My Way Home
28.04.2016Armenian by Birth
| From Los Angeles, USA | Moved in 2013
A prominent architect, designer and artist from Los Angeles, Vasken Brudian has created a great life for himself in Armenia. His grandparents were originally from Cesaria and Arabkir, but the Armenian Genocide led them to Cairo, Egypt, left as orphans with nothing to call their own other than an undeniable will to survive and strength to thrive. Vasken’s parents were born and found one another in Cairo as well. Yet, it had always been their desire to reside once again in their homeland, this time in the newly created free republic of Armenia. At the tender age of 2, his parents would bring him to Armenia, where he would attend local schools and grow up in an environment that spoke and thought in Armenian. Yet, they would not end up staying in the homeland. About 12 years after the move, they would once again take the family away from Armenia, this time by choice, and settle in Los Angeles, where a 14 year old Vasken would attend high school and university. For many years after wards, he would be making annual visits as a tourist to his home. Today, despite the 30 years spent in the United States, he speaks both dialects of our language fluently.
Vasken’s life has been an interesting one. After working at some of the best architectural firms, he formed Archi Design Group in Los Angeles. In 2009, he established the Center of Experimental Art and Architecture, acting as its director and gallery curator. The gallery exhibited the work of emerging and established artists, architects, filmmakers, and photographers who had demonstrated innovation and contributed to the advancement of their respective disciplines. Having studied art and architecture, Brudian employs the knowledge of both disciplines in his work. His artistic work has been exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries across the United States.
After a certain amount of time, being a tourist in Armenia was no longer enough. “You know, Armenia was the place where I wanted to stay, but not as a tourist. So, while fortune kept bringing me here every year, each year I would be searching the different fields and trying to figure out a way to stay. Fortunately, that moment came. I was presented the idea of TUMO by Marie Lou Papazian. I really admired the concept of it all and told her that I am ready to come and hold a workshop at the educational center. So, TUMO was opened in August 2011, and I was holding a workshop there by October of the same year, but two months afterwards.” It would be a great partnership, with his workshops attracting many students who were interested in design and architecture.
“I had several workshops there. I really saw the interest and willingness of the kids to create something new, to come up with new ideas. It was amazing. We did ‘Yerevan Project’ and had exhibitions in TUMO. At the end, I realized that it is what I want to be occupied with. So I went back to Los Angeles to finalize it all and since 2013 I reside in Yerevan; finally, I was not a tourist anymore. It was a gradual decision and you need to take into consideration all the facts and details really seriously. I can see that Armenia has a great potential and truly is the best place for development.”
Vasken currently teaches design at TUMO Center for Creative Technologies and is the director of Ardēan Design. The group aims to develop the design industry in Armenia with its works by producing products that are embellished with Armenia’s cultural identity. Everything from paintings to scarves to everyday accessories get to have the artist’s touch, turning manuscript illuminations, handwritten designs and the symbols of our history into something more tangible for the population and markets of today.
As an artist, Vasken finds ample inspiration in Armenia; he is always traveling and hiking through the mountains and fields. His photos are a crucial part of his art. You can see the peace and beauty of the nature, feeling the unknown and unseen power that resonates throughout the land, all that which has every Armenian falling in love with Armenia. “I found an incredible team; we share the same ideas, the same values, and we want our design products to make a great impact on Armenia’s international image. We have different plans as well; we had an exhibition at TUMO dedicated to the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. There is, of course, so much more to come.” Vasken has his office at Impact Hub Yerevan, with an amazing view of the city and Republic Square. “The sunset is the best part here. It is one of the many reasons I enjoy my work and life in Armenia.”
Posted by Rima Yeghiazaryan