Katayoun Stewart is a Persian-American artist who was born in Tehran, Iran in 1966. From a very early age she was making countless drawings as a response to what she saw or experienced.
During Katayoun's early teens, following the Iranian-Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran spent eight long years at war with Iraq. Katayoun, in high school at this time, was encouraged by the staff to use her drawing and painting skills to create several large wall murals of soldiers, tanks, and war stories. For a teenager, the militaristic subject matter was disturbing; however, Katayoun chose to turn it into a positive educational experience, focusing strongly and methodically on the human form.
After several years working as a self-taught artist, she decided to pursue a formal art education in 1993. During her studies at Tehran’s Alzahra University of Art she was introduced to a much larger art world. Katayoun was intensely moved by abstract artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Joan Miró. From here her curiosity grew and after receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1997, she knew she had to experience more of the world.
This curiosity for the art and culture of other lands has taken her on a journey of discovery. In 2000 she moved to Turkey. She lived there for 3 years and received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Hacettepe University of Art in Ankara.
In 2003, Katayoun moved to the United States. She has since traveled through many parts of the country. She has lived in California, Michigan, and Florida, and currently, she lives in Pennsylvania. In 2013 she decided to study for a year in the Post Baccalaureate program at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to experience art education in this country. From there she was introduced to major figurative painters Vincent Desiderio and Renee Foulks, as well as others. She also started sculpture with John Horn in an effort to study the human figure in a medium other than paint. This experience was a turning point for Katayoun, and her art works have transitioned from abstract to figurative. She says, "Figurative arts allow me to work conceptually and portray my ideas about life."
Since the mid-2000s, much of Katayoun’s art (stylistically abstract expressionistic pieces) has been sold to private collectors. Oakland University in Michigan commissioned her to paint a series for display in their Kresge Library and an upscale hotel in Michigan commissioned her to create a series of paintings for their lobby and business offices.
She has taught art at the elementary, high school, and college levels. Currently Katayoun spends her days as a full-time artist.