she was going for. Her design is simple yet, as Brian Sath had said, aesthetically pleasing. Overall, Mahsa’s work seems to be connected to her own experiences and I think that is when art is most interesting and admirable.

  34. Andy Bui

    Mahsa Soroudi’s story is an inspiring one that I feel should be shared with anyone who is new to the United States and is still finding their place. At first when Mahsa first moved over, she felt out of place and not at home, and also felt like there was a chance that she would never get used to this new country. I’m sure this feeling can be shared with other immigrants, such as Vietnamese immigrants like my parents. At first when my parents came over they felt out of place similar to how Mahsa felt. It’s amazing how something as simple as succulents can inspire a person to have a more positive outlook on life. In the beginning, Mahsa’s succulents were dry and not prospering in their new environment, similar to their owner. Soon, with a little love and care, her succulents started to grow roots into the new soil and started to blossom. When Mahsa saw this, she gained motivation to also try and start to get used to the new soil she was on and have her life blossom. Soroudi’s Project 7,500 miles is warming one because of the purpose behind it. This project was to help educate the Western world understand life of women in the Middle East a little more accurate. She stated that in the Western culture, Iranian women are seen as like submissive and passive victims. In reality, over half of the students in universities in Iran are strong women that work and find their ways around limitations are hardships. Mahsa Soroudi can be an inspiration to anyone that has trouble finding their roots in a new country.

  35. I found this interview to be very interesting because of the fact that she had such a unique form and connection of art. Mahsa Soroudi’s form of art is her succulents, this is interesting to me because she connected the plants to her own life experiences moving from Iran to California. She explained that the succulents were not always as strong just as she was, they were in a bad place. I found it unique that Mahsa experienced a difficult time adjusting to California leaving her plants uncared for and loved because she felt sad being here. But as she started adjusting to her new life the plants did too and she found beauty in the way these plants struggled holding on to their dear life which in fact motivated her to become a stronger individual. Another piece of information I found amazing was her new project “7500 miles” which was made to share the struggles and bring out awareness about women in Iran. She shares that she wants to inform Western viewers of the true lives of real women in Iran and how strong these women are. I think its a beautiful thing to bring awareness on, especially since modern society is often bringing women down instead of uplifting them.

    1. Hi Marlene! I agree with you completely on Mahsa using her succulents as her form of art! It really is amazing and a cool way to interpret art. It makes me realize that not just painting and photos is art but art is much more and expands throughout the world a lot. I also found her project “7500 miles” interesting because apart of her is doing it for her sister and for the rest of the artists that want to show the world that their art isn’t just stereotypes. I agree with her awareness about women in Iran too. In general, women are strong and go after what WE want.

  36. From the interview, Mahsa Soroudi sounded like an amazing individual. She discusses about how her life was when she started off as an immigrant in the United States. I like that she is helping other Iranian artists to become more noticed in the United States for their own artwork through her project ‘7,500 Miles’. With Soroudi’s ability to curate exhibitions for her artists, she will be able to educate the western world about Middle Eastern artists and how they do not want to be known for the typical stereotype of erotic arts. Another thing that I like about her is the metaphor that relates to a life of a succulent. How I interpreted in my eyes is that when you are living in a place where you have became accustomed to the language and the culture, you are like a full grown succulent. You have rooted completely and grown to your best ability. But then you move to a place where you are unfamiliar with and don’t know what to do such as a like a fallen leaf. First few days, the leaf doesn’t attach itself to anything and like life when you go to an unfamiliar area; you wander around understanding what you’re in. Over time, you’ll get accustomed to the place and you’ll settle in with the culture and traditions like a succulent does when it’s roots begin to grow.

    Tommy Duong

  37. Daniel Schmitz

    Well first off I’d like to say that I thought her neutral opinion of the revolution was very interesting. The revolution (from what I’ve learned) was, and is, a big deal when it comes to the history of Iran, and someone not really having that much of an opinion about it was interesting. Especially growing up in the U.S. (western culture) we were kind of “taught” to have a negative opinion on the Islamic revolution of Iran, politically.

    I do agree with her when she says the revolution had different effects (and thus different opinions) on certain people, because with any revolution there’s usually a large amount of people that are unhappy with the outcome. Luckily she said her family were not affected by the revolution that much.

