Words by Natalia Lehaf
Some mistake the line for its simplicity, and too easily overlook its deeper complexities. Not Abe Negaran, an engineering student from New Jersey. For him, the line is therapeutic. It is the center of his artwork, and in some instances, the entirety of his work. Negaran began drawing in 2009 when he was 16. His work was sporadic and began on paper. It wasn’t until 2015 that he began to draw on a more regular basis and likewise began experimenting with objects.
Negaran’s patterns look simple at a glance, but are intricate and rich upon closer examination. No two designs are alike, but each hold the familiar maze of dots, shapes, and forms that serve as Negaran’s signature style. Every detail holds meaning; even the spaces comprise shapes. These labyrinths bring to mind an aesthetic Geometry textbook. Contrary to mathematics, Negaran’s work is freehand and lacks conformity. His color choices disobey symmetrical rules: he opts for a range of color harmonies, including complementary and analogous schemes. When he draws solely with a black pen, his work is monochromatic; the intensity and value of the color vary throughout. Notwithstanding, his brushstrokes are invariably smooth and delicate – a finesse acquired by the precision in his toil.
Despite his arduous form, Negaran finds drawing on objects – particularly fragile objects – thrilling. It’s this excitement that motivates him to keep drawing in his intensive manner. Patience is key, he asserts. His drawings range from 45 minutes to 84 hours; the length of time mainly depends on the object his is drawing on. Cigarettes are on the lesser scale; chicken eggs somewhere in the middle; ostrich eggs on the longer side.
When he draws on these objects, he uses pins and toothpicks to mend his mistakes. He also needs to spray acrylic paint after he finishes each portion of an object to avoid smudging. (Smudges can take hours to fix sometimes.) Although smudges are not his only concern: dropping eggs can eradicate a piece and force him to start over completely.
Whether he has finally finished a piece or is on hour 15 with many more to go, he is fully content with his work. The process satisfies him just as much as the final product. Currently, Negaran is exploring new territory, using both objects and his environment to continue his designs.
Follow Abe Negaran on Instagram for more of his artwork.