That was the invocation solicited and title selected by Los Angeles artist Kevork Cholakian for his exhibit at Gallery J2 in Scottsdale. His exhibit featured realistic paintings, ceramic chairs and various props that blurred the lines between reality and fantasy. In this way, Cholakian is more than just a realist painter.
“There are a lot of realists who paint, but I think that mine is somewhat unique and different from traditional realism,” Cholokian said. “I’m trying to use realism to carry the illusion of something then play off that illusion.”
He added, “I want to draw you in, then confuse you and confound you.”
And a lot of his pieces did just that.
One piece, titled “peaches 2,” particularly captures this caricature. It portrays a blue carton with dripping paint and peaches, all on top of a wood plank. The wood, with an engraving of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” would lead you to believe that it was just a normal wood engraving, when in fact it wasn’t wood at all.
Cholakian grew up in New York making art as a child and eventually went to art school in Prague. After graduating from art school, Cholakian began working in broadcast design for a lot of major networks. All the while he was doing broadcast design, he was also painting.
He then moved to L.A. where he had his own studio. It was three years ago that he quit designing for broadcast and pursued painting full-time.
His passion is to get people to pay attention to the everyday details in their lives.
“People see things that are familiar to them, but they just walk by them, but if you look a little closer to that there is a lot going on there, there are a lot of cool patterns and colors that you would otherwise miss,” Cholakian said.
ASU graduate, Laila Atshan is the art director of the gallery and she specifically recruited Cholakian to exhibit.
She shared her feelings on Cholakian’s art.
“It makes me happy,” Atshan said. “The color pallets and the way he presents his work is amazing. I was also shocked and taken aback by his ceramics.”
Gallery frequenter, Patrick O’Connell had a chance to talk with Cholakian, and left the venue impressed.
“He’s passionate and humble, and that’s rare in commercial artists,” O’Connell said.
Reach the reporter at Demetrius.Burns@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @dgburns20