Icy and Sot are two Iranian brothers from Tabriz who are passionate about street art. They paint in their hometown as well as Tehran and other cities across the country, and have exhibited their works in USA, Italy, the Netherlands, France and Brazil. Their stencils often reach a rare level of refinement: with subtle and rich references to Iranian culture, the brothers deal with universal issues such as peace, love, hope and human rights. Mashallah News had the chance to ask them a couple of questions.
How did you start with street art and why did you choose to work together?
It all started in 2005 with practicing skateboarding. We used to watch skateboard videos and play skate video games all the time. In these we saw graffiti and stencils on the walls, which is what initially sparked our interest. We then started doing small things like stickers and amateur stencils that we posted in spots and gathering places where we used to spend time.
The two of us were and are still best friends. When we started, there were very few people who knew what graffiti, stencil and the whole street culture was, and most of these were in our circle of friends. Being brothers helped us a lot because we did everything together – drinking, hanging out and stencilling. Most importantly, we understood each other.
Your videos show that you often spray in the streets of Tehran or Tabriz during daytime. Do you ever face problems?
The main problem for us is that the authorities can charge us with crimes without even knowing what our works are about. They can stick so many irrelevant labels to them, like satanism and political opposition.
How is the street art scene in Iran?
Iran’s street art scene is mainly focused on Tehran: it’s much more common there. But people are starting to understand this art, there are more artists emerging in different places. Artists we like are FRZ, ILL, and Tehran Carnival.