Artist Proof Interview with Artist: Sona Babajanyan
Global Location: Brisbane, Australia
AP Shop URL: http://www.zazzle.com/sonash/
Sona is a self-taught graphic artist and illustrator from Armenia, currently living in Brisbane, Australia. She has been working as a translator of literature, editor, and graphic designer, and it was not until 2008, when she finally decided to focus all her attention on art and illustration. Sona’s works are full of subtle humor, poetry and magic. Many of her works are held in private collections in Europe and the US. She works both in traditional and digital media, showing exclusively individual style both in color and black and white.
AP: How long have you been making art for and what lead you to start.
SB: I have been drawing and painting since I can remember myself. I grew up in a very creative and art-loving family, and my parents encouraged all my “artistic endeavors” to the extent that at the age of 5 I was allowed to paint all the walls of our living room with gouache. I still remember those big bright flowers that stayed there for quite a while, filling myself with a sense of my own greatness. Wish I could bring some of that feeling back!
AP: Where do you currently live and work and how does this influence your work.
SB: Most of my life I spent in Armenia. That’s where my roots are, that’s where my style has been developed. However, it was only after moving to Australia in 2008, that I decided to focus all my attention on art and to become a full-time freelance artist and illustrator. Each of the places I lived in my life – Armenia, Russia, US, and now Australia, left its certain trace, however, I don’t think there is some direct influence of the place. My art is more about some inner space.
AP: Did you have formal training if so what? If you are self taught can you tell us what you prefer about being a self taught artist vs having formal training.
SB: My sole formal art training came from a two years of study in the art college in Yerevan and several months of private art classes, so most of my artistic skills were developed by myself. I dropped the college, because as a kid I hated being told what to draw and was really bored by the academic studies. My other life-long interest was literature which brought me eventually to Moscow Maxim Gorky Literature Institute and I pursued the career of a translator of literature, although I never stopped drawing. Sometimes I really regret not having formal art training, feeling that I might have missed something very important. But then I comfort myself by the thought that being self-taught is not that bad at all. After all I spent my time on learning what I really wanted and needed.
AP: Can you tell us about where you make your work is it in your house, a studio etc.. and how it effects your work.
SB: : Unfortunately, I don’t have a studio, I work from home, in a small, but rather cosy and bright room, where I feel quite comfortable. It is not well suited for large-scale and messy projects, but it’s good enough for what I usually do.
AP: What are some of you favorite design projects/exhibitions you have worked on to date.
SB: I have been quite excited by my first solo exhibition, organized by the Armenian Embassy in Washington DC, but that’s probably just because it was my first one. I hope the most interesting is still ahead.
AP: What is your medium of choice.
SB: Pen and ink is my all time favorite and has some very special place in my life. However, I love experimenting with different textures and techniques. Recently I am getting addicted to my Wacom tablet, creating digital compositions, based on freehand graphite drawings.
AP: What is the relationship between technique and content in your work.
SB: Well, it depends… Sometimes the process, especially when I work with pen and ink, is something like a meditation for me. The content is woven from the pieces of my thoughts and dreams that reveal themselves and evolve in the process, and I don’t even think about technique while working. However, there are certain projects – not only commissions, but the personal pieces as well – where I have a very specific concept in my mind and try to find the best medium and style to realize them.
AP: Who are some of the artists that have inspired you and or your work.
SB: Numerous brilliant artists, from the old masters to my contemporaries, but no direct influences, it’s hard to name someone in particular.
AP: In what direction would you like to see your work going over the next five years.
SB: More new works that I am happy with, more sales, more exhibitions and interesting illustration commissions that will bring me recognition and sense of accomplishment, helping me to feel that I am moving in the right direction.
AP: What forth coming projects and or exhibitions do you have scheduled for 2011.
SB: I hope to finish and publish my “Bestiarium”, the book of beasts of the Inner land, self-initiated book project I started last year.
AP: Take us on a guided tour through a day in your life as an artist.
SB: Wish I could spend more time on my artwork, but there are too many distractions – some pleasant, some not. I have a family I have to take care of, so during the day I try to make time for my work (including reading and internet) in between of the house chores. The favorite and most productive time is after 7 pm.
AP: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.
SB: Thank you for featuring my work!