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Art & Life with Gevik Nalbandian

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gevik Nalbandian.

Gevik, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1969. My dad was a nationally known architect and my mom was a Vidal Sassoon-trained hairstylist. As such, I was always around paintings, pictures of beauty, style, museums, and art collectors. Pencils and paper have always held a special place in my life. In fact, pencils and any flat surface never escaped my doodles (desks, walls, margins of books and notebooks). While studying Computer Science, I never thought of myself as an artist, let alone becoming one. After being a proud father to our first son, I started drawing with him using colored pencils. What I later realized is that this was the true start of my art career.

Over the years, my primary focus was on my work and family life. I often fantasized about painting after I retired. But I could not wait. The urge to create was exploding in me. I went and bought some inexpensive paint, as well as student canvases or watercolor paper, and started experimenting in my garage. I started following various artists on social media, which fed my curiosity and passion. I then discovered alcohol ink, and I was hooked. While I expand the portfolio of mediums, alcohol ink has become my main passion. Most recently, I have started creating mandalas to clear my mind. In all, I have created more than 500 pieces over the last several years. My most prolific year for creating was in 2019, where I created over 200 pieces and had two extremely successful exhibitions.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I generally create abstract drawings and paintings using watercolor paper, various canvases, wood panels, polypropylene, velum and sometimes plain drawing paper. The materials I use span the range: acrylic paints, alcohol ink, architect grade markers, pens, pencils, and sharpies. I have no formal training, but I’ve been told that my use of color is quite invigorating and exudes energy.

Most of the time, I use the creative process to meditate, have fun and see if I can create something different, often incorporating reverse engineering for a certain process. Other times, I create commissioned work. However, even then, I try to put in new ideas into the process. It’s rare that I want the result to look a specific way. I’ve learned to accept unintended results as “unique creations,” which provide character to the art piece.

Inspiring others to try and create has become my secondary passion. I try to show how people can let go of their preconceived notions about art: that it can or should be judged. I help people get over their inhibitions and enjoy the journey. I personally don’t believe that art should be judged — it is completely formed based on the passion and subconscious of its creator. I always say: If an art piece doesn’t conjure up feelings or emotions in you, then move on. I’m sure you’ll find something that tickles your fancy.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
My path has been unique. I did not start out to be a full-time artist, nor am I a full-time artist now, though some think otherwise because of the large number of art pieces. I have been fortunate in that I started and continue to be a VP of Engineering, where I run a group of 30+ extremely smart software engineers and designers. This has allowed me to fund my passion for creating art enviably easy. Here is my advice to anyone who wants to start as a struggling artist: Consider starting with a well-paying trade while doing art on the side. Create a way to fund your studio and pursue your passion when you are financially stable. If you can avoid living paycheck to paycheck or art-sale to art-sale, then it may be a better way to feed what you love to do.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My pieces have sold in a couple of galleries, but most of my recent sales have been through private commissions or through the two solo-artist exhibitions held in 2019; one in Pasadena’s Paseo Mall and the other at Roslin Art Gallery in Glendale, CA (where nearly 50% of my 60 exhibited paintings were sold). Currently, 58 pieces of my work are on display (open to the public) at Encino Terrace at 15821 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91436 and will be available for viewing until July 21, 2020.

I work with real estate staging designers (most notably Aline Boulgourjian, who was recently featured on VoyageLA), where my art is integrated into their design. Should the property buyer be interested in my artwork, they can then purchase it directly from me. I have also collaborated with other artists (most prominently Christophe Piallat) and interior designers (most recently, Macelle Albelda, also featured at VoyageLA).

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