I think February is the perfect month to highlight contemporary artist Ali Sabet. Ali is known for incorporating his unique “love script” into his paintings. It started with a love symbol that came to him – the word love looked like a person holding the equal sign. He called it Love equals service and embedded it in all of his art work. Soon four more love symbols came and over time, this gave way to his unique love script. A script rooted in LOVE that he can fluently write and paint. Owners of the paintings have shared with him stories of how they found their name or a message in different languages.
His paintings are breathtaking. To watch Ali work is an experience. He is in a state of joy as the brush strokes create his next masterpiece. The love script that is incorporated in his artwork just flows from him like poetry. I think at some point he will be known as one of the great contemporary artists of our time.
Ali was born in Tehran. Like many, he still vividly remembers his childhood being deeply affected by the war. “One minute you are watching TV and the next minute, you hear a bomb nearby.” He remembers doing sketches in his school books of tanks and airplanes. His homework always included his sketches. He admits that he didn’t always have the best grades but his teachers always noted something positive about the drawings in his work. His mom has kept all of his early drawings.
His family moved to the US when he was 10 years old. He had to learn the language and try to make new friends. He was tall and a bit shy and kids were not always kind to him. He continued to doodle in all of his school books. When his father noticed he liked to draw, he suggested he gets a sketchbook. It became his first official sketchbook.
Today, Ali has a successful ad agency called Sabet Brands. He is also a full-time artist. He loves working with clients to bring their vision to life. As an artist, he gets to focus on bringing his vision to life. He shared with me that he was compelled to hold on to everything he put on paper because it felt significant. Even if he wasn’t in love with it, he kept it.
Ali has a special connection to Japan. He uses a lot of Japanese brushes and Sumi ink in his work. In 2016, he was invited to present his work at the Tokyo International Art Show. He created a beautiful video of his experience:
His move to become a full-time artist was a big deal for him and his family. Ali said, “When I decided to become an artist full time, I made a conscious decision to live like an artist. This changed everything and is when I sold my first major piece.” It takes such courage to live your dream and Ali is an example of what is possible when your follow your gift and passion. This is also the time he started to do collaborations with brands like Mont Blanc, Mercedes Benz and John Varvatos.
Within minutes of meeting Ali, you realize how warm, kind, humble and generous he is with his talent. He donates his work to organizations like UNICEF, Operation Smile, Ronald McDonalds, Pars Equity Center, Moms Against Poverty and the American Cancer Society.