Keywan Tafteh, a Russian/Iranian/American artist, refuses to limit himself to a single medium. Using a combination of drawing, painting, collage, photography, video, computing, sculpture, and sound, Tafteh blurs the confines of genre to create sensory and emotional work.

Born in Austria and denied citizenship due to his parents’ refugee status, Tafteh immigrated to the United States as an infant. To this day a complicated cultural identity and questions of origin are foremost in his mind.

His creative process is informed by multiple painful and joyous themes: geographic and cultural displacement, the addiction of a loved one, otherness, technological innovation and the sheer joy of observation. Ancient Persian and Russian folk art resonate with his heritage and are of particular interest to Tafteh. This interest is complicated by the transformation of these formerly tolerant societies to institutionalized homophobia. His work explores this societal shift. In short, he creates art that serves as a coping mechanism while celebrating life.

Tafteh studied at the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California, and at the ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California. He is currently enrolled at the University of California San Diego, where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Arts, with a minor in Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts.

In addition to his studies, Tafteh taught introductory robotics workshops during the summer of 2019— both at Southwestern College, Chula Vista, California, and at San Diego State University, San Diego, California. During the pandemic, he taught a introductory JavaScript/HTML course at UC Riverside. These workshops were through Upward Bound, a program offering low-income high school students the chance to study at major universities.