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Growing up in Soviet Armenia, Ara received recognition for his talent very early in life. The son of well-known artist, and Professor of Art & Design, Ara Berberyan had his first Exhibition at the age of twelve. His paintings were sent by the U.S.S.R. on an international Tour, called “The world by Children’s Eyes.” This exhibition visited France, Italy, Canada, and the United States. Of the 65 paintings Ara showed between 1970 and 1972 only four returned to Armenia, the rest were sold and placed on permanent exhibition in State Buildings throughout the Soviet Union…
Later, Ara was invited to matriculate at the University of Art & Design in Yerevan, Armenia. Although it was difficult to locate books from the west, Ara managed to obtain and study those artists he loved most: Dali, Picasso, Titian, Rembrandt, and Klimt. As a student of art & design books on Klimt especially inspired him.
He graduated with a masters Degree in 1981 and promptly began his career as a fine artist by accepting government commissions for murals at the Yerevan Airport, theaters, hotels and other government projects.
In the Soviet Union one was fortunate to have regular work of any kind. Young Ara was always busy. After graduating from the University he was employed in an Architectural Office, “Gosproect”, where he was asked to design facades for public buildings and office complexes. Here again, the ornamental gold designs and marbleized patterns of Gustav Klimt heavily influenced Ara’s creations.
When he was not painting for the State, he was working on commissions for private citizens or Government officials. He would paint anything: Classical portraits, landscapes, cubism, surrealism, murals and even signs.
“Private clients expressed their appreciation for my work”, he recalls, “and this much more encouraging and satisfying than painting for any institution.”
Ara’s move to the United States was profound as he was able to express himself fully and became influenced by the modern surrealist movement. His most recent works express the surreal uniqueness he sees in peoples faces.
“My mentality as an artist changed when I came to this country,” says Ara. “With more freedom I think differently. I Feel Differently.”
Here he met and married his wife Nazik, also from Armenia. They have two children.
Before long Ara began to show his paintings in California, and he soon found clients that understood and enjoyed his style. “I am lucky to be able to do what I love”, he says. “Americans are sophisticated complex people. They buy because they like the art, and that’s a great feeling for me.”
“When I sketch, I do it loosely without intent or design. I sit and listen to music–Mozart, Verdi, Bach. I sketch on paper, not on the canvas, and then as it changes and takes shape, I will begin to work the canvas. Sometimes I like working on just one canvas, start to finish. It is a process, When I am all involved in it, time does not exist. Other times, my mood changes and so I move to another, and start a new painting. Later I can come back to it when the mood returns.”