Rassouli is a man of Love. There are many who love but few who truly live it without pretense. He does not put on the airs of a guru, preferring to be called true friend, rather than master. He does not claim to be above morality or humanity, but embraces his human frailties as one who is profoundly humble. He is generous by nature. The highest honor for him is to be a true Lover, and friend.
Rassouli's giclee maker once intimated to me that Rassouli was a very energetic man. I thought about that one for awhile. To me he appeared to move slowly and deliberately from one thing to the next; yet, he never stopped moving. Like a master weaver weaving the threads of life together, he is always weaving, never stagnating. Like his art, he never retraces, erases, or stops what he is doing, but goes on and on in ever new and creative ways. Every day is a busy day for him and he has but 4 hours of sleep each day.
I may be going out on a limb in saying that Rassouli is one of the greatest artists of our time; yet, few artists have taken art so far into the spiritual realm as he. Nor do I claim to be an expert in art criticism but, in my mind, true spiritual art transcends all other art because it transcends the physical, mental and emotional bounds that define most artists and their art.
Take a look at the work of many well-known spiritual and visionary artists today and you will see that it probably started as a fascinating idea or vision the artist had that was rationally illustrated. Take a look at Rassouli's work and you will see art that evolved on the canvas by the "moving finger that writes and having written, moves on. (Omar Kayyam)" The former is executed in the rational realm, while the latter is executed in the irrational, or spiritual realm.
The Eastern Mystical sense of art can be seen in Chinese, Persian, and Zen calligraphy and art wherein the artist puts his whole mind, eye, breath and being into a single, natural stroke. It is executed from a pure, natural state of unfettered being sometimes referred to as satori in Japanese, and fanah in Farsi. It is the moment when all sense of self is completely annihilated and only pure spirit remains.
The ultimate expression of the master artist on earth is to teach the next evolutionary step in artistic expression to all humanity. Rassouli brought fusionart into the world, and the world is reaping its benefits. Ultimately, the best in art is not about ego tripping, or copywriting of intellectual property for self aggrandizement, but a gift to share with all humanity. Rassouli has truly brought his gifts to the world, and the world has become a better place because of it.
Rassouli is a dreamer. His own son once described him as a person living in La-La land. I wish I were living there too. One of Rassouli's most oft repeated Rumi poems was, "sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." Rassouli lived that way, looking at things with the eyes of a bewildered child. Another oft repeated Rumi poem was about a drunk man walking on the edge of the roof but never falling off it. Indeed, many a time did Rassouli seem like that drunk one on the edge. One has only to look at his art to see how it teeters between dream and waking.
Rassouli is one who honors sacred traditions. He has persevered through marriage, family, bureaucracy, and criticism, while devoting time to his art and reading sacred works of Hafez, Rumi, Attar, and so on. He is truly religious in the sense of following the disciplined life of a mystic. He communes with nature regularly and truly listens to what it tells him. I have gone with him to the edge of Point Dume at 4 in the morning to watch the first sunrise of the New Year. He makes regular such pilgrimages to mountain tops to watch the rising sun as it slowly wakens the world from slumber.
Fusionart is truly a spiritual path in the way it develops and propounds the use of Leila, often pronounced Lila. Study of this ancient sanskrit word reveals it is nothing less than the divine cosmic play of the gods as they create and destroy worlds without end. Through Leila, we participate in the creation and destruction of our own universes without end, thereby echoing what the gods have been doing since creation began.
Rassouli was born into sufism and imbued with an eastern mystical sense of spirit flowing in every thought, breath and action. He took that mystical sense and combined it with a classical training in European painting technology to create a new art form he called fusionart.
Rassouli is a leader because he is always looking at things in new and different ways. His perception lights the way for others. He is an original thinker who thinks out of the box. While many have offered him rational argument for how to proceed, he will often choose to go in some completely unknown direction. Nor does he seek approval for how to proceed. I was amused by a story he once told about an anonymous message on his phone from someone ranting that he was a complete phony. Rassouli said he put this message on endless loop so he could hear it over and over, so intrigued he was by it. He was more curious than concerned about it.
Much has been written about Rassouli, from an enormous range of interviews to his own website BIO, so I will not attempt to reproduce those here. The following comments are from my own encounters and interactions with this creative master during the seven plus years I have known him. I do not pretend to have any special insight or association other than my own perspective throughout the years.