Armine Aghayants is an internationally-recognised Armenian artist. Her work has been showcased globally in Paris, Venice, and New York. A polymath, she is most well-known as a painter but also actively pursues other art mediums, including sculpting, interior design, product design, photography, and graffiti.
She has received numerous awards and honours from prestigious institutions. Two gold statues from the Premio Murano Awards in Venice, Italy, are among them. Her paintings graced have halls of the world’s foremost art centres. Moreover, her sculptures can also be found adorning private homes and public spaces.
Critics worldwide have praised Armine’s art for its fearless and honest nature. Her work gives the viewer a deep insight into the subject's (and, some would say, the artist’s) inner world and often pushes the boundaries of artistic norms and styles. Notably, in a culmination of her lifelong pursuit of artistic expression, one of her career-defining works, Insomnia, has recently been sold for $128,000.
Thanks to her upbringing, Armine’s interest and passion for the arts were sparked at a young age. Artistic inclinations ran deep throughout her family, particularly among her parents, who contributed to her early love of art. Her father was an architect who also experimented with different art mediums, including drawing or sculpting using wood, clay, and copper. She also describes her mother as creating fascinating pieces of needlework, embroidery, and macramé with elements of national miniatures.
Her family ran a puppet theatre that participated in festivals held by the Union of Armenian Puppeteers. She, her brother, and her sister would perform as puppeteers and would be involved in the backstage production, including designing and creating all puppets, stage designs, and carpentry works needed for their shows.
It was in this climate, and with encouraging parents, that she would start painting in a naturalistic manner at age 12, which would act as the foundation for her free-flowing style in later years. She started attending the Khachik Dashtents School in Yerevan when she was just a 4th-grade school girl. The back of her school books would soon be transformed into a blank canvas for her to continue her exploration and love of the arts.
In 2006, she enrolled in the Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts to study Industrial Design. She would go on to receive both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the academy with excellent scores. During her third course of studies, she participated in the International Experience Exchange Program’s Design and Painting exhibition in Limoges (France).
During and after her studies, she also joined the studios of prominent figures in the Armenian art world. Here, she learned from first-hand experience and began collaborations that would help guide and support her throughout her career. Among them are Nune Piloyan and Saro Galenc, her drawing professor, and Armen Bubushyan, her design and project lesson professor.
In 2012, Armein would go on to participate in an international exhibition, Premio Murano, in Murano (Venice, Italy), organised by the prestigious Murano Venezia Abate Zanetti Glass School. Out of 300 participants, Armine was among the top 30 candidates and the nine that received awards. She was awarded two Gold Prizes, including Best Graphic Work and Best Idea. Her work was al reproduced by master glass-makers and sold worldwide.
As her international stock rose, Armine started to work with Redwood Art Group, one of the world’s leading connectors of collectors, galleries, and artists.
But it’s not only her painting that has helped her earn recognition and exposure on the internal stage. Her work was chosen for a special photo exhibition in the Louvre Museum in Paris in 2015. Not only was her work showcased in one of the world’s leading centres for art, but it was chosen to be published in two exclusive albums, “The Exposure Award: Animal Collection” and “The Exposure Award: The Sky Collection.”
The New York Art Expo 2017 exhibited 14 of Armine’s works. They received special attention for their peculiar but precise and appropriate use of innovative materials, like gold dust, relief papers, and asymmetric canvases.
Finding great appreciation for her work on the international stage, Armine Aghayants remained based in the US. Here, she also received invitations to showcase her work at other big-profile venues across the US, including Art Basel Miami Beach and the Art San Diego Contemporary Art Show, as well as in New Jersey and Las Vegas.
She would return to Paris in 2018, this time to participate in the painting masterclass as part of the Zervas International Painting Symposium at the 4th Paris Art Fare. She was awarded a UNESCO prize for her work.
In October 2018, Armine returned to her home country of Armenia to hold a solo exhibition for a charitable cause. The event was held at the Royal Classic House in Yerevan and attended by the First Lady of Armenia, Anna Hakobyan, and Minister of Culture, Lilit Makunts. All proceeds were donated to the “My Step” foundation, whose mission is to promote the country's social, economic, and cultural development.
Throughout her career, she has held numerous solo exhibitions whenever she has undergone a major renewal in her work.