    Her succulent project was also super cool. My favorite kind of traditional art has always been art that incorporates nature in some kind of way. She was saying that she does not like to change the way her succulents were growing, because it’s beautiful and natural to see the plants grow in their own way based on their current conditions (like lack of water or nutrients). That is really awesome, letting nature do its thing.

    She then went on to say that the fact the succulents are growing roots resembled her (and others) immigration process and the getting used to of a different country/culture. It was a way for her to express her emotions and it ended up giving her another outlook on life.

  38. Aleah Lomeli

    During your interview with Mahsa Soroudi, there was a lot of inspiration that she delivered as well as compassion for art itself. I find it incredible how she relates her life to plants; that’s something that is rarely done, well that I have noticed. Mahsa Soroudi is an incredible woman for dedicating her time and being committed to helping other artists globally, whether it be Iranian artists or other artists, to portray their artwork here in the United States. I wasn’t aware of the Middle Eastern art but it’s good to know that Mahsa wants to show the western world that Middle Eastern artists do not fall under the stereotypes that we give them. Their work is much more than that. Going back to how she relates her life to a plant, is inspiring because she proves a point that we all come from certain roots and in everyday life fight to make it through life. Although we may have rough times, we still hang on and get ready to bloom. Also, unlike many other people that leave their country for escape, Mahsa Soroudi didn’t which I liked a lot because she left for opportunities. I find opportunities and risks very important because without them, how are you really going to know what is out there in the “big” world. Mahsa Soroudi is an inspirational and amazing woman for making sacrifices and going after what she wants in life such as opportunities, change, and a chance to expand the work of other artists.

    1. Natalie Santana

      Hey Aleah!
      I really enjoyed reading your post and completely agreed with it. I thought that you brought up very good points. You mentioned that you find it incredible that she relates her life to plants. That is was of the things that stood out to me the most. I think her artwork with the succulents is such a unique art and an amazing one. I have never paid that much attention to plants but it amazes me how much she knows about them. I also thought it was great how she mentioned that when she was at a low point in life and didn’t feel so well and was home sick, the plants are the ones that reminded her to stay beautiful and strong while struggling to grow roots and adapt to a new home, just like the plants do. I liked how you mentioned that you find opportunities and risks very important because without them you will never know what’s out there and I completely agree with you.

    2. Hi, Aleah!
      I agree with your comment. I forgot to mention in my comment about how Mahsa also helps other artists and wants to show the western world that Middle Eastern artists are also full of tremendous talent. You also brought up the main point about how Mahsa got her inspiration for this project. Mahsa Soroudi gained strength from her plants to adapt and thrive in a new environment. Overall, I really enjoyed this interview as well!

  39. I found what Mahsa Soroudi is doing to be something that should be praised. Though she admits that she did not face some of the same hardships that her friends and others in Iran may have, she is trying to give a platform to those who did. Rather than keeping whatever resources she may have for herself, she is working to make sure that the art of other voices who are not often heard from here will have a place to be heard. However Mahsa is choosing a different route than others may take. Rather than emphasize the differences between people, as far too many people constantly do (take a look at this current election cycle for proof), Mahsa Soroudi is choosing to emphasize the universality of the problems people all around the world face. She wants to break the stereotypes people may have of Iran by showing that there are people on the other side of the world care about the same issues that people here care about. I am a believer of “strength in unity,” and the exhibition Mahsa discussed in the interview is helping get the message across that despite our differences, we are all human and we can all help each other survive the problems we face in the world that we all inhabit. I hope that her exhibition does come together someday, because we need more messages of acceptance and unity than we do messages of fear and hatred towards that which is different (and also because I’d love to visit it).

  40. Juan Vasquez
    This interview was definitely interesting in that it explained more of the thoughts and ideas of an artist that we have to do research on. Mahsa Soroudi definitely had a very different life than most of us in the class as she has traveled and seen more of the world. Her gardening with the succulents makes you think a bit differently about plants when comparing them to how things occur in life. Comparing the actions of the plants when they grew trying to survive is interesting as well as the growth of roots that would not be visible in most cases. The succulents she planted was one method for Soroudi to express herself and to essentially feel happier. In going to Soroudi’s page I was glad to see the different type of work shown under 7500-miles but was disappointed in not seeing more of her work. I am amazed at her understanding of cultural differences and her accommodation of the exhibit name as to make sure her western audience was accurately reached.

