Art is a family affair for Mahmud Rustamov, who produces startling works from the deepest recesses of his imagination
What I create often depends on my mood, or even what I dreamed about the night before. My art is complex – it spans sculpture, graphic art, painting and installation. As far as my style is concerned, I think it’s simply eclecticism. In it, I see social realism, surrealism and art deco, but I don’t like to define it – I think that’s up to art critics, not me.
I was born in Baku in the 1960s into a family full of art: my father, my three uncles, my brother and some of my cousins are all established artists and art experts. Growing up in this supportive hub of creativity allowed me to develop a deep affinity and appreciation for art, and by the time I was 13 I was taking lessons. Later, I studied sculpture at the State University of Art and the State Academy of Art in Baku. I am lucky to have always been immersed in the art world.
Each morning, upon entering my studio in central Baku, which I share with my father and brother, my work happens spontaneously because it is already in my head. Generally I use bronze, marble and, of course, canvas, paper, plastic, wood and rubber. I prefer bronze and stone, however, because I believe there is only enough paper to last us for another hundred years.
Sometimes, after finishing work, I leave my studio and can’t quite fathom that it was actually me who created all that. I’m inspired by anything and everything –whatever is around me. It’s wonderful just to be alive!
Photography by Natavan Vahabova
This story appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Baku magazine.