Amir Zaki

Empty Vessel Exhibition Highlights Beauty and Spirituality in the Ordinary

November 13, 2019 - Liz Goldner

Take a cursory look at the large artworks hung on the walls in “Empty Vessel – Amir Zaki” at Orange Coast College. The pictures might be architectural drawings from a science fiction novel.

The images display broad expanses of concrete, which has been seemingly sculpted into circular, clean cut and even jagged forms, with several shapes echoing the hills and mountains beyond. The viewer might wonder if these 22 compelling pictures, some including tropical foliage and sharp shadows, are drawings or paintings inspired by the artist’s fertile imagination.

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Photographs as Experiences about Looking: An Interview with Amir Zaki

October 7, 2019 - koozarch

Zaki has an ongoing interest in the rhetoric of authenticity, as it is associated with photography as an indexical media. Simultaneously, he is deeply invested in exploring digital technology’s transformative potential to disrupt that assumed authenticity. However, his interest is not in utilizing digital trickery as illustration to undermine a photograph’s veracity. In fact, Zaki often creates hybridized photographs that carefully use the vocabulary of the documentary style so that the viewer’s belief in its veracity remains intact, at least initially.  He constructs scenes that are somewhat off-register, ‘out of key’, and ever so slightly faux. He often uses the architectural and organic landscape of California as a subject, as it seems particularly appropriate to his process. This is largely because, either through media myth, reality or a combination of the two, the architecture and surrounding landscape in California is itself an evolving bastardization of styles and forms, in other words a pastiche. California is home to a collision of high modernist ideals, suburban McMansions, high-rise density, endless asphalt grids, deserts, mountains, beaches, Los Angeles urbanism, Inland Empire sprawl, Orange Curtain conservatism, the Crystal Cathedral, and the Integratron. It should be made clear that although Zaki is fascinated and inspired by this architectural and cultural entropy, his intention is not to record, replicate or simply document a preexisting postmodern pastiche. More precisely, his work begins with the familiar, by looking at objects, structures and locations that are often pedestrian and banal. And by capitalizing on the presumed veracity that photographs continue to command, along with the transformative, yet invisible digital alterations he employs, his images depict structures that that aspire to be added to the list of the hodge-podge built landscape that creates the California mythology.

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Navigating California’s concrete skateparks through the lens of Amir Zaki

August 21, 2019 - Luke Halls

Hawk and American-Australian designer Peter Zellner preface a new photographic tome by American artist Amir Zaki, California Concrete: A Landscape of Skateparks. The book documents 12 of the state’s most symbolic skating hotspots from San Diego to Sacramento, which came to be adopted by the modern Californian skating community from the 1970s onwards.

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California's "elaborately designed" concrete skateparks captured by Amir Zaki

August 20, 2019 - Eleanor Gibson

Jagged tunnels edged with red trim, scooped walls and wave-like canopies are among the defining features of these vacant concrete skateparks in California, photographed by artist Amir Zaki. The images feature in the California Concrete, a Landscape of Skateparks publication, and document 12 unusual and elaborate skateparks in city's across the state. 

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You've Never Seen Skate Parks Like This Before (Amir Zaki's California Concrete)

July 1, 2019 - Michael Hardy

When you think of skateboard photography, you probably picture a skater flying through the air while performing some recondite feat of physical wizardry. In Amir Zaki's photographs, though, skaters themselves are nowhere to be seen. Zaki grew up skating in Beaumont, California, and has the greatest respect for practitioners of the sport. But when he turned his own camera on the skate parks of his home region, his interest was more in the parks than the skating. Read more.

ArtScene Magazine on Amir Zaki: Getting Lost

April 24, 2018 - Michael Shaw

"One wonders whether the grouping’s title, “Getting Lost,” far from being an allusion to discovering these entwined tree pairings on a haphazard trek, instead refers to the process that we undergo while navigating all the super-fine detail. It’s a pretty palatable way to get lost."

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Los Angeles Times Review: Amir Zaki

April 9, 2017 - David Pagel

The work of Los Angeles photographer Amir Zaki suggests that the world is too compelx a place for its nature to be conveyed in a single way or  by a single point of view. if truth and b eauty are to be discovered, as the ancient Greeks believed, a multilayered, many-sided approach is required.

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Seattle Times Review: Amir Zaki

November 11, 2016 - Michael Upchurch

Buildings that don't behave like buildings. Water that doesn't behave like water. Trees that don't behave like trees.. The self-described "hybrid photography" of Amir Zaki nails the essence of the subjects he  captures on camera while also making them cryptic of confounding. Rules of perspective and spatial logic are frequently and ingeniously tossed aside. 

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