  41. Nature’s Cadence is beautifully written and really spoke to me in regard to Mahsa Soroudi’s message of “renewed vitality”. Her metaphor of re-growing through the use of succulent plants was surprisingly insightful, letting me actually picture the slow process by which a person overcomes trauma. When a succulent’s branch is cut off, it can be placed in a mound of dirt and become an entirely new, recovered plant. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a severed branch to survive or thrive, but it absolutely can if given the chance. Mahsa knew that a long, complicated journey would result from leaving her native Tehran, filled with internal struggles concerning her sense of home. This very struggle is experienced by thousands of Middle Eastern immigrants every year, most of them having no choice but to leave their country in search of better opportunities. Mahsa’s story is unique in this aspect, since she left on her own terms to explore a very different corner of the world. I was stereotyping Mahsa, in a way, by expecting her immigration story to fit the general American image of Iranian turmoil. Her story changed my perspective on the citizens of countries like Iran, who have the resilience and resources to explore their passions just as we do. Even her use of the term “émigré” was beautiful, because it replaces the word “immigrant” and all of the negative connotations associated with that term. I very much enjoyed learning about Mahsa Soroudi and her poetic descriptions of the journey to begin again in a new world.

  42. Natalie Santana

    Mahsa Soroudi’s story is very inspiring and intriguing. I thought it was really cool how she looked at both sides when she was talking about the revolution in Iran. She was neutral and did not only think about the bad things that happened but also the good things that came after the revolution. I also thought that it was cool that she did not try to lie and say that she had a really hard time living there and that she went through a lot of hardships. She told the truth and she does not use her past to try and get sympathy from people. She uses her past to make art, which her art is so unique. Her story made me think about my parents and how they must have felt when they had to leave the country they were born and raised. That brings me to her project “Nature’s Cadence”. I think it’s great how she relates her experience to her art when it comes to the plants project. In her website she explains how she thought she would never be able to settle in the U.S. and she felt an emptiness so she used her plants as a diversion and they taught her how she needs to remain beautiful and strong and she is struggling to adapt to a new place just as the plants do so. It’s amazing how a simple plants had such big impacts in her life and helped her though the hard times she was going through.

    1. Hey Natalie,
      I can’t help, but completely agree with you, Mahsa Soroudi’s story is indeed very inspiring and intriguing. What got to me the most was how she was able to relate and grow so much from her projects, Nature’s Cadence and 7,500 miles. Those projects of hers allowed her to relate her experience to her art, and she was able to do that with her succulents. I also find it amazing how plants had the ability to impact her life in a big way. Her succulents in a way saved her, they helped her grow roots and adapt to a new home.

  43. Shalane Holm

    Mahsa Soroudi is a very interesting artist. As an Iranian woman, she has experiences that are different than mine. I find great value in hearing her story. She has a passion that she has developed tenderly. Her love for her plants is very interesting. She talks about how she somewhat neglected her plant for some time, and saw how it affected the plant. She then decided to love and care for her succulents. She documented their change. She told us that when she trimmed, watered, and tended to the needs of the plant, it flourished. This plant represents not only her struggles and hardships, but is also relate-able for the viewer. The fact that she took the time to showcase other artists was very educational for the viewer, and shows her level of research. Amazing artist! She said she would like to be in California for a while. I would love to see where her journey takes her! Whether she stays here, or travels on to someplace new!

  44. Melissa Rios

    I really enjoyed knowing about Mahsa Soroudi’s life in Tehran, Iran and how her projects came about. She seems like a loving and inspirational individual. What got to me the most was how she was able to relate and grow so much from her projects, Nature’s Cadence and 7,500 miles. My favorite project of hers has to be Nature’s Cadence. When she was feeling a sense of displacement coming into America, she found comfort in plants. I’ve never thought about how plants struggle to remain strong and alive just like humans. Her succulents taught her to grow roots and adapt to a new home. I think that message is so powerful because people at one point in their lives have to migrate. A main aspect I really got to me was how she didn’t have any bad memories or experiences growing up in Iran. Whenever we hear or see any media on Iran, we always tend to hear negative comments and statements on the country. We never hear any uplifting stories from individuals. We as individuals of America automatically have a bad impression of Iran. However, Mahsa proved us wrong by sharing her memories of her country. Thank you for introducing me to an empowering individual!

