Every year, Baterbys Art Gallery hosts a Local Artist Competition to give one local artist the opportunity to display their artwork in our gallery. We have been extremely lucky in the past with our winners; not only are they all incredibly talented, they are all equally as friendly and fun to work with. Virginia Arakelian, our most recent winner, is no exception to this! We recently interviewed Virginia to learn more about her as a person and artist and thought it would be a great blog post for her fans, and future fans!
1. When did you realize that you wanted to pursue art?
Well, I grew up in my father’s workshop making jewelry from a very young age, I was always interested in the creating process of the golden pieces starting from carving the molds into the wax to the finishing steps.
Watching my father melting gold into the pot and how that liquid metal transforms into blocks was fascinating to me.
I often burned my eyelashes during soldering while focusing on the piece I’m making but that didn’t stop me from continuing. I remember myself hearing that burning sound and smelling something funny and saying oops! I did it again.
Lets say I learned how to use the safety goggles the hard way!
I still remember how happy I was holding my first handmade piece of jewelry, it was the lovely taste of the ability of creating something. Since that moment I try to relive and reach that feeling in everything I do.
Then at the age 17 I took my first class of pottery and ceramics which I loved so much, touching the moist clay for the first time smelling and shaping it, spending hours reforming the clay in silence “Time out from the real world” as I used to call it was a very dear experience to my heart.
So the decision to follow my passion and going to the Fine Arts college came naturally as I majored in Visual communication Arts and graduated with honors.
2. What can you tell me about the inspiration behind your work?
At college I had the chance to indulge more into different aspects of arts, learning more about my Armenian culture, arts and artists, studying ancient history manuscripts and ornamental art I started morphing and reshaping them into a modern style, and eventually including them in my paintings and mixed media artwork.
3. What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m working on a series of mixed media pieces that tells stories of an ancient past.
4. How do you create your mixed-media pieces?
Each piece is a unique work of art, it all starts with a basic concept and the right frame of mind, first I sculpt the faces creating different kinds of characters and then the fun begins with shaping their bodies using different materials like clay, metal, wood etc..
5. Do you make a living exclusively from selling your artwork or do you have any side jobs?
I am also a freelance graphic designer.
6. What is your daily painting schedule like?
Art is my passion, I am constantly looking for new sources of inspiration and searching for new materials and techniques.
When it comes to work on an actual piece or a painting I don’t have a set schedule, it all depends on when my muse decides to visit me!
7. Who is your favorite artist, and why?
I have lots of favorite artists but the dearest to my heart is Marc Chagall, Perhaps because I am a dreamer like him, besides, he painted, produced lithographs, etchings, sculpted, worked with ceramics, mosaics and tapestries. That’s why it was hard for critics and historians to label him.
8. What three personality traits do you think are most important to becoming a successful artist?
Passion for art must be at the core of their lives.
Hard workers who never give up.
9. What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Enjoy simple things that life offers you, be grateful for everything you have, and have faith in whatever you do, follow your dreams and never give up.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself as a famous artist, having my work displayed in big auction houses and art galleries, that’s why owning only this moment I work on the “Now” giving it 100% of my effort in order to make that dream a reality.
To view all of Virginia Arakelian’s artwork currently on display, please visit Baterbys or click here!