Behnaz Sohrabian moved to Oklahoma from her native Tehran, Iran, in 2010. She became a citizen in 2017. With the exception of a degree in applied chemistry, she’s trained all her life since age 10 to be an artist. She is comfortable with abstracts, landscapes and still life, but she is best known for her portraits.
“In Iran there were subjects – like nudes – I could not paint,” Sohrabian says. “But when I moved here, my style and technique changed. I moved on from abstract to what I now call expressive realism.”
That style takes its form in Sohrabian’s portraits when she attempts to balance warm and cold colors. An art instructor told her when she was young that as she did more portraiture, she’d come to see cool colors on people’s faces, not just the warm tones associated with portraits. Her portraits are suffused with splashes, slashes and blocks of red, green, blue and yellow.
“I don’t have a preferred palette,” Sohrabian says. “I’ve trained my eyes to look for the cool or cold colors, and I strive for the balance between cool and warm, but often I randomly choose colors, apply them to the canvas, and then build the composition.”