Shah began her journey in art when her mother noticed her creating doodles and sketches as a young girl. At the age of 10, she went on a trip to Tehran, Iran with her parents to visit family during the summer. This trip changed her life as she was granted a pivotal opportunity to take private lessons under the late renowned painter, Abbas Katouzian, who instructed her in oil painting techniques. This sparked a period of rapid growth in her artistic development. For the next decade of her life, she had an unrelenting ambition to pursue her craft until a series of life events gradually steered her towards more academic accomplishments. She made the decision to focus all her energy into obtaining a doctorate in dentistry.  Once she began her career as a practicing dentist, she found herself with more time to rekindle her passion for art.  She picked up the paint brush once again, and allowed the creative juices to flow. Through this mental transition, her vision of herself as a true artist was born. 

Letter from the Artist:


My current body of work revolves around portraiture. I chose this theme because it resonates with my never-ending quest to discover my own identity and of those around me. Every person's face carries a story — their story. What you might assume about a person based on their appearance could be a far cry from the truth of who they are. I am living in an era in America where the role of an individual is no longer confined to some age-old societal norm, but the lines are rather blurred.  The old saying 'don't judge a book by it's cover' couldn't be more true today than ever before. With the advent of the internet and social media, more people around the world are grappling with how they want to present themselves to the world. It fascinates me how various people value different things in the portrayal of their own image - such as authenticity or perfectionism. Through my work, I hope to shift the perspective of the viewer by not only highlighting, but celebrating these differences and the uniqueness of human beings. 

Shah Nia