Reza Derakshani (born 1952) is a multi-talented painter, poet, musician and performance artist. Derakshani was born in Sangsar, a small village in the North East of Iran, close to the ancient Khorasan. His nomadic childhood, growing up at the top of a mountain in a black tent among horses and fields of blue and yellow wild flowers, had a significant impact on his artistic perception of natural beauty.
A child prodigy, Reza Derakshani received his first commission at the age of nine and held his first solo exhibition at the age of 19 at the renowned Ghandriz Art Gallery in Tehran, going on to exhibit internationally. Derakshani graduated from the University of Tehran in 1976. He continued his studies at the Pasadena School of Art in California, and returned to Iran to teach at the University of Tehran and the School of Decorative Arts. He left Iran in 1983 following the Islamic Revolution and finally found home in the city of New York in 1985 and lived there for sixteen years.
The artist became engrossed in Abstract Expressionism while living in New York and was soon associated with the revival of painting in the USA and Europe in the 1980s through the Neo-Expressionist style. Whilst being loosely affiliated to the movement and evolving in New York artistic circles with fellow artists and friends Francesco Clemente, Shirin Neshat, Alessandro and Cy Twombly, the experience of emigration led Derakshani to reconnect with his Iranian roots. After experimenting with pure abstraction, the artist devised his personal artistic style blending abstract and figurative elements from both Western and Eastern cultures, thereby creating an idiosyncratic oeuvre at the confluence of civilizations.
The artist subsequently moved to Italy, before returning again to Iran for seven years. He now divides his time between Dubai, UAE and Austin, USA, where in parallel to his career within visual arts, he collaborated with legendary musicians such as John Densmore, the drummer of the Doors, releasing a critically acclaimed album.
Reza Derakshani is known both in the Middle East and in the West as one of the most significant contemporary Iranian artists. His work features in many public art collections including The British Museum, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art; The Russian Museum in St Petersburg, Russia and the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Germany. In addition, the artist has been the subject of two solo exhibitions in 2016 at The State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, Russia and at the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Germany. Derakshani also performed as a musician in numerous museums and festivals such as the Brooklyn Museum and the Montreux Jazz Festival among others. He currently lives and works in Austin, USA.