Growing up in Soviet Armenia, making art was the most honest form of rebellion against the communist regime that I could imagine as a young artist.
Even though they would shut down our exhibitions, destroy our paintings, and even imprison us on more than one occasion, I continued to paint - inspired by my father and my fellow artists.
Art is a gift that came to me naturally as a child and was encouraged by my father who had been an aspiring artist himself but stopped abruptly after WWII. He seemed happiest when he saw me drawing or painting.
During my teenage years, I lost my way and thought about quitting. When I told my father this, he looked at me with a sadness in his eyes that I never I had seen before. I realized he had been living vicariously through me when he whispered, “I guess my dream of having an artist child won't come true.” I knew had to continued painting and have not stopped since.
I was part of a small group of dissident artists who spearheaded the new abstract art movement in Armenia. The communist regime would shut down our exhibitions, destroy our paintings, and even imprison us on more than one occasion. This actually fueled our artistic rebellion.
After the violent uprisings and subsequent Independence of Armenia in the ‘90s, our country fell into a deep economic crisis. We experienced extreme poverty and did not even have firewood to keep us warm.
In 1999, I moved my family to Buenos Aires, Argentina—one of the most vibrant cities in Latin America where I learned new ideas, a new language, a new culture, new landscapes, new colors, and a sense of artistic freedom that altered my work dramatically.
Suddenly in 2011, I lived the darkest day of my life when I lost my older son Tomas who was just shy of his 25th birthday. The pain was and still is impossible to digest. This period was marked by a series of dark paintings filled with agony, fury, and many other terrible emotions.
A decade later, I move again, this time to California where I am rethinking my own existence as an artist. I began to re-discover and connect with parts of myself that I had forgotten or had never met. Inexplicably, I am painting with new colors, shapes, and dynamics. Alas, the rebellion of art still keeps me going.
Oil or acrylic paints