Despite achieving so much at a young age, Armine is still determined to expand her horizons as an artist. She has expressed a growing interest in street art and graffiti, as well as her intention to make a return to interior design with a project in bas-reliefs. Her willingness to interchange or blend mediums has been a feature of her career as an artist.
“In my profession, I am constantly able to find what I strive and search for within the
the framework of my profession - starting from interior and exterior design to painting and
sculpture, relief pottery, incrustation... sometimes I even want to do several things at
the same time and I get extreme satisfaction from the process itself.”
It was in 2016 that Armine created her landmark piece, “Insomnia.” It’s a tryptic (or three-piece) acrylic-on-canvas painting with distinct Cubism and Fauvism influences. The work drips with decorative symbolism, which seeks to illustrate the female subject's moods and emotional states.
"Insomnia is a response to the various emotions we experience daily," Aghayants explains. "It's also a response to how we navigate who we are and how we portray ourselves in relation to our inner selves."
This kind of intimate portrayal of one's innermost self is thematic in Aghayant’s work. The painting, which contains touches of real gold, has since been sold to an anonymous buyer for $128,000. This was a watershed moment for Armine, who understands the balance between artistic detachment and worldly practicality that an artist must maintain to be successful and continue to express themselves on an international platform.
She has also been invited to return to the 2023 edition of the New York Art Expo that opened so many doors for her back in 2017.
Most of her professional work belongs to the artistic movements of surrealism, cubism, and fauvism. But Armine refuses to be defined by any ‘isms.’ She firmly believes that artists should not constrain themselves with artificial boxes but should explore all mediums of expression freely.
At the same time, Armine not only views art as a means of expression to elevate the human spirit and experience. She holds that artists should always strive to create art that is elevated above our base human nature and should be a tool for education. In her own words:
“if you want to follow isms, if you want to follow new or modern art, do as you want, only please do the works that you will do only and only with honest motives. Know that Rome also fell because singers began to entertain rather than educate. Remember, there should be the truth of art and life in each of your new works. In every new work, there must be a new educational element. Know that the more art deteriorates, the more valuable the right art becomes. It is also important how you will go about your next journey.”
In her own words, she often characterises her work as an exploration of the self and inner identity. But, the imagery in her work includes but is not limited to urban environments, portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and sculptures.
Armine cites the French sculptor Auguste Rodin as one of her first sources of inspiration and admiration. She immediately connected with his creative process of making rough sketches of his internal ideas before recreating them in their three-dimensional forms. She also admired his passion for and love of art and his expressive, dynamic, emotional sculptures showcasing human form and passion.
This influence is still evident in many of her works, including her most notable, Insomnia. And she still relishes the process of sketching and teasing out her ideas as much as the actual creation of the final product.
“I usually make sketches before work, but even in their absence, I always have a more or less clearly outlined idea in my mind. If I don't have a clear idea, then I don't start the painting; improvisation is definitely excluded.”
Influences from a range of classical and modern art movements can also be found in her work, from Renaissance to impressionism to pop and contemporary art. The list of artists that has inspired her throughout her career is just as diverse. Chief among them is Gustav Klimt and Jean Jassem, to who her work is also often compared.
According to Armine herself, she also draws inspiration from a global list of figures, including Pablo Picasso, Robert Delaunay, Édouard Manet, Claude Manet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, etc. Classical masters like Michelangelo and Da Vinci have also served as inspirations. While not necessarily having influenced her work, she also admires many Armenian artists, such as Zhan Zhansem, Eduard Isabekyan, Saro and Harutyun Kalents, and Minas Avetisyan.
However, Armine also finds herself moved by the natural and human-made world, and the subjects of her paintings can freely vary from the profound to the mundane. “nature, music, movies and everything that is beautiful around us” has served as an impetus for her creative nature.
The combination of a unique blend of techniques, mediums, and materials, influences from multiple styles, and its deeply personal nature, gives Armine’s work a universality that speaks to all of us that share the human condition.
Perhaps no one can describe the intended impact of her work best than the artist herself speaking in the third person:
“She speaks to you with vibrant colours, bold strokes and fine lines. Her style is unique, and her vision of art is fresh. She whispers her secrets, shares her passion, and expresses her anguish and emotions. Are you ready to hear Armine Aghayant's language of art?”