Jack Avetisyan is an Armenian-American artist whose paintings showcase various distinctive identities. His style oscillates between cartoons and abstract compositions, often combining the two into a single piece. His subjects are business people, worldly young adults, and old-school sophisticates. His characters occupy an unruly yet elegant world of drips, darting lines, and swaths of paint.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I always knew I wanted to create. I love visual storytelling but it took me a while to really accept that art is my calling, even though I’ve been drawing since I was 3 years old.
Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by?
Too many to mention by name but a variety of artists from different movements and mediums. Long before going to galleries and museums I was more influenced by cartoons, Russian cartoons from soviet days such as those by Yuri Norstein and famous Russian cartoon series “Nu Pagadi” then American cartoons like Droopy, Popeye, and of course Walt Disney animations.
It wasn’t until college that I studied modern and post-modern art history. That’s when I got introduced to the figurative artists from the Vienna Secession movement, the School of London, German Expressionists to name a few.
I am also heavily influenced by movies, novels, and short stories, authors such as Haruki Murakami, Ernest Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson, Ray Bradbury, Ayn Rand, to name a few.
Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?
I usually like to work alone because then I can control the process from beginning to end. That’s one of the things that I enjoy about drawing and painting. I have collaborated with other artists in the past and have enjoyed that process as well.
I would like also to collaborate with others in different fields such as movies, fashion, and product design. I’m open to the possibilities.
Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?
I don’t set out to create projects or a series, my ideas come as I am working, feeds off of one another or from current events, books I’m reading, or TV shows.
I do have an idea for a series inspired by Haruki Murakami’s short story Men Without Women. Stay tuned.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I would be an Adman, writing copy. But of course, that requires a very different skillset and I’m not very good with words. So that’s wishful thinking. Maybe write short stories as well.
Have you found any other artists on Singulart whose work you admire?
I know few artists personally and I browse Singulart occasionally, there is so much great art. When I find work that grabs my attention I try to get in touch with the artist and try to learn about their process and approach.
Generally, I try not to get influenced by other visual artists. I just feel like there is more in the world I can get influenced from and bring them to visual art rather than get influenced by other artists.
What advice could you give to young artists starting out?
It feels uncomfortable giving others advice, so all the following I tell myself, maybe it will help someone else.
I guess I can only speak to those that want to paint and draw. Even if you want to only paint you should learn to draw, it will set you free and make you a more versatile painter, then you won’t have to only rely on pouring paint on the canvas.
Don’t let a technique become your style. Colors are fools gold, instead, learn values and composition. Respect the process, try not to skip steps, master your craft, and don’t worry about committing to a style.
Don’t shy away from learning other skills such as sales and other business-related skills. Have your artist support circle but surround yourself with people in other professions because it is more likely that they will buy art. I don’t focus on creating art that makes others feel good, we have advertising for that.
To me, art is supposed to be thought-provoking and makes the viewer pause and wonder, and maybe makes the viewer feel kind of uncomfortable.