Mandy Wong

Culture Editor at Unrated, Born and raised in L.A 🇺🇸

A Feeling of Anxious Loneliness in Illustrator Tishk Barzanji Surreal Landscapes

We’re all familiar with the feeling of loneliness and of anxiety, which is why the artwork of Kurdish illustrator Tishk Barzanji is as easily relatable in the emotions it elicits as it is good looking aesthetically. While generally minimalistic in its approach, Barzanji’s use of pastel colors, shading and the constructs of his urban landscape offer much more to the eye, followed by the aforementioned feels that offer an almost sombre familiarity; a memory of sitting along in the light of a sunset or floating face-up in a swimming pool as your mind wanders into depths not often explored.

While there are surely elements of familiarity, Barzanji’s work also bears surreal spatial designs of abstract architecture–inspired by brutalist architecture–from Escher-esque staircases to multi-layered complexes that fuse photographic imagery with hand-drawn watercolour or acrylic–which then receives added digital colour. Of what Barzanji, who moved from his birthplace of Iraq to London in 1997, has to say about his canvas-based constructs: “The shapes of structures, for example the shape of an alley way, can make you walk in a certain way. I wanted to create a world where there are no boundaries for space and colour, everything colliding with free will,” he tells It’s Nice That. Check out some examples of his work throughout, then head over to the original article for more words from Barzanji himself.

Mandy Wong

Culture Editor at Unrated, Born and raised in L.A 🇺🇸