We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Dzulfayan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
My family immigrated to LA from Armenia, and even though I was born and raised here, I have a really strong connection to my cultural roots. That being said, there were many challenges I had to face growing up. As an Armenian woman, I was given much more responsibilities to cover, which I felt caused me to grow up faster than I would have liked. It was difficult for me to express my emotions verbally so I turned to art as a safety net. I eventually realized my passion for art and decided to go forward with it career wise.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Well, I’m currently studying Illustration Design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. I appreciate all methods of creating art and am always trying to learn a new one. Right now, I’m really into working digitally via Procreate. It’s become a really fun process for me. Other than digital work, I’m also playing around with sculptural art. I recently finished some panels I made which utilized laser cutting, fabric, and beads. My work is primarily based off of nature. I pull a lot of inspiration from nature and always find myself gravitating towards it when I fell like I’m hitting a creative block. I usually take a walk around my neighborhood to motivate myself, but when I cant do that I will look up botanical studies online or in the books from my library. I feel like if you are passionate in what you do the road to success will basically pave itself. However, a lot of times people overlook the fact that passion should also include patience, consistency, communication, and confidence. Utilizing those skills is something I’ve learned overtime and still practice everyday.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced was definitely imposter syndrome, especially when I first started at Art Center. I was really overwhelmed by all the amazing artist that were attending the school, and so I was constantly comparing my work to others and focusing more on what they were doing rather than what I was. It really pushed me back because I kept trying to mimic styles that weren’t mine in order to get approval from my professors. It also put a really heavy weight on my shoulders because I never felt like I was good enough. But once I kinda took a step back and evaluated my work and what I wanted to create I slowly started to get out of that negative loophole. I do notice a huge difference now in how I think when Im viewing artwork now too. Im much more appreciative of the work rather than in a state of panic.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My absolute favorite thing to do is hiking, so that would definitely be the first thing on our list. My top spots are Griffith, Fryman Canyon, Eaton Canyon, and any trail that has a view of the beach. Im always hungry after hiking so we would for sure grab brunch at Home Restaurant in Los Feliz, which has the best pancakes ever, or we would grab some açaí bowls and drive up to a view in Pacific Palisades where we can enjoy our bowls with a view of the ocean. I really love going to local farmers markets, not only for the fresh fruit and yummy baked goods, but you also meet some very interesting people while your there so we would for sure go to one or two. I think a great way to end our nights would be by going to art shows. Art shows are a really fun way to socialize as well as meeting a bunch of local artists. You can always find small art shows or exhibit in LA for little to no cost so its really worth taking advantage of that opportunity.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents and brother are definitely the people I would give my credit to. They have continuously supported and encouraged me to follow my dreams and I wouldn’t have been able to fulfill those dreams without them.