Sandow Birk was featured on KQED’s Spark when he was making paintings about an imagined war between Northern and Southern California, and he producing a film based on Dante’s Inferno, which starred his own handmade puppets. Since then, Birk has been busy in his SoCal studio working with different mediums and themes to create his intricate works on paper, which often comment on highly politicized topics.
Birk’s most recent project, American Qur’an, is a hand-transcribed and illustrated version of the Qur’an. After spending years traveling around the world on surfing trips, including stops in Islamic countries, Birk wondered about the contents of the Qur’an and decided to read it, which inspired him to create his own transcription of the religious text accompanied by his visual interpretations of the stories. Parts of the long-term project have already been exhibited at Catharine Clark Gallery, where we filmed our latest video, In the Gallery With Sandow Birk. Check it out and learn more about the American Qur’an project directly from the artist himself.