Meeting Author Azar Nafisi

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Several months ago I was asked to donate an artwork for an appreciation gift to Azar Nafisi, one of the visiting authors at The 2013 Festival of the Literary Arts in Winter Park, Florida.  Winter With the Writers | Rollins College  I love culture and literary adventures, so I agreed to give an art work.  I also read two of her books.

Azar Nafisi is an Iranian Academic and best selling author who emigrated to the USA from Iran in 1997.  “Reading Lolita in Tehran” journals how Azar boldly inspired her devoted students in her home.  Together she and her young friends secretly explored the forbidden western classic writings including: Austin, Bronte, James and Nabokov.

 “Things I have been Silent About” is Azar’s story of growing up in Iran against a background of Iran’s political Revolution.  Her mother had a term in Parliament. Her father, once the Mayor of Tehran, was jailed when the next regime took over.

“In one way or another we articulate what has happened to us through the kind of people we become.” ~ Azar Nafisi.

Her quote reminded me of my father’s quote: “What you are, you teach!” ~ Herman Betschen.

Both of our fathers told us stories while growing up and they were life time learners. Azar’s Father, while in jail, studied French and German,  read classic literature and history, wrote poetry and painted.

I felt connected to Azar Nafisi and posted a comment on her web site:Azar Nafisi, Offical Website of the Author of Reading Lolita in Tehran.  I wrote how I enjoyed her literary works and how we both appreciated our fathers. I did not mention that she would be receiving one of my art works.

Azar Nafisi

Intern Writers and Professors at Rollins College: Winter Park FL

On Thursday, February 28, 2013, I attended the afternoon session with the intern writers at Rollins College.  Azar Nafisi was a charming and witty mentor to the students. She was delighted with the framed giclee print “When the People Care.”  

It turns out that she had visited my web site after I wrote on her blog. “When the People Care,” was on my home page at that time and Azar told me how much she had admired that piece.  She gave me a warm hug and signed her books in Persian for me. The Evening Session at Tiedtke Concert Hall, was totally inspiring. Thanks to Randi Cruz, The Rollins Intern who arranged for the art donation, meeting Azar Nafisi was a memorable adventure.


Manhole Covers Fascinate Bobbi Mastrangelo (You Tube 2:00)

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

My first TV Interview was by Karen Hasby in her Newsday Office in 1983.  She reviewed the  “Classic Works” covering traditional themes such as flowers and cathedrals.  Karen  delved into my Picassoesque “Mod Works.”  But it was my unusual new theme of grates, water covers and manhole covers that caught her attention.

You can view the video on You Tube:  Bobbi Mastrangelo Grateworks Beginnings – YouTube

Images of all three of my art periods are archived here: Interview with contemporary artist Bobbi Mastrangelo, ‘the grate’

I was really excited about my second TV Interview to be taped at our St. James Home in January 1987. In preparation I bartered with an artistic rug company who designed a  roadscape with a yellow stripe across the gray carpet. So when were they available to install their creation? You guessed it!  The morning of the Interview. Every floor bound item and the furniture had to be removed. But when the gray and black grate, artist brush and the white script for “Grate Works” appeared in the carpet, I was thrilled and energized. In short order the studio was ready for guests.

 Bobbi Mastrangelo in her “Upstairs Studio” January 1987

Bobbi Mastrangelo in her St. James Studio

“We’re hungry!  Do you know of a good pizzeria?” So we drove to Smithtown.  Before we ate, Bob Johnson photographed people walking over manhole covers and cars speeding over them. During lunch, Rosemary Gomez casually inquired about my art theme and explained their goals.  After lunch we drove back to St. James where they filmed me doing a rubbing of a manhole cover.

Back at my home they taped  me in the upstairs carpeted studio and in the basement print shop. They added photos of my art work, manhole cover fashions and the manhole cover bedspread in our son’s room. In my guest book, Rosemary Gomez said her favorites were “When the People Care,” “A Piece of the Road” (the rusty grate with litter) and everything else. Bob Johnson wrote that “Hopscotch” was his favorite. Just seeing their autographs in my Guest Book triggers memories of a very special afternoon.

Bobbi Mastrangelo in her Print Shop

Dear Viewers:  after watching the News 12 video, please share your favorite aspects or favorite artwork in the comment section.  Manhole Covers Facinate Bobbi Mastrangelo – YouTube



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