Born in Tehran on the cusp of the tumultuous Iranian Revolution, Rad Roubeni and his family moved to Germany where the artist first discovered his creative inclination. Roubeni’s father dreamed of pursuing the arts but was unable to, due to the cultural, political, and religious climate of his home country. He instead shifted his focus towards business to provide for his family in a new country and passed down his Hasselblad to his son, Rad. Roubeni’s love for the arts and especially photography grew from there—he felt a need to capture the world around him and the camera was the perfect vehicle for him to do so. At the young age of 12, Rad’s passion and drive for the medium were so evident that the Chair of the Art Department at the International School of Hamburg took note and began to personally mentor the artist.
Under the Chair’s mentorship, Rad began work on his first exhibition. He photographed his classmates as criminals in mugshots, assigning each a fictional character. The culmination of this project was two large-scale plaques comprising the series of mugshots that were hung in the main hall of Roubeni’s school. The school’s response to the plaques was palpable—students clustered in front of the pieces admiring the characters their own faces came to embody in the images—and Roubeni felt a profound gratification in seeing how his work was received. This moment set the stage for the growth of the artist and his aspirations in the art world. It also represented the first time Roubeni encountered the censorship of his work, when they were removed that same day after a teacher had deemed them inappropriate. Within one day, Rad had faced both the highs and lows of the art world, and this first curbing of his work has led to a lifelong fervor for artistic freedoms.
Roubeni later moved to New York, where he attended the Pratt Institute and earned a BFA in Media Arts, encompassing film, photography and design. His senior thesis of thirteen life-size canvas print