Photo: Winter of 1975

Tehran University, Faculty of Fine Arts

Habib Hastaie was born in Iran and has been lastingly influenced by the sights, sounds, and sensibilities of the rich amalgamation of ancient Persian and modern Iranian cultures. The genesis of Hastaie’s values and worldview can be found in the art and architecture of Iran, the intoxicating verse of the great Persian mystical poets, and the dramatic landscapes that stretch across the Iranian plateau and majestic mountain chains.

Hastaie is a graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tehran University, where he studied sculpture, painting, and design. While recognizing the profound insights garnered from the ancient history and high culture of his home country, Hastaie sought to expand his knowledge and deepen his understanding of the outside world through direct experience. His quest to become acquainted with different cultures and broaden his artistic vision took him to the United States, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Communications from the University of Kansas.

After completing graduate school, Hastaie relocated to the Washington, DC metropolitan area where he worked as an illustrator, art director and creative director for some of the region’s leading educational and non-profit organizations. His designs and illustrations have won numerous awards and been published in a range of journals and magazines. His versatility and ability to adapt metaphor and technique, text and tenor to the diverse subject matter and criteria required by his clients, while utilizing a wide spectrum of media, has contributed to his aesthetic sensibilities.

From 2006-2007, Hastaie had the opportunity to experience yet another culture and way of life when he lived in Baku, Azerbaijan where he joined a group of artists and sculptors that sought to express the whole range of human experiences, from the quotidian to the mystical, from the pedestrian to the sublime.

Still today, Hastaie is animated by the deeply embraced values that he developed during his formative years in Iran. Art is his way of contributing to humanity’s freedom of body, mind, and spirit.

The inspiration, passion and poetic beauty of his art are readily evident, whether in his figurative, portrait, representational, plein aire, or still-life paintings. As a painter, his style and technique are influenced by east and west, imbued with mysticism, vivified by deeply held values, and enlivened by the imagination.

"My paintings spring from a lifelong fascination with life beyond the surface, the nuances of experience, the meaning of existence, and the diverse cultural mores that vivify our shared existence. This fascination, present even in my earliest memories, has greatly influenced my artwork through which I seek to evoke a world beyond the painting itself, a world rich with potentiality. I aspire to invite the viewer into a world beyond the surface, to experience the expansive freedom of the mystical realm.

In my artwork, I celebrate the lush and fruitful diversity of the human experience. Through the creative act, I hope to reveal unity in diversity and diversity in unity, unveil the hidden in the manifest and reveal the manifest in the hidden. Ultimately, I believe that art should uplift and inspire us to bring about a world of mutual respect, social justice, and beauty.”