    1. Laura Lockett (section 2: 1pm)

      Laura Lockett

      Hi Melissa !
      I very much agree with you that she uplifted our way of thinking about Iran as well as the life of plants. I do believe that Iran has a bad connotation in America because of the media that is provided to us, we get told all the bad things that are happening in the world but no one really is told all the amazing things that are occurring. I personally did not know that there were so many amazing and talented artists living in Iran or that is was practically an art capital. Also, her explanation of plants and how their roots are hidden but they remain strong is a very great comparison to our lives. They remain strong just like we do. I am glad that we both saw Mahsa as such a strong and talented individual. I hope to see more of her work in the future.

    2. Hi Melissa,
      I didn’t think about how plants have to struggle to remain strong and alive like humans, either! I liked when Mahsa said that plants may look like they are thriving above ground, but you never know what is going on underground and with their roots. It is so cool that the succulents were able to give Mahsa the strength and guidance that she needed to adapt to her new home in Southern California. We typically do have a bad impression of Iran and when we hear about immigrants from Iran, we automatically think they were oppressed because of the way it is portrayed through the media. But it was uplifting to hear that is not always the case and that we are actually a lot more similar than what we may think.

      Kaya Quarles

  45. Laura Lockett (section 2: 1pm)

    Laura Lockett

    Watching this video showing a little part of Mahsa Soroudi’s life shows you that you truly don’t know what people are going through. Being able to do what she has done in her life takes a very strong and independent woman. Her move from Iran to the United States has obviously taken a big impact on her life but it is awesome that she is able to be the amazing artist that she is today from those experiences. Her project Natures Cadence is an awesome symbol of who she is. Her explanation of that project is something that did not occur to me. I have had the same roots my whole life. I was born and raised in Long Beach and have never moved from here, I’ve even been the same house for all my 19 years on this earth so I have a very different lifestyle from Mahsa. I am glad to see that she was inspired by her beautiful plants to be strong and be patient so good things would come her way. Also, with her project 7500 miles, she is showing the differences in artists and that we should not stereotype. She is getting audience and feedback for not only herself but also for other artist that may need the bigger audience to get their work out there in the massive world. Looking into the website for the 7500 miles, it amazed me just how beautiful all this artwork is and how different it is. I hope all of the artists get the good exposure that they were hoping for and continue to move forward in their careers.

    1. Marcelo Ceballos Jr.

      Hey Laura! I completely agree that you have no idea what people are going through just in passing. It takes time to really get to know people and I think people forget that. I myself have sometimes gotten to focused on myself and what I am doing, that I forget about other people and the things they are going through or have gone through. I have found that it is important to take time to try and reflect on interactions to see if you may have missed something or may have made a judgement about someone too quickly. She is a strong woman, and I find that very powerful and inspiring. Many people get too scared to get out and explore or leave a place that is familiar to them. I am glad she was able to leave and follow her own path and have more freedom to express and share her art and ideas.

  46. Mahsa Soroudi’s story is quite enticing. Just her story and background alone interests a person to just want to listen to her. It’s interesting because it gave me self-realization about everything that goes on in the world and how everything else is different from our lives. I think it’s great that her work shows her life where she’s from, which is Tehran, Iran. Going from where she’s from and how different it is from the U.S., I was moved by her collection, “Nature’s Cadence.” It brings out the beauty of life like succulents. After a while, it blooms which is sort of like her. Going through hard times while being in the U.S., it’s like the succulent before blooming. After getting through the struggles, it has now bloomed once she was at ease. Showing the struggles and overcoming adversity is what I really enjoyed about this video and it’s possible to get through anything as long as you continue fighting through it.

