Ghalamdar (born 1994, Tehran, Iran) is an emerging artist based in UK , working since 2006. He is an active member of Calligraffiti community and called between the four most recognized Iranian street artists who are making their own mark by Art Radar Journal, and between the 12 artists crucial to the world of Iranian street art by The Huffington Post. He is currently represented by Fondation Behnam Bakhtiar and Emergeast gallery.
In the beginning as a youngster he wanted to add color to his gray colored hometown, Tehran, and to break the habit and expectancy of watching the same walls he passes by every day by practicing and experiencing variety of graffiti styles. He cooperated with other Iranian graffiti writers such as Elf crew – between the first emerging graffiti crews in the Middle East – and painted a huge ton of big walls around Tehran.
As Iranian society has never truly experienced a Hip-hop sub-culture he believes his graffiti roots lie somewhere else. Approximately parallel with the 80s graffiti and Hip-hop of America there were radical social streams using graffiti as a media for bringing up the Iranian revolution of 1979. Ghalamdar thinks of his roots and the relationship between his artwork and the vandalism of the revolution – and such other Iranian social or artistic streams – and how they influence each other.
For gaining his own art expression, Ghalamdar tended to the Saqqakhaneh movement of the 1960s and 1970s, He uses calligraphy, Miniature painting (Negar-gari), folk objects, and Shi’i iconography as parts of his subject inspirations. He avoids the strict rules and preparation rituals of the craft in favor of abstraction. Saqqakhaneh artists directly inspired Ghalamdar to challenge the dominant pictorial material of Iranian street art aiming for developing an aesthetic with particular Iranian markers.
While Ghalamdar’s has undoubtedly been influenced by traditional calligraphic practice, his works share an affinity with the interlocking aesthetic of “wild style” graffiti and traditional calligraphy which demonstrate an amalgamation of these two cultures. Like the letterist works of the Saqqakhaneh artists, Ghalamdar’s text-based pieces have emphasized the pictorial form of Perso-Arabic script over the literary content of traditional calligraphic practice.
Generally Ghalamdar creates by deconstructing and reconstructing the Iranian folklore materials and verbal beliefs. He takes a critical look at the Iranian contemporary identity particularly with post-modern philosophy and his art is a personal investigation through the Iranian art and history.