Meet September's speaker Farshid Rodsari

Interview by Julia Märak Leffler

Farshid Rodsari is an art director and this month’s speaker. I caught up with him over a fika to ask questions about this month’s theme Compassion … and coriander. Because, why not? Farshid’s cool, kind, and I can’t wait to hear his talk on September 22.

You’re talking under compassion, did it feel like the right theme for you?
It felt exactly right. When you’re younger, you wonder why people don’t share stories of what is happening and what they are going through. So when you get the opportunity, you have to do it. It’s our responsibility.

Is there any time where you could have been more compassionate?
Off course there are times when I could have been more compassionate; it’s something active you do, you walk in someone else’s steps. All we do has an impact. But there are people who believe that they can’t do great things because they’re not Elon Musk. If I can do something good for others, they will in turn do it for someone else. Every action has a reaction. 

It’s exciting, you never know what conversation or meeting will spark something!
It’s magic.

Who would you like to listen to you?
I hope that everyone can get something out of it, even the ones who can’t relate directly. It’s my life experiences. How I went from growing up in Iran, during war, and moving to a new country. And how things turned out for me. People experience this daily.  With how the world looks today, there are many people who go through the same, or even worse things than I did. But you know, you can’t measure bad experiences. Maybe it is something as having your parents’ divorce when you are younger. It’s about how you move forward. So even if it’s not your experience, you can learn to understand the people going through it.

Among other CreativeMorning talks: Who inspired you the most?
There are too many to name to be honest. But two of my favorites are Zakiya Harris  and My-Linh Le. I tend to like the more personal ones more.  It feels like the ultimate thing to do, to be vulnerable in front of strangers. And the scariest.

How does compassion affect you as a creative?
It’s a ground pillar. It affects me in everything I do. You have to zoom out and see the bigger picture.

Okay ... so … what is your favourite Ice cream?
I have two … three favourite ice creams!

Three? I like that this was the easiest question.
The first ice cream in my top three is the one i had on my first week in sweden. And its symbolic in a sence. It was Tiptop. That’s my first favourite. The second ice cream I had there was the 88. And I ate my third favourite only four years ago. It’s a ginger bread sandwich … mmmm…

Did they ever make that one again?
Yes!

So it wasn’t only you who liked it? I’ve never heard about it….
More people liked it. It’s fantastic.

Can you have saffron in it? Then it would be like a ginger bread cookie and saffron bun all at once.
Yes (serious). As long as ... both saffron and cardamom like being on front on the stage. They can’t share, it will be an argument of who’s going to be the front man. Someone has to be in the background! (laughs)

Okay! Haha, if you were a spice. What would you be?
(laughs) If I were a spice? I would be saffron. If I were an herb I would be coriander.

Coriander? Why?
I love it.

Some people think coriander tastes like soap. Some love it, some can’t stand it. But it’s good for the digestion.
Coriander is fantastic! I love Vietnamese food. And Mexican food. Saffron because we have it in almost all Persian food.

When did you come to Sweden?
January, -87. Just in the last phases of the war.

And then you ate ice cream?
Yes, we lived in Hagfors. We ate ice cream there. There was I girl in the refugee camp who had lived there a bit longer. So she showed me around. She showed me the kiosk and we bought ice cream. Tiptop. It was fantastic. A Tiptop is large when you’relittle. It’s a good memory. When you’ve been fleeing from war and that journey, all of a sudden you feel like you can relax. Such a small thing. Having an ice cream.

Does food make you happy? As you already knew that you would have been coriander…
I love food. Food is love in many cultures. It’s a way of expressing love by sharing. Food is a symbol for so many things, maybe even compassion.

Okay, so share the best food spot in Gothenburg?
My most recent favourite is Little Meats in Linné (taco place). That’s my spot at the moment.

And the best coffee-place?
My best café experience was actually two days ago in Finland. It made me tear eyed. If i should describe a café experience then there are so many things that play a role: the environment, the people, the owners and the vibe in general. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of it.

So somewhere in Helsinki there’s an amazing coffee place?
Yep. Helsinki is a beautiful city. It was my first time there. So I didn’t know what to expect. It felt like i found a secret place no one knows about.  Like: “This is my place”. There’s so much potential. 

Are you one of those persons who want to keep their spots (secret)?
No, no, no. I think you should share them.

As we wrap up we talk about times one would feel stressed or nervous. Farshid is neither right now.
It’s part of my journey, doing this talk. Worry and fear has no place anymore. In life you know that you have to do things. You just know .And you know the feeling when you go against it. How it feels afterwards ... I have grown a lot thanks to this talk. I’ve given talks before. But not like this. Not important like this.

A few hours later I receive a message “here’s the coffee-shop. I had to find out for you.” So anyone going to Helsinki … this is the place.

The tickets to Farshid's talk on September 22 go live on Monday, September 18 at 11am.