  47. Christopher Yuen

    Watching this interview really made me interested about Mahsa Soroudi’s life away from Tehran. Seeing that she moved away and left so much behind but can still learn to thrive 7,500 miles away is truly inspiring and I can completely see why she resorted to plants as a safe haven and way to express her discomfort during the beginning of her major change. Like I have said in previous posts, I believe nature is totally a form of art and we can see that here in Soroudi’s work. She seems to embody the same attributes as the plants she has grown: learning to remain resilient in tough times can be synonymous to a plant not having enough water but still surviving, roots can represent being grounded and placing yourself in a new environment can either make or break you, growing from dead leaves can symbolize growing out of an old shell, and simply growing is relating to the way we grow ourselves. I can see that Mahsa uses the succulents as a mirror for her own self and how she carries throughout life. Succulents are a great example, because they are found everywhere and can adapt to so many different environments. They are small but have so much strength and will to grow, and maybe Mahsa finds inspiration in this. Thank you for sharing, I feel like having these small companions may very well be the next thing on my list to do.

  48. Kaya Quarles

    After watching Mahsa Soroudi’s interview and hearing about her 7500 miles piece, I went to explore the website. There I found many upcoming artists that had beautiful stories to tell. I really related to Niloofar Mohammadifar’s work “Fireworks.” In this piece, she hits on the idiom, “there’s more than meets the eye.” Although people may seem to be having the time of their life, they can be the most unhappy person in sight. This can go hand in hand with the phrase “fake it til you make it,” which may be true for immigrants, whom have to quickly settle in and try to blend with the new society they are adapting to, all while missing the life and home they left. Going back to Mahsa Soroudi, I really enjoyed “Nature’s Cadence” because she seemed to really be invested in that piece and in her succulents. They kept her grounded and gave her a sense of hope since she was able to relate to them so much and I find that awesome. I am guilty of only judging Iran off of what the media publishes, and I now realize that is not an accurate representation because there are two sides to every story. But I did learn that Tehran is actually quite similar to Los Angeles. Overall, I think that it is beautiful that Mahsa Soroudi is using art to change the way her country and culture are looked at.

    1. Hey Kaya,

      I agree, after watching Mahsa’s interview, i can relate a lot to her experiences and it is such beautiful story of adapting to a new environment and becoming stronger physically and mentally. She seems to be so invested into her succulent and that is her own way of showcasing her art pieces. She symbolizes her succulents as herself and the way she cares for them, they do keep her grounded as a person and artist. I think out of everything, the succulents actually gives her hope and happiness that she was looking for when she was so only as they were a symbol of herself in a dark place. Her view of the succulent growing roots and becoming stronger definitely reflected on her own grow and becoming. Her story is a beautiful way of herself and how far she have come.

      -Tina Tran

  49. Mahsa Soroudi was born into a Muslim family but had a childhood learning about many different cultures. She had explains the differences in cultures and how different things go on around us and many people are unaware of that. Like many different people she grew up having troubles getting used to different changes in her life. Through the use of art she explains how she was able to become comfortable in the US and fill the emptiness in her heart. She showed how a plant is able to survive in any environment as long as the conditions are right. She compared her life to the life of a plant and was able to learn from a single plant that anyone could become comfortable with a life changing event.

    1. Jacqueline Sanchez
      Hi Daniel V.,
      I agree with being fascinated by her art project, “Nature’s Cadence”. I think “Nature’s Cadence” is a beautiful metaphor for her life as an immigrant that many people in a similar situation can relate to. It is inspiring an inspiring and uplifting piece that reminds us that something beautiful can survive in harsh conditions.

  50. Demi Kong

    Mahsa Soroudi is an absolutely incredible and inspiring individual. Her story of her leaving her hometown, Tehran is uplifting because she did not leave necessarily for escape, but for opportunity. She knew there was more out there for her than what she could find in her home country so she left to pursue new things. Soroudi’s connection to her succulents is very encouraging. There was a period of time where she did not do anything for the succulents so she and her succulents were in a “drought” yet somehow, her succulents still thrived and that allowed Soroudi to get back on her feet and create. In the interview, she let us know that succulents grow from an individual leaf that will not become a part of the new plant, it is just a host for the new plant to get its nutrients and Professor Zucman called it a metaphor for her immigrant experience. While I think that is absolutely true, I think it can also be a metaphor for her art project, “7,500 Miles.” In this online project she is showcasing artists that are Iranian women to erase stereotypes and who are not influenced by politics. I think the individual leaf is a metaphor for Soroudi being the leaf to help other artists grow through this platform and they will hopefully go even further to continue their art without the assistance of Soroudi’s project. I absolutely admire “7,500 Miles” because it is doing what women should be doing everywhere, empowering each other. Soroudi also wants to emphasize through this project that these Iranian women are not meant to be seen as “exotic.” They are human beings that do not deserve to go through life being stereotyped by the media everywhere. While Mahsa Soroudi’s art is simple, there is so much culture and experience behind it which so moving. I hope one day I can be like her and create opportunities for other women to take advantage of.

