Scratching the Surface: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

June 23, 2015 | Aymann Ismail

ANIMAL showcases a different street artist regularly in our feature, Scratching the Surface. This week, we profile Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Decade you were born in:

City you currently live:
Brooklyn, NY

Drugs or natural highs?
Natural. Hi, mom.

How did you get your name?
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is my birth name. My godmother named me “Tatyana” after a perfume. “Fazlalizadeh” is my Persian father’s name.


Why do what you do?
I create art because I’m good at it and I enjoy it. I create the type of art I do – social/political work around gender and race – because it’s important to me and needs to be done. It’s about creating visibility for the people and stories that are often ignored.

How does your mother feel about your art?
My mother is very proud of me. She’s an artist too and so she’s always been supportive of my work. I’m glad that I can talk to her about the actual content of my work. We can have discussions about feminism, street harassment, gender roles and more. She’s a smart and sweet woman.

Are you making a living off your art? How’s that working out so far?
Yes, in some form or fashion. Whether it’s talking about my art, leasing my art, being commissioned to make new art, or selling my art. It’s working out well. I’ve been freelancing since college, never had a 9-5 job. And while there are ups and downs – slow periods when I’m like, “Hold up. rent is due.” I’m doing alright.

Fuck the art world or embrace the art world?
Both. There are so many different art communities and sub-divisions within the art world. The street art world, the NYC elite art world, the LA art world, the commercial art world, the DIY art world, and so on. I don’t think I’ll ever be a New York art world darling, and that’s fine. So far, I’ve been able to make the work that I want to make – work that is important to me – and it finds itself in front of whichever audience it needs to be in front of. I’m able to understand the significance of all of these different worlds and I find myself bouncing around to the different circles.

Do you bring your smart phone into the bathroom with you? Why?
Yes. It’s my time to scan Amber Rose’s Instagram and catch up on two-day-old text messages.


Do you ever feel like giving up?
No. Sometimes I feel like doing something else, somewhere else. Like moving back to Oklahoma, buying a little house deep in the country, tending to a garden and mowing the lawn, spending my time being in love with some cowboy. Or, moving to a far away tropical place, laying up in a hammock, eating mangoes all day.

But, never giving up. Being a professional artist has a lot of challenges that don’t seem to ever go away. They just move over for new challenges. But making art is what I want to do, and I don’t see myself stopping due to the difficulties.

The type of art I make, how I make it, and where I make it will potentially change, yes. Five years ago, I didn’t know that I’d be making the type of work that I’m making today. Five years from now, my work will evolve even more. But the work will be made. That’s for sure.

Suggest an artist to follow.
The last show I went to that really blew me away was Titus Kaphar at Jack Shainman Gallery. His work is here.