Exclusive Interview: Parvez Taj
Trends & Events
Finding fresh, exciting ways in which art is presented and created isn’t easy in an age where it seems like nearly everything’s been tried, but we think Parvez Taj has done it. A whip-smart businessman with a ton of creativity and skill, Parvez Taj’s work is gritty, bold, artistic, urban and chic. Perfect for a hip, modern dwelling, his work–which spans from wall art to lighting to sleek, lighted home accessories–actually fits in with a number of different home styles.
We caught up with Parvez, who has a good-looking new line out this spring, to ask him a little bit about his inspirations, his background and what makes his work so darn unique. No audio this time (text found below), but check out this cool video of his Spring 2012 line:
2Modern: You’ve got a pretty varied and interesting background that involves photography, the fashion field…go into what you’ve done before you became an artist.What’s your background like?
Parvez Taj: I started interning with Big fashion houses like Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss–and really enjoyed the energy around these artist endeavors–that produced a product that served a purpose–and made people feel happy. Like bringing flowers into the world. I then starting working with production designers. Was an artist for fashion shows , photoshoots and big events. We were doing the best of the best in NYC–so because we had so much budget it was super creative–which was a good lesson for me to learn about the connection between the two.
2M: When did you first feel the call of a creative lifestyle?
PT: Always really–but I didn’t grow up around anyone who was creative for a living. So I didn’t quite connect one with a job. It also took me a while to find my medium…
2M: So talk about the inception of this company. When did you know you could start a company selling art like this and survive?
PT: I don’t think you ever “know” something–but I was a child of the polo shirt Ralph Lauren/Calvin Klein era–and I understand style, quality and price. I was having a lot of fun creating these artworks, and I thought perhaps I could the take the principles of fashion–apply them to my artwork, sold as an accessory of furniture–and have a real business.
2M: I love your art not just because it’s aesthetically beautiful, but because you have a lot of interesting techniques. You could say it’s really these pioneering techniques that make your work stand out so much. Could you go into details about those techniques?
PT: Emerging technologies create emerging markets–UV inks give me the ability to print on virtually anything because the ink does not need to have a relationship with the substrate. These printers have only been around for a few years–and I am one of the first people to use them as a fine art medium. ALSO–the way that I create my designs is my own style.
2M: Your art, aided by your techniques, definitely looks like it comes from a number of inspirations. What are some of the things you get your inspiration for your designs and pieces from?
2M: What’s your work space like?
PT: I live on a cliff…in the Hollywood Hills…in what feels like a Tree House…overlooking the city. I put up reclaimed wood on all the ceilings and trim; there are concrete floors, antique Morrocan lights everywhere–and my art is up and leaning on every wall–pretty great place to be.
2M: What kind of environment do you enjoy working in?
PT: Little distractions, with wifi.
2M: And you’ve spoken a bit to me before about what all it is you actually do as the leader of your company; you like handling pretty much every aspect of your business, right?
PT: I have lots of people that work for me–and I sort of production manager them. Actually production managment is a lot of what I do–and its not that sexy–but meeting obligations to my clients is one of the most important things we do to stay in business.
2M: Was it a plan from the very beginning to be an artist whose work could be enjoyed by a wide range of customers, both in tastes and budget?
PT: It really was–and that model has not changed in the ten years that I’ve been working on it.
2M: Let’s talk more details about your work; I know you’ve got some eco-friendly elements that come in with some of the ink you use, correct?
PT: UV inks are eco-friendly because they do not have solvents. We have some products that are either sustainably harvested or reclaimed. CB2 just picked up a sku that was reclaimed douglas fur from a local Southern California building…and the entire piece will be constructed in Cal.
2M: So I know you started with creating work to be hung on walls, but you’ve since expanded into lighting, the awesome side table/sculptural cubes…do you want to expand to a lot of different home elements or are you just taking it one idea at a time?
PT: One idea at a time. I want to mature the line gradually—so it evolves more organically. I once read that you should decorate your home a little at a time–which I like, and believe in–and have applied [that idea] to my line. I believe the furniture industry is in its infancy—and things are about to get really interesting. So I would like to catch that wave and see where it goes. Ralph Lauren started his business with the neck tie–wait… Didn’t Mugatu from Zoolander as well? Hah.
2M: Thanks, Parvez!