Los Angeles artist Sandow Birk is a graduate of the Otis/Parson’s Art Institute whose work deals with contemporary life. Frequently developed as expansive, multi-media projects, past themes have included inner-city violence, graffiti, social and political issues, travel, prisons, the Holy Qur’an, surfing, and skateboarding. He was a recipient of an NEA International Travel Grant to Mexico City in 1995, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Rio de Janeiro for 1997. In 1999 he was awarded a Getty Fellowship for painting, followed by a City of Los Angeles (COLA) Fellowship in 2001. One of his projects involved the rewriting and illustrating of the entire “Divine Comedy” into contemporary American English. A feature film of the project, “Dante’s Inferno”, was released in 2007. He was awarded an Artist Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 2007, and he was an Artist in Residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2008, and at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ireland in 2011. His most recent project is a consideration of the Qur’an as relevant to contemporary life in America, single-handedly creating a hand-transcribed and illuminated manuscript of the entire holy text in English.
Sandow is represented by the Koplin del Rio Gallery in Los Angeles, Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, and P.P.O.W Gallery in New York City.
Portrait photo courtesy the artist.