Niki Zarrabi’s art explores biology, spirituality, and human existence

The local artist’s signature style has sparked collabs with W hotels, the BeltLine, and more.

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Multimedia artist Niki Zarrabi’s work aims to explore the relationship between spirituality and the science of human existence — heavy stuff, indeed. But she does it in a way that’s not just palpable, it’s downright beautiful. The 24-year-old Marietta native grew up taking art classes in and outside of school, but it was an intro to studio class she took as an elective at Georgia State University, where she graduated from with BFA in 2014, that solidified art as her true passion.

As an artist, Zarrabi’s amassed a handful of honors, awards, and experience — she received Best in Show in the juried exhibition of 50 Georgia artists at Abernathy Arts Center in Sandy Springs in 2015, has volunteered with the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, and was a guest lecturer at SCAD earlier this year. When it comes to maintaining momentum in her career as a professional artist while also working part-time at an art firm in West Side, Zarrabi says, “I try to do a lot of networking, going out to as many art openings as possible, and getting to know people in the art scene. I also submit to calls for artists and, of course, social media always helps.” Her methods of promotion seem to be fruitful, as this year’s WonderFarm event curator Kris Pilcher commissioned Zarrabi to be one of the exhibiting artists. She also recently collaborated with the W Atlanta to host an art event dubbed “Spectrum” at the Buckhead location.

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Zarrabi describes her works as “a mix between painting and sculpture.” She often paints on layers of plexiglass, then combines those with hand-cut patterns with neutral or muted tones. Those tones are often abstract interpretations of complex elements of biology that, the artist says, “give us life but also represent a sense of unity.”

While Zarrabi’s long-term goals are to eventually open her own gallery and curate shows, more immediate plans include an installation on the BeltLine in collaboration with her sister, Arian, that will focus on the BeltLine’s historic relationship between industrialization and nature. There’s a group show at Kai Lin Gallery this fall, too, and a bike rack-painting project for the City of Atlanta’s new bike share program. She adds, inarguably, “It’s going to be a pretty busy year.”