Born in 1976 in Tehran, Iran, Ardalan Payvar moved to the United States in 1993. He studied Graphic Design and Fine Arts at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and has been working in the field since 2000. As a kid growing up in Iran, Ardalan was always passionate about drawing, painting, music and calligraphy and studied calligraphy at Anjoman e Khoshnevisan e Iran (Society of Iranian Calligraphists) for four years before immigrating to the United States. Ardalan is currently based in Berkeley, CA, where he works as a graphic designer/artist.
With a background in traditional Persian calligraphy and having studied the Western tradition of graphic design and art, Ardalan incorporates elements of modern typography and composition in combination with traditional calligraphic forms and finds ways to balance and fuse them together without sabotaging the integrity of either realm. Drawing inspiration from deconstructive typography and abstract expressionist painting, he takes words and phrases from old poems and sayings, fragmentates them into individual letter forms, and meticulously rearranges them to create whole compositions. Working in layers, Ardalan constantly switches back and forth between painting and collage, continuously marking his canvas with expressive and spontaneous paint drips and strokes while carefully cutting and pasting fragments of modern and traditional letter forms to create his carefully preplanned compositions.
Throughout this process, he is constantly trying to find ways to make the spontaneous and planned interact and co-exist. Through this process of deconstruction and reconstruction, Ardalan makes the messages of these otherwise clichéd and sentimental sayings relatable to contemporary sensibilities which are often unsentimental, rational and even ironic. In a way, Ardalan is attempting to reclaim these old poems that carry valuable and potent universal and philosophical messages and to appropriate them in a modern and Western context.
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