Mehrdad Dabbagh was born and raised in Iran. He had a privileged childhood living through the Iran's golden years. At an early age, Merhdad was exposed to a variety of cultures, traditions, art forms and people. His Father, a successful businessman, hired French trained architects to build the family home. Impressed with the connection of form and artistic expression, Mehrdad became inspired to pursue the arts as his calling in life. He ultimately left Iran during the pre-revolutionary times to continue his education in Europe.
While attending boarding schools in England and Switzerland, Mehrdad developed close relationships with friends from multitude of cultures and countries. Traveling was a very important aspect of his formative years, providing a valuable life education that he otherwise wouldn’t have received. Memorable experiences include living on the Stratford Upon Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace, and attending performances of the Nutcracker and Swan Lake in Moscow. Moving to Southern California in 1979 proved to be a pivotal point in Mehrdad’s life. He came for the summer and stayed for life.
As a Southern California Institute of Architecture graduate, Mehrdad is a trained architect who has worked in the field for many years. He started his own design-build business as well as serving as a co-founder of Green Sandwich Technologies, a cutting edge environmental building material company. Protecting and celebrating nature has always been an essential part of Mehrdad's life. Green Sandwich Technologies was more than a business venture; it was part of his personal journey to connect with nature through sustainable practices.
Mehrdad's life story is about personal growth and spiritual awakening. Even with his blessed upbringing in Iran and cultural experiences of his youth, Mehrdad didn’t truly wake up until the mid-nineties on the beaches of Venice and through the voices of the spiritual poets of his youth.
Sometimes prosperity and fortune hit road bumps and take unexpected turns, as is the case with Merhdad. Finding himself homeless on the Venice beach proved to be a very dark, but in retrospect invaluable, time in his life. These times were painful and stirred considerable reflection as the days merged into each other. "Who am I and what is my purpose in life," were his prevailing thoughts as Merhdad looked out over the Pacific Ocean. His seeking finally paid off when he found, as if by pure synchronicity, the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi.
Rumi believed passionately in the use of music, poetry, and dance as a path for reaching the Divine or Beloved. For Rumi, music helped devotees to focus their whole being on the Divine, and to do this so intensely that the soul was both annihilated and resurrected. Rumi teaches about the mystical journey of spiritual ascent through mind and love to the Perfect One. In this journey, the seeker symbolically turns towards the truth, grows through love, abandons the ego, finds the truth, and arrives at the reunion with the Beloved. Rumi lit the flame of inspiration, and the Persian poet, Saharkhizan, connected the mystical to the temporal. One night at 3am, on the pitch-black beach in the rain, Mehrdad went looking for and found the "Bringers of the Dawn." It was at this moment that his spiritual awakening truly began. Ever since then, Mehrdad goes to the beach in the early morning to connect with the Bringers of the Dawn. As first light spread its wings across the tides and sand, it is a coming to enlightenment. What gives Merhdad his unique artistic style is the infusion of such feelings and experiences.
Once again, Merhdad's life took a new path. This one was centered in Persian mysticism, spiritual reflection and artistic expression. The artistic style that matured in his work captured his clear life's purpose.
Brush Strokes and Lay-La:
When you look at Mehrdad’s paintings, focus on the brush strokes. They are unorthodox, but fully imbued and saturated with feeling. The work is not intended to depict the specific, but rather to express the eternal. The style is called "Lay-la", which in Sanskrit means "to create and destroy." Learned from his mentor, Rassouli, the brush strokes style reflects a life approach - having no attachment on the canvas. To be open to everything and attached to nothing is the very essence of Mehrdad’s artistic expression.
Images that emerge through Lay-la are pure experiences; nothing pre-determined. After having these visions, Mehrdad paints as if he is merely a channel thru whose consciousness colors are pouring out. Mehrdad is simply the conduit for their manifestation. Mehrdad paints to share an intimate part of him with all humanity. He sees joy in Sharing his personal journey, the lessons he has learned and his awakening to reaching the Perfect One.