From an early age, my life has been rich with culture and art. I was born and raised in Armenia, where my parents enrolled me in after school programs including art school. It was at that young age that my creative spirit was ignited. After art school, I graduated from Fine Art College and subsequently State Pedagogical University where I majored in Teaching Fine Arts. Upon immigrating to Los Angeles in 1990, my focus turned towards the fashion industry. After graduating from fashion school and working in the fashion industry for two decades, I became proficient in graphic design by stylizing fabrics, designing screen prints, taking courses at UCLA and additional private classes. My graphic design skills gave me the opportunity to branch into the entertainment industry by becoming a freelancer for movie posters for various agencies. I found the changes in my professional career only helped to enhance the constant in my life of painting and drawing. In 2012 I left the fashion and entertainment industries and returned my focus to my own fine arts. It was at this time I also began teaching classes in my studio, which I continue to this day. From each experience in my life, I have gained tools to express myself, my passions, and my beliefs through the art you see today.
In my most recent series of rich surreal figurative work, you will find the theme of nature decaying and weakened by the forces of humans, particularly through vanity and self promotion. I portray images of strong women with almost god-like capabilities to impact the animals and environments around them. They are fierce and in control, which, as I show, may be detrimental to their surroundings. This is a topic that runs passionately in my heart, and I hope through my art I can provoke the realization that right now, we, as a species, have the opportunity to stop this downward trend of destruction to this planet, our home. In all of my paintings, the viewer is rewarded with new worlds to explore. First, you are invited to learn the story of the figures. Their expressive postures are enhanced by beautifully draped garb and jewelry, most of which were also made by myself. I combine heavy with soft, rigid with fluid to create a dramatic union of contrasts that invoke a sense of compelling wonder. The women are strong and beautiful, depicting the balance of grace and power. Their striking sense of self lures you in just to push you away. Their environments are rich, deep, and mysterious. Subtle details encourage viewers to explore and find more meaning and depth the further they go.Though extensive thought, intention, and planning go into all of my pieces before I begin painting, I allow myself the flexibility to adapt while the brush touches the canvas. This is where I welcome you to explore the second world of my paintings. As you venture closer to the canvas, the figures melt away and become a landscape of expressive, emotional, and energetic brushstrokes. Thick impasto becomes heavy contours to explore in the light, delicate skin of the figures. Traditional oil painting techniques give way to moments of stark emotion. Look closely; truths and confessions are found in the brushstrokes. I encourage you to experience my paintings at all levels: the macro level that expresses my message and the micro level that expresses my emotions. The further you venture, the more you will find moments and messages that speak to you.
Current and Previous Works by Alexandra Manukyan
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