Born in 1963 in the vibrant city of Yerevan, Armenia, Karen Akhikyan has always been captivated by the world of art. From a young age, he discovered a deep passion for artistic expression that has guided his creative journey throughout his life. Karen’s artistic exploration has taken him on a diverse path, leading him to delve into various spheres of artistic expression. Initially drawn to oil paintings, he honed his skills in capturing the essence of his subjects on canvas. However, his creative spirit soon yearned for new mediums through which to express his artistic vision.
Intrigued by the intricate world of batik scarves. His batik creations showcased his meticulous attention to detail and his ability to infuse vibrant colors and patterns into each piece. Yet, Karen’s artistic evolution didn’t stop there. Driven by an insatiable curiosity, Karen was irresistibly pulled into the enchanting realm of sculptures. He discovered a profound connection with the medium, allowing him to explore the boundless possibilities of shaping metal into mesmerizing forms. Over the past 15 years, Karen has established himself as a master of wire sculpture.
For Karen Akhikyan, the process of creating metal sculptures goes far beyond merely shaping the material. He believes that each sculpture possesses its own innate emotions, waiting to be discovered and brought to life. With every stroke of his tools, Karen allows the sculptures to dictate their own emotional expression, as if they possess a life force of their own.
While Karen never received formal cultural education, his unyielding passion for art and his proximity to an artist neighbor ignited the flame of creativity within him. Spending countless hours observing and absorbing his neighbor’s artistic endeavors, he developed an intuitive understanding of the craft. Through self-guided exploration and unwavering dedication, Karen has carved his own unique path in the world of art.
To Karen Akhikyan, metal is more than just a medium—it serves as a conduit through which he channels his deepest emotional states. The act of creating sculptures becomes a cathartic process, purifying his soul with each creation. Through his artwork, Karen invites viewers to experience the profound beauty that can emerge when raw emotion intertwines with the strength and resilience of metal.
Today, Karen Akhikyan’s work continues to inspire and mesmerize art enthusiasts, inviting them to witness the fusion of passion, skill, and emotion within each meticulously crafted piece. As he continues to explore new avenues of artistic expression, Karen’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of art and the unbreakable bond between an artist and their craft.
What’s your artistic background?
Throughout different chapters of my life, I’ve been captivated by various facets of the art world. During my earlier years, I immersed myself in the world of oil paintings, channeling my creative energy onto canvas. As my artistic journey continued, I was drawn to the vibrant realm of batik scarves, where I experimented with colors and patterns on fabric.
This journey of artistic exploration led me to the captivating world of sculptures. I learned to mold and shape diverse materials such as clay, metal, and wood into tangible expressions of my imagination. Working with these varied mediums allowed me to translate my ideas into tactile forms that communicate with viewers on a deeper level.
Additionally, I have found immense joy in the art of creating collages. The process of harmoniously blending different visual elements into a coherent narrative has significantly expanded my creative boundaries. It’s a dynamic way to tell stories and convey emotions through carefully curated combinations.
Furthermore, I nurture a profound passion for restoring furniture. Breathing new life into old pieces not only hones my technical skills but also reflects my deep appreciation for preserving the beauty of the past. Each restoration project is a unique opportunity to honor the craftsmanship of bygone eras while infusing them with new vitality.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
What’s integral to the work of an artist is the capacity to translate emotions, thoughts, and life experiences into tangible or visual expressions. This demands a profound connection with one’s unique perspective, an unending curiosity to explore novel concepts, and a readiness to embrace vulnerability. These elements collectively empower artists to craft authentic and impactful artworks.
What role does the artist have in society?
The role of an artist in society is multifaceted and pivotal. Artists act as cultural mirrors, skillfully reflecting the intricate tapestry of emotions, values, and concerns woven within the community. Beyond aesthetics, they wield their creations to challenge norms, ignite introspection, and catalyze inspiration for change.
What art do you most identify with?
My primary artistic focus lies in crafting sculptures through a bending wire sculpture technique. I find my creative niche at the crossroads of Expressionism and Abstract Art, subtly infused with Contemporary influences. Working predominantly with metal wire, I breathe life into human forms that encapsulate profound emotions within abstract and modern contexts. This unique fusion grants me the opportunity to navigate the delicate balance between encapsulating raw human sentiment and presenting it through a contemporary lens. The result is a collection of sculptures that harmonize fluid movement with the depth of intense feelings.
What themes do you pursue?
My sculptures often capture the essence of movement and motion, reflecting the dynamics of life itself. While some observers detect a subtle undertone of melancholy, it’s intriguing to note that this interpretation is a reflection of their own perceptions rather than solely my intention. This emotional depth is a result of the profound impact that global events and personal experiences have on the creative process. I sculpt from the world around me, incorporating situations that resonate with my own life journey and the stories of those I encounter. Many of my sculptures become vessels for my own emotions and contemplation, allowing me to transform complex feelings into tangible forms. Also in my themes you will find a lot of ballerinas.
What’s your favorite art work?
Selecting a single favorite artwork is a challenge. However, I’m particularly drawn to the works of Hieronymus Bosch and Martiros Saryan. Bosch’s intricate imaginings and Saryan’s emotive use of color have profoundly influenced my artistic outlook, serving as a constant wellspring of inspiration.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Real-life situations that tug at my heartstrings are often the wellspring of my inspiration. Observing a girl waiting eagerly for her date, or witnessing an old man glancing at his watch with anticipation, these seemingly ordinary moments are windows into the depth of human emotions.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Alongside my artistic pursuits, I’ve explored various professional avenues. I’ve been involved in the press industry and print production, gaining valuable experience in these fields. Additionally, I’ve worked as a retoucher, employing manual techniques during a time when digital tools were not yet prevalent.
