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Keyvan Heydari-Shovir, celebrated under the moniker CK1, stands as a preeminent figure in the realm of Middle Eastern contemporary street art. Born in Tehran in 1985 amidst the socio-political landscape, Shovir's artistic trajectory intricately weaves the fabric of Iranian traditional culture with contemporary pop influences. His pivotal role in the Iranian graffiti movement, which burgeoned in Tehran in 2002, positions him as a trailblazer in the global street art lexicon.

Academically, Shovir holds a Bachelor's degree in painting from the University of Tabriz (2009) and a distinguished Master of Fine Arts degree from the California College of the Arts (2018). His formative years in Iran were marked by a profound immersion in traditional Iranian arts such as miniature painting and carpet design, enriching his artistic vocabulary with the intricate beauty of these time-honored crafts.

Shovir's artistic oeuvre is a mesmerizing amalgamation of the Persian alphabet and Islamic art motifs meticulously interwoven into the tapestry of his graffiti work. Drawing inspiration from luminary Iranian poets like Hafez and Rumi, Shovir deftly incorporates elements of Persian miniature art into his stencils, crafting a visual narrative that serves as a poignant bridge between the rich cultural heritage of Iran and the zeitgeist of contemporary expression.

Throughout his illustrious career, Shovir has been an active contributor to street and public art projects, leaving an indelible imprint on diverse urban landscapes. Noteworthy is his collaboration with artist Shaghayegh Cyrous, resulting in the creation of the mural "In Memory Of" in Clarion Alley—a heartfelt homage to three influential female Iranian literary figures, namely Forough Farrokhzad, Simin Behbahani, and Simin Daneshvar.

Shovir's influence extends far beyond his native Iran, positioning him as a significant player in the international discourse on contemporary art. Participating in exhibitions across the globe, he contributes to the global dialogue on Middle Eastern contemporary art, offering a nuanced perspective on the intersection of tradition and modernity.

Beyond the canvas, Shovir's life experiences, including his friendships with members of the band The Yellow Dogs in Iran, underscore the profound interconnectedness of art and life. His involvement in the documentary "Mutiny of Colours" (2016) further solidifies his status as a formative figure in Iran's street art renaissance.

In addition to his groundbreaking work in traditional art forms, Keyvan Heydari-Shovir has earned recognition as one of the "15 Middle Eastern NFT Artists to Watch," according to a GQ Middle East article. This designation highlights his innovative approach and significant contributions to the burgeoning field of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Shovir actively explores the realms of Virtual Reality (VR) and 3D art, pushing the boundaries of artistic expression in the digital age. His inclusion in this esteemed list underscores his position as a leading figure at the intersection of traditional Middle Eastern art and cutting-edge digital creativity. Explore the vibrant intersections of tradition and modernity through the lens of Keyvan Heydari-Shovir's masterful and impactful creations, including his pioneering ventures into the NFT space.


Keyvan Shovir, also known as CK1, is an Iranian visual and street artist based in San Francisco. His work combines Iranian traditional culture with contemporary pop culture. Shovir is a pioneer of Iranian graffiti art.

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