  51. Marcelo Ceballos Jr.

    Hearing Mahsa’s story it is really inspirational to see someone come out of a dark place. She really explains how focusing on something or a goal helped her get out of her emotional rut and get back out there and express her art. Although she wasn’t necessarily running for her life she knew that she wanted to leave and get out in the world. I felt connected to her because, although I am not in danger or have to move I want to explore other places and cultures. I also felt connected to her because I also take care of plants, trying to get them to take root and become self-sustaining. I think that she had the same thoughts I did when spending time with plants that they are a kind of metaphor for life because it goes on and even if things seem bleak, they find a way to keep living. I also find her work with the 7500 miles project really important in changing the mass perception of art in Iran. Personally, I had no idea that Iran had such a large art culture. I am glad that I now know about this movement and hope to see it grow over time so that others can celebrate and experience such distinct culture and art.

    1. Yuliana Torres

      Hey Marcelo,
      I can agree with Sorodui and you, as succulents do tend to resemble a formation of art. Art is an ongoing genre and is constantly adapting everywhere. I am deeply connected with my plants, as o enjoy to see the growth and beauty it tends to blossom. Her 7500 miles project speaks much louder than words can. It demonstrates the importance in of art going on in Iran. I am also happy to hear the large artistic culture Iran maintains.

  52. I found this interview with Mahsa Soroudi’s to be very uplifting. She took inspiration from her plants to help her move forward. Succulents are able to adapt to new environments and are able to survive without water for a longer period of time than most other plants. Like showed in the beginning of the video, the leaves that had fallen off also served as a “host” for the roots of another succulent that would sprout later on. Mahsa, being an immigrant from Iran, had a hard time adapting to a new environment. Even though she enjoyed living in Iran, she wanted to explore other places, rather than just growing in her home country. I can’t relate to her even though, I am an immigrant too. I left my home country at a much younger age, so I was able to adapt quickly to a new country. She, however, was already an adult and she went through a different perspective. She also states in her website that these plants taught her how to remain “beautiful and strong while struggling to grow roots and adapt to a new home.”
    I also have succulents hanging out in my bedroom balcony and I water them once in a while, but I don’t pay much attention to them. They’re quite amazing little plants since I have had them since December 2014. However, with having seen Mahsa Soroudi’s Nature Cadence’s project, I will definitely take better care of them.

  53. Mahsa Soroudi has a very unique perspective on art. Her ongoing project called 7500 Miles brings a lot of women experience and universal problems to the light. On the http://www.7500miles.org/ webpage it say how they are not using the “exotic card” and I like that because there are artist that will use a sexual appeal to get their point across or even just get the audience attention. This may be a controversial topic but Kanye West is consider an artist and for a new song Fade the music video is a woman dancing in the gym half naked. I personally dont understand how the video connect to the lyrics. I feel like he is using the “exotic card”, like Mahsa would say, to grab the viewers attention. Their may be some correlation but I have yet to find one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxGvm6btP1A Here is a link to the video for people that have not seen the video yet. There may be a few people that disagree and that’s okay with me because art is all about perspective and seeing things from a different view point. Going back to Mahsa i like how shes avoid the “exotic card” and using art as a way to show the world from a woman point of view and what they experience through out their lives.