In a world saturated with words and noise, art emerged as my sanctuary – a realm where emotions, ideas, and stories find their voice in strokes of color, textures, and forms. Art, to me, is a medium of communion that transcends language and cultural barriers. It allows me to speak the unspoken, express the inexpressible, and explore the innermost corners of the human experience.
Through art, I’ve found a path of self-discovery, a way to decipher my own thoughts and feelings. But beyond the personal journey, art offers a unique channel of communication with the world. It invites others to step into my shoes, view the world through my eyes, and perhaps catch a glimpse of emotions that resonate universally. In essence, art is my way of speaking, my way of listening, and my way of connecting. After all, who can say no to a conversation that doesn’t need words?
What is an artistic outlook on life?
An artistic outlook on life is akin to wearing a lens that transforms every experience into an opportunity for inspiration. It’s about envisioning the world as an expansive canvas, where emotions, colors, and narratives meld in perfect harmony.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Lately sharing my works has led to profoundly touching responses from individuals who have experienced difficult emotional situations. Many have found reflections of their own experiences within my sculptures, forming a deep and meaningful connection. It’s incredibly rewarding to witness how viewing my art from a different perspective often brings about a renewed sense of positivity and inspiration. This unique interaction between my sculptures and viewers adds a layer of depth to my work, reminding me of the transformative power that art holds in touching lives and evoking emotions.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
I find that specific food or drink doesn’t particularly inspire me. Instead, mostly of ballet that sparks my inspiration, with my favorite being ‘Spartacus’ by Aram Khachaturian.
Is artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
Artistic life can indeed feel lonely at times. Personally, my sculptures offer a kind of companionship that slightly fills that void. Rather than resisting it, I embrace solitude, as it allows me to delve deeper into my creative world, explore my thoughts.
What do you dislike about the art world?
What I find challenging within the art world is the struggle to gain visibility, to break into the global market, and breaking into galleries, which can be an arduous endeavor in itself, adds another layer of complexity to the pursuit of showcasing one’s work.
What do you dislike about your work?
I thoroughly enjoy the process of creating, from inception to completion, as well as the gratifying feeling when my sculptures find new homes. However, one aspect I genuinely dislike is the packaging phase. It’s a complicated and demanding task. Because I usually work with this kind of stones like tufa, marble, basalt and it’s so hard to not break within shipping around the world.
What do you like about your work?
What I truly cherish about my work is the freedom it offers for self-expression. Through every curve, I experience an emotional release, pouring my thoughts and feelings into tangible forms. This process allows me to create without boundaries and share a piece of my inner world with others.
Should art be funded?
Absolutely, art plays a vital role in enriching culture, fostering creativity. Funding for art supports artists in pursuing their visions, enables exhibitions and projects that stimulate public discourse, and ensures that a diverse range of voices can contribute to the cultural landscape. Just as society benefits from advancements in science and technology, supporting the arts allows for the flourishing of human expression and exploration.
What role does arts funding have?
Arts funding holds a crucial role in nourishing creativity and cultural growth. By providing financial support to artists and artistic projects, arts funding fosters an environment where innovative ideas can flourish.
What is your dream project?
My dream project is a welcoming studio. I envision a sprawling, light-drenched space with expansive windows and high ceilings—a place where creativity knows no bounds. Within this haven, I not only aim to bring my sculptures to life but also to fling wide the doors to fellow art enthusiasts. It’s about creating a vibrant space where people can immerse themselves in art, engage in conversations, and share a profound appreciation for creativity. While a significant endeavor, I hold this dream close, believing that it will one day become a reality
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
While I’ve always held a deep appreciation for various artists, my ultimate aspiration is to cultivate a unique artistic identity that stands on its own. I believe in the power of originality and the importance of creating art that reflects my own voice, experiences, and emotions.
Favorite or most inspirational place ?
My ultimate source of inspiration lies anywhere I can be in the presence of the sea or ocean. Whether it’s a remote beach or a bustling coastal city, the sight and sound of water is where I feel most connected and inspired. The ocean is my elemental muse. If I had the opportunity, meeting Jacques Cousteau and diving alongside him would be a dream come true, a chance to explore the depths and mysteries of the underwater world with a true pioneer.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice I received was from a renowned artist who, when I was around 40 years old and considering embarking on my journey as a sculptor, cautioned me not to even attempt it, citing that it’s too late. This advice became the best lesson for me—to not heed naysayers when pursuing my passions. It illuminated the fact that it’s never too late to start something new. This wisdom has driven me to believe that if I could overcome doubts and follow my artistic calling, then anyone can realize their aspirations, regardless of timing or circumstances.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
Professionally, my goal is to continuously grow as an artist and expand the reach of my work. I aspire to see my sculptures exhibited in numerous countries. Alongside I aspire to share my experience and insights through masterclasses. By imparting my knowledge and techniques.
My journey in art began in my youth, but for much of my life, I hesitated to participate in exhibitions. About 16 years ago, I fully immersed myself in the world of sculpting. Just two years ago, I overcame my apprehensions and began showcasing my work, discovering the joy of exhibitions. This year marked a significant milestone as I held my first solo exhibition, a truly remarkable experience. Hearing feedback from attendees and engaging with people who appreciate my art has been incredibly rewarding.
Looking ahead, my future plans involve further expanding my exhibition presence, with the aspiration of participating in prominent art fairs. I am committed to ongoing creation and sharing of my works, continuously exploring new materials. Growing my audience is a priority, as I strive to connect with art enthusiasts worldwide. My artistic journey is fueled by a desire to learn, evolve, and leave a meaningful impact on the artistic landscape.