Shahram Karimi, a Persian artist based between Berlin and New York City, was born in Shiraz in 1957. Shahram grew up in an artistic family in Shiraz; one of his brothers was an artist, and the other a poet. Shahram started painting and drawing at the age of nine. By the time he entered High School, Shahram’s classmates all knew that he was destined to become a painter.
At the age of 23, Shahram opened a gallery in his native city of Shiraz. This gallery became the center point of cultural life in the city. Poets, artists, writers, and friends met there. The government eventually closed down the gallery and Shahram ended up moving to Germany in 1988. He got to Berlin, where he quickly became fluent in German. He worked at the African Art University for almost eight years.
Shahram started collaborating with several other Persian artists including Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari. Shahram splits his time between Berlin and New York City, and he shares his NYC studio space with both artists. He has produced several video paintings with Shoja Azari.
Shahram never works on blank canvas, but instead chooses to paint on a variety of materials. When he initially started working with film, Shahram often found himself buying fabric and materials for the sets. He grew to know where to buy the best materials. He is unable to paint on a white, plain canvas. According to Shahram, there should always be something there to work with.
Woman in the Park:
He started painting on pizza boxes, which was highly regarded in Germany. He eventually moved to working on rice packs, with a very large piece being exhibited at the Istanbul Biennale. He is perhaps today most well known for his works on flowery fabrics. His nostalgia for his hometown of Shiraz, which is known as the city of gardens and all types of flowers, especially roses, has significantly influenced his work today. He buys his materials and fabrics from antique markets and second hand stores.
Faizeh and Amirchan:
His subject material includes scenes from Persian folklore. Some of his paintings depict Iranian families from different time periods. Other aspectss of his work deal with Iran’s history, his personal life, his memories, and his family. The beautiful fusion of flowers, color, and varying characters create powerful works of art. Iranian poetry also plays out in many of his works, with scenes from poems creatively played out on fabric.
Shahram Karimi Information:
Family and Flowers:
In the Garden: