BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT | YALDA SEPAHPOUR
I was not fully dedicated to the arts during the first two years of art school—I only completed my assignments. A year later, I met Grigoriy Karapetyan at Laguna College of Art and Design. He made me appreciate classical art and taught me how to paint. His dedication was incredibly inspirational. I quit my job at the cafe and decided to give myself a month to see if I could fully dedicate myself to the arts. I set the condition that if I was not productive in creating work during that month and continued to waste time, I would need to get another job.
I started working from my garage but this soon became problematic as the association and neighbours started to complain, and I was forced out. I had to quickly settle for a new space so I rented a studio inside a woodshop. From this point on, all of my time was devoted to my drawing and painting. In addition to this work, I was also a full-time student. Unfortunately, the work I was creating on my own was not accepted by my school, and so my workload was always doubled. But, rather than discourage me, I only applied myself more. I had never worked this hard.
It was during this time that I began painting the Guerillas (2017) and coincidentally met Eve-Marie, founder of Simard Bilodeau Contemporary, whose gallery was right across from my woodshop studio. She had come to my studio to ask if I could model for one of her artists and saw the work I was producing for the first time. She was intrigued by Guerillas. I told her if she was interested she could come by and see the piece in a few weeks as it developed. “I don’t want to get your hopes up Yalda but I am thinking about taking you to the LA Art show.” I could not believe this. “Can you finish this in a few weeks?” I responded with a strong yes. I worked even longer hours and managed to finish the piece.
At the end when the painting was finished I stepped back and I was incredibly proud. The painting sold within the first 30 minutes of the VIP opening night at the LA Art show to a very successful artist and collector. After that Eve-Marie gave me more opportunities that made me push and challenge myself. If it wasn’t for learning from Grigoriy, getting kicked out of the garage, meeting Eve-Marie at the studio and her belief in me, I may not have reached this breakthrough.
from EVE-MARIE BILODEAU
Eve-Marie Bilodeau | Gallery Owner at Simard Bilodeau Contemporary | August 18, 2018
When I discovered Yalda’s work I was struck. As gallery owner, I travel a lot and exhibiting in many art fairs in Asia and America and not often do I come across works that strikes me. When I saw Guerrillas, a diptych that Yalda was in the process of doing in her tiny studio, I knew I was finding an amazing artist, and she was only 20 years old.
I asked her if she was interested in showing her work at the LA Art Show only 3 weeks later, even though I had already planned the exhibit, my gut feeling was telling me that I was doing the right thing. But at no time did I expect such a success! Like Yalda explained, her painting sold only 30 minutes after the VIP Event Opened. And it was purchased by a very famous artist himself that kept promoting her through Instagram, bringing additional opportunities. During the fair, her painting was so powerful that we built up a waiting list for her next paintings. And the same happened at Art Beijing a few months later.
I always say that Yalda is not only beautiful outside but as much inside and I think that it is the purity of her soul that is reflected in each one of her painting. I have witnessed how her creative language is universal. Her work speaks to all different cultures, languages, genders, social background. That keeps amazing me. Her work is already part of prominent collections in the US, Canada, Europe, Dubai, and China.
Since then, that was 1.5 years ago, we pre-sale most of Yalda’s paintings. She has attracted the attention of recognized collectors and has been commissioned large-scale paintings as well. Now that she has graduated in fine arts, she can dedicate all of her time to her passion. We are in the preparation of her first solo exhibition that will be hosted in November this year. This will be another important step in her young career.
Born and raised in Teheran, Iran, Yalda Sepahpour comes from a family that is open to the world and its variety of cultures. Art became a passion for her at 8 years old when she had her first awakening.
Once it was time to enter college, her parents sent her to study in Switzerland, offering their daughter the best education possible. At school, she had the opportunity to have a very critical art teacher, pushing her further in technique and her creative process.
When she started painting with one continuous line on the canvas, British tutor, Preece, told her that she had something interesting going on, which provoked a spark into her creative mind. Exploring this element, it allowed her to discover a new world of artistic experiments.
In 2015, she seized the opportunity to continue her studies at LCAD in California, where all of her family joined her to start a new life.