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Thank you for visiting my project. I am Diba Salimi the designer and artist behind “Surena”. Through this project I am hoping to make my art accessible by designing products that play parts in your lives.
/ ’soorenä’ / The heroic one, Avestan sūra (strong, exalted); Also known as Rustaham was son of Arash, commander in chief, next to king and the head of diplomatic missions. You can learn more about him by visiting the website.
I had three sources of inspiration for drawing these portraits:
First, historic records of Persian legends. I've researched etchings, archaeological images, remaining statues, books and stories of these people to picture their appearances.
Second, Iran’s most precious form of art: Persian rugs. When I was a child my lovely grandmother sat me by her rug frame (called “daar”) and taught me how to weave a rug and read patterns. I've been bewitched by that art since.
Third, my love and passion for this inherited art and history. It excites me to finally find my original style of drawing. I constantly seek opportunities to make this art accessible through my designs.
Each suit is marked by a Tazhib element which is also used in Persian rug patterns. Each of them depicts a unique time in Persian History. In your deck you will find:
- Spade: Achaemenid
- Club: Sassanian
- Heart: Zand
- Diamond: Safavids
In the video, you might have noticed that I mistakenly mention 'Abbasids'. Unfortunately I found out about my mistake after the video production was completed and couldn't fix it. I wanted to clarify that Diamonds represent "Safavids" dynasty.
Design of Jokers is based on a traditional Eslimi element called “Botteh”.
Detailed with intricate patterns, the two color theme backs has luxurious looks with gold accents.
Drawing these portraits was a year-long journey of going through buried tales in history books. I wanted to share my process and inspirations with you, so I designed a book to compliment the collection. The book tells short stories of each of the face-card characters. My goal is to have these stories constructed in a casual but mystic tone to achieve a level of stickiness not found in typical story books.
In Partnership with Ramin Takloo
I am very excited to announce my partnership with Prof. Ramin Takloo-Bighash in writing the Surena story book.
Ramin Takloo-Bighash is a professor of mathematics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University in 2001, and subsequently taught at Princeton from 2001 to 2007 before moving to Chicago. Other than mathematics, he is interested in literature, history, and music. His other ongoing projects include a translation of Shahram Shaydai's "Laughing in the burning house" (with Amy Grupp) from Persian to English, and a novella about his experiences growing up in the south of Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. He is also a member of the Middle-East Music Ensemble at the University of Chicago. He and his family live in Evanston, IL.
(Renderings of the book below, contain place holder texts and does not display the actual stories of the book. Final writing and editing will be finished towards the end of the campaign)
Design of the front and back are from Persian rugs, but the inspiration for the sides comes from the common practice in the industry where the designers/artisans leave their signature at the end of the rug where the loose strands are. The signed end usually indicates rug's city of origin and designer. From the sides the boxes look like this:
- 52 cards
- 2 different Jokers
- Printed with USPCC - Bicycle grade, MAGIC finish
- 2 back colors, Gold & Indigo
- The Surena Book
For my 10 biggest supporters I will hand draw, sign and frame one of your selected characters from the deck.
Special edition prints of drawings will also be offered as Rewards. These prints will be in 11 x 17 size. I will sign the back of these prints upon your request.
The tazhib, calligraphy and selected poetry around the art is conceptual and may vary during final painting and production.
Surena on Manoto TV (in Farsi) :
How to Back Surena Tutorial
Many thanks to two of my favorite talents:
Video : Sarunas Daugirdas – www.elevantproductions.com
Music : Kc Daugirdas – www.daugirdasmusic.com
Also thanks to:
Mi-Te Printing of Chicago: for helping me print and make prototypes for this project
Risks and challenges
My goal is to have my cards printed through United States Playing Card Company by March 2014 and complete my shipments in April. However, USPC have warned me about possible delays as they have a lot of orders in line. I delayed my launching date to make sure I have finished designing all the cards, test printed and made them ready for print to avoid delays that might be caused from my side. I will keep my backers updated with timing and expected delivery dates as soon as it is funded.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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