Davood Koochaki was born in 1939 in a rice-growing region in northern Iran. His family was very poor and they had to work their landowner’s fields. Koochaki too had to begin to work when he was just seven. He only taught himself to read and write later on. At the age of thirteen, he decided to leave his family for Teheran, where he hoped to make a better life. He was hired to help in a car repair workshop and was trained to work as a mechanic. At the age of 24 he opened his own business. He married the same year and subsequently had four children.
He began to draw a little as a hobby at the age of 40, but it was only after he retired at 60 that he pursued drawing more seriously, producing larger size drawings and using better materials. In this, he was encouraged by his son-in-law, a professional artist. This led to his drawing bolder figures and more striking forms, using a crosshatching-like technique.
Koochaki’s early drawings show his fascination for primitive figures and mysterious creatures. There are prehistoric cave dwellers with often-explicit sexuality. He draws fantastical animals, sometimes mythological, sometimes half-human. Jokingly, he says, “I try to draw beautifully, but this is the way it comes out. Maybe it has to do with my difficult past. I begin to draw a few lines, look at them, and then I see a figure coming that I can draw.”
Thanks to his son-in-law’s connections, he exhibited his works for the first time in Teheran in 2008. Because Koochaki only uses graphite and colour pencils, he is nicknamed “the Pencil Man”.
Foreword : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition Davood Koochaki : undercover at christian berst art brut, New York, from september 9th to october 4th, 2015.