  54. Jacqueline Sanchez

    I found Mahsa Soroudi’s story to be very positive, powerful, and inspiring. With all the negative misconceptions and connotations attached to the middle east, it is very uplifting to hear that her experiences, memories, and her relationship with her hometown are positive ones. This particular part of the interview really stood out to me because I can relate with her experience. Being of Mexican descent, I understand first hand how it feels to see the rest of the world stereotype your culture. The stories on the news do not represent my experience with my culture; my memories and experiences are all very happy. For this reason, I find it very powerful and inspirational for her to use her art to show the world the reality of her culture, to open peoples eyes and allow them to see beyond the misconceptions and stereotypes.

  55. Linda-Linh Nguyen
    I thought Mahsa Soroudi was very inspiring and thought that her succulents were amazing and gorgeous. Her story of being able to find strength in watching her succulents fight for survival really touched me since I personally have been facing a hard time currently and by looking at her succulents and hearing her story, it really helped me come to terms and gave me the strength to follow the succulent’s and her lead. While her work was simple, it said a million things as it held her experiences in life within them. I always have had an admiration for succulents for their cuteness and resilience but they never held meaning for me till today. I have always thought about transforming my backyard into a succulent garden to make it more drought friendly but never really had the motivation to actually to it until now. Like most people see the rose as the symbol of love, I now see the succulent as a symbol of strength and perseverance.

  56. Tina Tran

    Agreeing with a lot of people, Mahsa Soroudi’s “Nature Cadence” is pretty inspiring in which she sees so much of herself in the succulents she takes care of. Her succulents were beautiful and the conceptual ideas in her project reflect her way of work through forms of art. Being from another country, Mahsa’s project symbolizes the feeling of being homesick and when the succulent does not grow and the roots not being well-grounded can be considered as a metaphor for being an immigrant in a new country and having no strong foundation and not developing as an individual. As Mahsa mentioned, the succulent in new soil did not grow for a while and suddenly it made a strong development and it was able to develop its foundation through roots and starting to feel more at home in a new place. Mahsa’s story really resonated with me because I was brought over to the US as a young child, not remembering much of my childhood before the event. However, I did remember spending a lot of time alone in my room being so out of place where I was and slowly developing relationships around me to become who I am today and I am grateful to the experiences I had and everything I came to be.

  57. Briana Garcia

    I must be honest and say that before watching this video, I hadn’t met or learned anything about someone from Iran. Whenever I would hear that country being named I automatically think negative things because it is based on what I have been exposed to. However, hearing Mahsa Soroudi’s view on her country, from someone who experienced it first hand, I can see that it may not be exactly how we are made to believe. She has made me realize that being exposed to something unfamiliar is not always a bad thing. What we hear and what we see, may not always be completely accurate. We should experience it on our own and then form an opinion. It is a good thing to be exposed to different cultures, beliefs and people. I think it was interesting how something so natural can become art. This says to me that in this case, it was more about a story, experiences, and emotions. The message she sends is powerful and can be taken in many different ways. It’s inspiring.

  58. Yuliana Torres

    I can definitely sayMarsha Soroudi is my type of artist. I find so inspiring how she uses a natural element as her art. I appreciate and understand her need to comfort herself in a place other than her home in Iran, and found succulent plants to do the trick for her homesickness. Planting new roots in an unfamiliar environment is the best way to settle in. Soroudi explains her relationship with plants, embedded her to remain true to herself and grow stronger, just like there plants have resembled this. Professor Glenn also stated, as both the plants and Soroudi were both in the same phase at the sametime. As Sorodui did not find her calling in the United States, her plants grew dry and dull. After seeing her plants entering the line of death, she began to care for them and fortunately found her passion and viewed it as a formation of growing artwork. In the first show of Soroudi’s succulents, she shows us her single leaf succulents planted individually within a plastic egg carton. What I find amazing is, some leaf succulents are blooming even without having planted any roots. I love succlents, probably just as much as Sorodui, I have my entire backyard planted as long with a few in a my room. I find them to be relaxing and appealing to the eye.

  59. Abigail Manuel

    Mahsa Soroudi’s perspective on succulents and the power of the beauty of the natural world is something that hasn’t ever really crossed my mind. I’ve always loved the look of succulents and plants, but only recently started putting an effort into taking care of these plants. I love the concept of comparing plants to life experiences that shape us to be the people that we are today. The resilience that the plant inspires is definitely something that deserves to be spoken about as widely as possible.

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