When asked how relationships have influenced my art, the answer is clear and immediate in my mind. My Father has been the most influential person in my life. It is because of him that I am so passionate about my Armenian heritage, making sure it is celebrated everyday and passed down to the future generations to ensure that it thrives.The implementation, the need to be proactive in doing so, came from the birth of my daughters. I feel a duty and responsibility to them to make sure they knew all about our history, traditions, spoke the language and had a sense of belonging to a community as well as feeling proud to be the descendants of a people whose roots date back thousands of years.
My art role model has always been Author and Illustrator, Mary Engelbreit. Mary’s work was my first introduction, at the age of 16, to the world of illustration and in realizing how artwork can play a part in product creation. To me, an immigrant and refugee of the Lebanese war, her artwork represented the America we dreamed of. I loved seeing her illustrations and imagining that I would eventually live in the magical cottages she created and would be one of those children living the happy, creative and free life that she portrayed in her artwork.
If I had such an incredible opportunity to meet Mary Englebreit, I would thank her for sharing her vision with the world and inspiring thousands including me to follow our own passions. She opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed.
To my Father, I would say, “I am grateful for you. I am the person I am today because of you, your love, your guidance, your discipline and your unfiltered truth.”