Bio: Pantea Karimi lives and works in San Jose, CA. She earned her MFA in printmaking and painting from San Jose State University in 2009. She also holds a Diploma in printmaking from Hastings College of Arts and Technology in England and an MFA in graphic design from Art University in Tehran, Iran. Karimi's fine art and graphic works have been featured in several publications in Iran, Italy, England and America and her works have been exhibited in various venues in Iran, England, and America including the de Young Museum in San Francisco, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, the Triton Museum in San Jose, and Ellipse Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia. She is the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Artist Award by the City of Cupertino Fine Arts Commission, the 2011 1st ACT Silicon Valley’s Multicultural Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) fellowship and the 2012 Multicultural Arts Leadership Initiative grant for My Homeland, a student and community collaborative art project in San Jose, CA.
Karimi has been also teaching art and design courses and writing lesson plans for both youths and adults for the past eighteen years. Karimi taught private art classes and worked for several graphic companies in Iran, and while residing in England, 2001-2005, she taught fine arts and computer graphics programs to Hastings’ youth community for Education Action Zone (EAZ), a K-12 educational innovation and technology information based organization. In America, she taught courses at San Jose State University as both Teaching Associate and Teaching Assistant between 2007 and 2010. Presently, Karimi teaches fine art classes and silkscreen techniques at the Community School of Music and Arts, for the Euphrat Museum of Art, and at the TechShop in San Francisco Bay Area, California.
Statement: Using both traditional methods and computer- graphics programs, I often combine silkscreen and monotype, watercolor, and computer-generated drawings within a single composition. I also create individual watercolor paintings that are visual and conceptual extensions of my mixed-media prints. My art process and content directly speak to my life experience both as an immigrant and artist; scenes in my works visualize concepts from global to local, and I include current and relevant events, while preserving a connection to the past through rendering layered imageries. My aim is to be evocative and I invite viewers to explore, and to re-think intersections, and contradictions, where events overlap and disperse at the same time.
The Logic of Human Magma series: This new body of work, 2012, focuses on recent uprisings around the world, including the street occupations by people in the USA, the Middle East, and other parts of the world. The paintings are inspired by photos that I took in Zuccotti Park in October 2011, and people's cardboard signs and occupied spaces on the streets of Manhattan. I am particularly intrigued by the image of the swarm. The media regards the crowd as undifferentiated groups of people who passively accept messages authored by common interests. But it is the individual, personal point of view that always captures my imagination. Notes written on single placards with creative messages composed by individual members of the crowd are highlighted in my paintings. While this body of work tackles a common global issue, it is also a personal narrative conjuring up the revolutionary and post-revolutionary times in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where I spent most of my childhood years. The swarm in my work addresses a sense of nostalgia and at times even an expression of regret that can be shared by contemporary Iranians in diaspora.