Zayd Depaor Biography

My family originate from West London, with some roots in Ireland and Germany, Celtic and Gothic Art and Architecture have always connected with me along with the style of German expressionism. My mother was a self taught arts and crafts teacher and I have an aunt who was an artist and guide at the Tate national, I only learned of this after becoming an artist though.

I was raised in an area surrounded by natural beauty, architectural excellence and historical significance. These influences all helped to move me towards reflective thought and esoteric expression.

I had a relatively religious upbringing as a Catholic before embracing Islam in my late teens. It was from this point that my interest in Islamic Art and Abstract Expressionism was ignited.

Since my childhood I have been creative minded with a vivid imagination and a particular interest spiritual and religious symbolism. However, it was not until I reached my 30's that I started walk a path on the visual arts, before that time I had been dedicated to research and writing on Islamic culture, theology, law and spirituality.

My deep studies in the Islamic religion as well as my studies into religion in general and the occult have placed me in a position where my inward is imbibed with spiritual allegory expressed in paintings, drawings and now also moving into film and art writing, in particular the Islamic theory and objectives of art along with commentary on my own work.

My art studies are in the following the following fields - occultic symbolism, Islamic Art [Architecture, Quranic Symbolism & Allegory, Calligraphy], French Impressionism, German Expressionism, European Post Impressionism, American Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, Symbolism, Symbolism of Ancient Civilizations.

Some of my favourite artists include Albrecht Durer, Edvard Munch, El Greco, Constable, Turner, Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Whistler and Caspar David Friedrich.

My formal secular education was more in the field of the social sciences, psychology, sociology, economics and politics. My writing and research interests continue to include these things but from alternative angles.

Artist's Statement

I am an artist from London. I am painting major art projects comprising many canvases, individual pieces of art which form a series as one work or an overall theme. I work with Oils, Acrylics, Pencil & Charcoal. I paint in the styles of Symbolic Abstract Expressionism, Symbolic Impressionism, Symbolic Expressionism and Alchemical Symbolism. I also do impressionist drawings on location as well as expressionist/impressionist drawings with an imaginary subject matter. My mother was a self taught crafts teacher in a primary school and I have an aunt whom I discovered was an artist and art guide in the Tate Gallery (National) in London. So perhaps there was some art in the blood, but it didn't arise in me in the form of painting and drawing until I reached my early 30's (last couple of years). My work started off as Symbolic Abstract Expressionism, working with form, colour, shape, movement and gesture to indicate spiritual and religious meanings implied by the Names of Allah from the Qura'n. These paintings inspired by the Names of God and the Qura'n are the main subject of my first major work (which when completed God Willing will amount to about 200 canvases, 200 works in one work). I then started to move towards making more symbolic expressionist pieces (within this first major work) these are works with recognizable reality but removed from reality at the same time due to perspective, colour, exaggeration of form, simplicity of form etc. These works of expressionism convey a symbolism unclouded by the detail from photographic accuracy. Then I started to include more works of symbolic impressionism, where the reality is even closer recognised but where there is no concern for detail, and high accuracy of perspective, proportion etc but only a general impression of it. These works of symbolic impressionism are again representing Islamic signs in the reality and the spiritual and religious analogies they make in Islamic revealed texts and tradition. I have also composed some works on a style I call Islamic Alchemical Symbolism. In these works, known objects from the 'real world' are taken and isolated out of a real setting and are presented as a very specific and detailed symbolism. A little like the medieval alchemical paintings and woodcuts which were highly symbolic but not representing objects in a familiar environment, but instead a concentration on the object itself and its metaphoric and esoteric dimensions and its connection with other realities and concepts. Out of my interest and development of art techniques, theory and philosophy I have also started to make impressionist drawings on location, either townscapes, nature, landscapes or architecture, especially ancient religious buildings. I have drawn many churches, they are not only interesting artisically and architecturally, but their history and atmosphere draws the attention when in their presence. Its almost as if by drawing them or painting them, you connect with their previous craftsmen, masons and artisans and the tradition of combining two intrinsic aspects of the human soul, its spirituality and its artistic and creative capacity. I have no doubt that art is part of the human personality of every human being. I am happy to be a self taught artist, but this does not mean I do not learn from others. Indeed I have many art books on both technique and art movements and styles I am particularly interested in either from a cultural/philosophical view or an aesthetic one (such as the art of Islamic civilization, French Impressionism, Post Impressionism, German Expressionism, American Abstract Expressionism, Symbolism, Surrealism, African Art) and many excellent books on art technique. But I never have the time to read such books it seems. I think it is impossible not to be inspired, motivated and affected by the artwork of artists past and present, this is a good thing and a natural process. However, I make a conscious effort to try and make every work and style original. But we are unaware of what is happening in the subconscious. The majority of my works seem to come from places I am not seeing and so due to this, I have no doubt that final results are from God and that we are just conduits for Divine plans, despite our choices and efforts. I have felt this same outer direction or inspiration with speaking and writing, where words will flow without any conscious effort from my part. Due to this all praise is due to Allah (God) who gave us all ability, eyes, intelligence, creativity and granted success in our works. Indeed Allah is Al Khaaliq [The Creator], Al Khallaaq [The Ever Creating], Ahsan al Khaaliqeen [Most Excellent of Creators] and Al Musawwir [The Fashioner of Forms]. I am interested in the deeper meanings and symbols contained in form, colour, composition and reality itself...I believe we are surrounded by oceans of signs and symbols. Similarly, I am interested in the social, religious, spiritual, psychological, emotional, civilizational and cultural significance of art, artworks and artistic forms in general. Islamic art is much associated with representing beauty, nature, order, purpose and monotheism [tawheed]. But I believe the scope and role of Islamic art and the artistic God-given human element of the human soul includes more than these noble aims. Art (including Islamic Art) can be a representation, a message, a language, a communication, a warning, a glad tiding, an embellishment, a questioning, an exploration, a discussion, a progression, a prayer, a supplication, a reminder, a reflection, a symbol and a trace of the personality and civilization and many more things.