Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Explore Armenia through it's modern artists

To find Armenia’s best contemporary artists, you must know where to look, and Art Tours Armenia will take you there!

Meet artists in their studios! See and talk about their latest work! Buy art at lower-than-gallery prices! See an Armenia you never knew existed, visiting studios in Yerevan and Gyumri.

How it works
Design your own art tour, selecting from among the artists on display under the blog archive at left. We design single studio visits, day tours and overnight or week-long trips. Or join an already scheduled tour, such as our first Saturday art tours running each month, meeting in front of the centrally located Marriott Hotel in Yerevan! For more details and costs please E-mail us at arttoursarmenia@gmail.com.

Why buy Armenian art?

There is more to Armenian art than the pomegranates and landscapes. Contemporary art scene in Armenia is blending both the new ideas of the contemporary art world, and the classical art traditions.

Meeting these artists and buying their work means you'll not only have a beautiful piece of artwork, but learn also about modern-day Armenia through the eyes of it's contemporary artists!

Why do we focus on Gyumri Artists?

Yerevan may be the center of political power for Armenia, but Gyumri was once the cultural and artistic center. Housing the first art school started in the Caucasus, Gyumri's reputation as a sophisticated and open-minded audience ensured that all theatrical performances would premiere there. With it's many parks and unique architecture, the city attracted many people seeking a more relaxed place.

The 1988 earthquake brought that city crashing to the ground. Though aid money poured in, wide scale fraud and incompetence has made the rebuilding process frustratingly slow.

Now, the artistic community of Gyumri is reviving, with two active art schools and many of the artists staying and working in the town. The Gyumri Biennial, an international contemporary art fair, attracts artists from around the world once every two years.

Yet it is hard to find these artists: even in Yerevan, there aren't enough galleries to cover the artistic community in the capital city, let alone artists in 120-km north Gyumri. So we'll bring you to them! Enjoy our day and week-long tours to Gyumri to explore the city's redevelopment and lush surroundings.

Hambardzum Ghukasyan Studio Tour (Gyumri)

Hambardzum Ghukasyan, 55, painter, was born in Gyumri. He studied at both the Panos Terlemezian and Theatrical Institute of Fine Arts, both in Yerevan. Though he has worked as a painting teacher and currently serves as the director of the Fine Arts Institute of Yerevan-Gyumri branch, Ghukasyan has not let his duties get in the way of his own work. A prolific painter, Ghukasyan's work is characterized by rich warm tones and strong classic techniques: a favorite theme is the former theatrical tradition of Gyumri, usually depicted as underneath the city since the 1988 earthquake. He describes the nude woman who is the subject of many of his paintings as a "candle," and with her glowing pinks, oranges and burnt sienna, that's exactly how she appears.

Want to visit Hambardzum's studio? E-mail us at arttoursarmenia@gmail.com.

Hakob Hovhannisyan Studio Tour (Gyumri)

Hakob Hovhannisyan, 51, painter, was born in Gyumri. He studied art at the Terlemezyan Art school-Yerevan, Armenia, and has spent his artistic career split between his hometown and St. Petersberg, in Russia. He has shown internationally, in Switzerland, Spain and Russia, among other places. Hakob's works are deceptively simple at first glance. But upon further examination of one of his "Ten studies of Light," (shown above), his richness of color, masterful composition and skilled draftsmanship mark him as one of Armenia's most interesting contemporary artists. Hakob Hovhannisyan is now hiring a place in village Gusanagyugh where he has a possibility to depict the warm colors and the nature of the village.

Want to visit Hakob's studio? E-mail us at arttoursarmenia@gmail.com.

Zara Manucharyan Studio Tour (Yerevan)

Zara Manucharyan, 36, painter, was born and raised in Yerevan, and received degrees from the Yerevan State Fine Arts Academy in 1995, and an arts management degree in Austria. Combining print-making or graphic arts and drawing and painting techniques, her works have been shown across Europe, including permanent gallery representation. Citing Kandinsky, Miro and Arshile Gorky as the artists she most admires, Manucharyan's work also reflects modern, abstract sensibilities. Over time, her style has continuously evolved: from simple etchings and mono types to frenetic, multi-layered cityscapes. Her current work, is also showing a new direction, inspired by her recent visit to Tibet, where she made not only paintings but also made her first foray into video art/documentary.

Want to visit Zara's studio? E-mail us at arttoursarmenia@gmail.com.

Karine Matsakyan Studio Tour (Yerevan)

Karine Matsakyan, 49, painter, is a Gyumri-born painter who now lives in Yerevan. She received her art degree from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts and Drama in 1985 and since then has been widely shown both within Armenia and internationally, including the prestigious Venice Biennial. She is considered one of Armenia's avante garde artists, among the first to embrace the post-modern art movement. She is influenced by Pop Art, the use of everyday symbols and images (famous Pop Art pioneers include Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein). Karine's work is often satirical and contains themes exploring feminist, nationalist and post-soviet realities.

Want to visit Karine's studio? E-mail us at arttoursarmenia@gmail.com.