Nima Jeizan’s sculptures seem to take on lives of their own. In his studio and apartment, every wall is plastered with objects both found and handmade. During a gallery show, wigs and stage props might hang from metal wires. But once Jeizan puts them on, he and his sculptures transform into something completely new.
At VCUarts, Jeizan has had the freedom to explore a unique and multi-faceted approach to the arts. For him, sculpture is one element of a full-bodied practice that uses many different materials—such as metal, glass, mirrors, foam and even pistachio shells—that in turn take shape as costumes, props, decorations and instruments.
As a senior about to graduate from the sculpture program, he reflected on how the department opened up possibilities in performance art and other transdisciplinary projects.
“I was fascinated by the fluidity of the practices I witnessed when I first visited the sculpture department,” he says. “[As a student,] I also loved gaining skills with welding, sewing, woodworking, glass blowing, mold making, and casting.”
In his performances, he wears and wields his sculptures as he moves through gallery spaces, transforming how his body is seen by others. His body is part of his sculpture, just as his sculptures are built to fit his body.
Jeizan’s junior-year performance class with Guadalupe Maravilla, assistant professor of sculpture, proved to be deeply influential. “I loved my peers,” he says, “and our discussions were fulfilling in political and personal matters. That semester taught me so much about my identity as a maker and a performer and I learned to balance them all.”
Jeizan’s busy and colorful workspaces reflect his love of huge thriving cities. In a January interview with photographer Farrah Fox, he explained how moving from Tehran, Iran, to Northern Virginia at age 17 made him miss the “chaos” of city life. In high school, he immediately saved up to spend the summer after his junior year in New York chasing that big city energy. Returning to the bustle of urban life re-energized him, and the work he’s since produced at VCUarts captures the liveliness of a big city.
After graduation, Jeizan plans to return to New York City with hopes of working for a fabrication shop or artist. He’s also applied to a number of northeast sculpture residencies to continue exploring his artistic potential.
“Life is exciting,” he says. “The path might be unknown, but it is important to move forward and find the way that makes us happy and healthy.”