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Naseem Shahrivar has a passion for painting

By Staff | Sep 20, 2020

Naseem Shahrivar has been developing her art skills since she was a very young growing up in Iowa. She draws, uses watercolors and paints with oils. Most recently she has been busy painting a mural in the town of Winnebago.

An observant person driving north on U.S. Highway 169 through Winnebago might have noticed a new mural being painted on the side of a building located on the west side of the highway.

And readers of the Aug. 31 edition of the Faribault County Register were treated to a photo of the mural along with the artist painting it, Naseem Shahrivar.

Shahrivar, who resides in Blue Earth, began producing artwork at a very young age.

“I started drawing when I was very little,” Shahrivar explains. “I started using watercolors at age 13. I mostly painted landscapes and floral still-lifes. My parents owned an art gallery and would sell my watercolors at the gallery.”

Shahrivar shares she was born in Monroe, Louisiana.

“My father, who is of Turkish and Russian descent, was born in Iran. He came to the United States in the mid 1970s,” Shahrivar says. “He was in his mid 20s and wanted to go to college in the United States and escape the turmoil taking place in Iran.”

She explains how her parents met each other.

“My mother’s dad was an electrician and was looking for help and my father got the job,” Shahrivar shares. “My mom was from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I was born in Louisiana, spent a short time in Oregon, started kindergarten in Cedar Rapids and graduated high school in 1999 from Guttenberg, Iowa.”

Shahrivar’s love of painting may have come from her parents.

“My dad was a painter his whole life,” she comments. “Mom was both a photographer and a painter.”

Shahrivar says she definitely grew up around the arts.

“My parents owned a bed and breakfast and an art gallery in Guttenberg,” she comments. “The art gallery used to be a brewery which was built in 1858, so it had many unique characteristics.”

Following high school Shahrivar attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, where she received her bachelor’s degree in art.

“As I grew older I began painting with oils,” she says. “I progressed to realism paintings and then in college I painted more abstract paintings.”

To say she enjoys painting would be a major understatement.

“It is my passion,” Shahrivar states. “I waitressed for 20 years while painting on the side.”

In addition to painting the mural in Winnebago, she has also painted a mural in a restaurant in Waterloo, Iowa, and an outdoor mural in Guttenberg.

“I have also painted two of the Little Sprouts, the one at the swimming pool and the one at Tafco,” Shahrivar notes. “I am currently painting another Little Sprout but I don’t think I am supposed to say where this one will be placed yet.”

If the weather cooperates she hopes to finish the mural in Winnebago very soon.

“I have lived in the area for about eight years. I like it here. I love the small town atmosphere,” she explains. “I actually was hired to do the mural in Winnebago through word of mouth.”

Though painting may be her passion, Shahriver is not afraid to tackle other projects.

“I like to build things. I am currently helping my 20-year old son build a computer desk,” she remarks. “I also like to work on my own vehicles. My dad was a jack-of-all trades so I learned a great deal from him. I also find the Internet and YouTube to be extremely helpful when I want to work on my vehicle.”

She also enjoys gardening.

“I grow ground cherries, strawberries, green beans, carrots, flowers and cucamelons,” Shahrivar comments. “Cucamelons look like miniature watermelons. They taste like a cucumber but are a little sweeter, maybe with a hint of lime.”

Shahrivar is also working on applying for a short-call substitute teaching license.

“I don’t know that I want to be a waitress my whole life,” she says.

Shahrivar says she was raised Methodist but was exposed to the Muslim religion when her grandparents would visit from Iran.

“They were very strict so I got to see how they practiced their religion,” Shahrivar shares. “My father went back to Iran a couple of times but no longer has any relation living in the country.”

Shahrivar says she currently has a few projects in the works.

“One project involves painting a farm scene for a sign and another project will be creating a rustic flag painting,” she notes. “I also have some smaller jobs I need to complete.”

Currently, Shahrivar’s paintings may be seen and purchased at two different locations.

“I have paintings at Becki Steier’s store, B.S. Studio, in Blue Earth,” she says. “I also have paintings displayed at The Left Hand Bank Gallery in McGregor, Iowa.”

Shahrivar states, that like many artists, she is somewhat of a free-spirit.

“If I could I would live in a little hobbit house and live off of the land,” she says with a smile.