As reported by The Hartford Courant, October 30, 2006.

A Dental Professor with an Artist's Handwriting

In A Different Light with Dr. Reza Kazemi

By Teresa Pelham

Dr. Reza Kazemi apparently hasn't heard that doctors are supposed to have awful handwriting.

Kazemi, associate professor of prosthodontics and operative dentistry at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, not only possesses the good-penmanship gene rarely found in those who write prescriptions for a living but also uses his love of letters and words to create unique pieces of art, known as Persian calligraphy.

Kazemi, 59, who taught at a dental school for 17 years in Iran before moving to the U.S. in 1990, appreciated fine handwriting and art even as an adolescent. He remembers being called to the blackboard as a 10-year-old and being told by his teacher that he had a special talent for penmanship. And as a resident at Georgetown University School of Dentistry, he was often asked by colleagues to help make their presentations more pleasing to the eye.

The exceedingly humble Kazemi, who lives in Vernon with his wife, Nasi, now uses his gift in two different ways. He creates perhaps the nicest-looking operative dentistry manuals students have ever used, complete with gorgeous drawings of abscessed molars being extracted and other icky scenes.

But it's his Persian calligraphy that really wows friends and family, and even drew acclaim during a faculty art exhibit at UConn medical school.

"It's something that I do that's from my heart," he said. "It's how I express myself and my thoughts."

Calligraphy is said to be the highest art form of the Islamic civilization, and was done not only by professional calligraphers, but also by princes and nobles.

The form of Persian calligraphy that Kazemi practices involves words or poetry in his native Farsi, as well as art. On a long airplane ride, for example, he began thinking about his life - his family, his career, his students - and how grateful he felt to have all that he does. He came home and created a touching piece of art that expressed his gratitude, based on the words "one heart with two bits" - the bits being his two grown sons.

"The easy way to explain it is that I take words and make them into a picture," he said. "But it's really more than that. It's art that comes from my heart."

"In A Different Light" is an occasional feature in Java that highlights people with unusual interests outside the office.