Vasken Kalayjian was born in 1956 in Aleppo, Syria, a descendent of Armenian immigrants who had fled their homeland to escape genocide by the Ottoman Turks 40 years earlier. Vasken’s passion for painting began as a young boy in Syria, and continued throughout his youth as a teenager in the United States. He met his mentors, Professor Bruce Colvin and painting instructor Rudolph Baranik, while studying Fine Arts at the Pratt Institute in New York.
In the 1970s his work chameleoned through surrealism, impressionism, and synthetic cubism before coming into his own artistic voice in the early 90s. While his early works were monochromatic and chiefly dominated by black, his mature periods move towards a vibrant color palette and expressive abstraction. His work shows a clear influence by color field painters like Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still.
Kalayjian’s work is a creative exploration into the self and spirituality. In part due to his childhood experience of immigration and also inspired by the teachings of Buddhism, his work reflects a need for understanding and healing. The study of human consciousness has been a lifelong interest, which he pursues through Shamanic practice and the Fourth Way teachings of the mystic and philosopher George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (G. I. Gurdjieff) and his students, P.D. Ouspensky, Maurice Nicoll, and Jeanne de Salzmann. These rich and varied learnings have fused into his artistic and personal philosophy, and manifest themselves in his distinct visual language.
“Whatever concepts that I cannot express through language,” he writes, “all flow through me into my painting. In that moment, it becomes my connection - a lifeline to everything and everybody.”
In parallel to his career as an artist, Kalayjian has been involved with several successful businesses and startups. As a young man, Kalayjian developed a career as an art director and branding specialist beginning with his work in broadcasting at NBC. Later he formed a New York based branding consultancy specialized in global strategic branding, naming, integrated marketing and design, also cofounded Tribe Global Network.
Vasken Kalayjian is a proud father and currently lives between Armenia and the USA. He keeps a studio at the Read’s ArtSpace Building in Bridgeport, CT as well as in Yerevan Armenia.
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