We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Kalachyan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, how does your business help the community?
I’m a very passionate person who has worked hard to get to where I am today but it it would be very naive of me to say that I’m not where I am because of sacrifices other people have made and the support I’ve received from friends, family, and strangers along the way. I’m a strong believer that those who have privilege need to use it to better the world because we cannot help what we are born into. I’m a first generation Armenian-American artist who is the descendant of genocide survivors. I’m forever indebted to my ancestors — because of the sacrifices they made, I will never have to face the adversity they did. Towards the end of September, a war broke out in Artsakh and indigenous Armenian civilians have be shelled and bombed non-stop since then. As I watched brave Armenians in Armenia drop what they were doing and rush to the frontlines, I felt completely helpless being half way around the world so I decided to help using what I know best, my art. I decided to donate 100% of my art sales to Artsakh in the month of October. Since the beginning of the month, $25K has been raised to provide medicine, food and critical aide to the region. Art has such potential to bring people together, it only makes sense to continue to use my art to help people both abroad and in the U.S.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a fourth-generation artist who grew up around and dabbled in art my entire life but I didn’t decide to pursue it professionally when I went to college. After graduating UCLA, I took up a career in media and marketing and didn’t really start painting until I was a few years into my career. About two years ago a coworker encouraged me to start selling my art. This is someone who I trust entirely and know wouldn’t suggest this unless she knew i could succeed. Within a few weeks, i made some prints of my work and started selling my art! Has it been easy? No. Has it provided many growth opportunities and challenges? Absolutely. I started going to flea markets where I started to sell my prints — I can’t even describe the feeling I had the first time I sold my work to a complete stranger and the reassurance that comes with that. Then I started incorporating original artworks into my markets and saw success there. The more markets I went to and more people I met, the more my business and online presence grew. In terms of my art and my process there are two major themes commonly found in my art; pieces and lines. Both are representative of the human experience. The abstract pieces are symbolic of the various experiences that shape us and make each one of us whole. While we are each made of different circumstances that come together to create our unique selves, we all are similar in that we’re connected by the human experience. The shapes in my work are born out of lines which are often created by accident — a moment in time created by my subconscious that starts with a need to create. I start with a blank canvas and then I let go and see where my hand and my mind take me. While my subconscious is formed by my own experiences and bias, I aim to always challenge personal perspective, whether it’s my own or others. I do not like to use flesh tones, I have no intention of creating specific features or subjects of a specific gender. In sharing my work with others I love to see how their own subconscious informs their view and interpretation of my art. While I see a smiling woman, the viewer might see a solemn man. I love being challenged because it’s through being challenged that humans grow and evolve. Creativity is often bound by the limitations we, others, and society puts on ourselves so I strive to be ever-evolving, ever-questioning, ever-exploring and ever-learning. As I evolve so does my artistic process – I explore different textures, grounds, materials and color palettes. Even pieces within the same series can change significantly from piece to piece. New series are an evolution of a previous one. Not only is this representative of my own self-evolution, but it signifies the experiences of generations before me because all of their collective moments come together to create the person I am. In a world that often leaves me feeling anxious, apathetic, and frustrated, my artistic process allows me to be the best version of myself — through exploration of new mediums, my subsconscious, my feelings towards fellow humans and my own intentions I become someone who is focused, creative, passionate, diligent, hopeful, connected and calm. I strive to bring the same feelings to those viewing my art.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As someone who was born and raised in the city of Los Angeles, I can with 100% confidence say that the most magical place in all of Los Angeles is the Jerome C. Daniel Overlook. It’s the one of the only places in LA that i know that you can see all of Los Angeles, from the beaches to to East LA and parts of the San Fernando valley — catching a sunrise of a sunset here is an absolute must followed or preceded by a drive down Mulholland. The beautiful thing about LA is its diversity, not only the diversity of the people but the neighborhoods and how each part of town has its own charm. Downtown is definitely one of my favorite neighborhoods in LA — some of my favorite spots are the historical theaters along broadway, Grand Central Market, the Row, the Bradbury building and the Broad. On the west side, I definitely recommend visiting the Getty Center, not only for the art but the phenomenal views as well. A picnic on the lawn at the Getty Center is always a great idea. LA has so much great food! Some of my absolute favorites are Bestia, Bottega Louie, Bar Ama, Kazu Nori and Mr. O’s.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Where do I start?! My family and friends, who support me unconditionally. Who encourage me to sell my art in the first place, who were among the first people to purchase my art when I got started, who help me fulfill orders when I’m overwhelmed with my 9-5, and who wake up at 5am to help me at flea markets (when that was a thing, ha!). It always takes a village, and I am so grateful for mine.