Alexandra Manukyan paints surreal figurative works, some with involved narrative tableaus and others as set-up, posed portraits. They have a classic old master approach with vintage garb or fanciful head dresses, contrasting with contemporary tattoos and dominance inspired garb. Steampunk masks, bondage cuffs, nun hats, Victorian corsets and punk tattoos find their way across her canvas. Her women are real – strong, fragile and complicated, reacting to and presenting defiance to symbols of traditional romantic roles.
From Last Rites Gallery, which recently hosted her solo show, Sine Qua Non, (without which nothing – an indispensable condition, element, or factor):
The title suggests that each female must face the inevitable or perhaps, that risk, pain and conflict are all vital components that cannot be undermined in love. It is that dichotomy that ignites the passions; the internal psyches and subconscious desires that are our true driving forces that will either forge something new or destroy us altogether.
My favorite art memory from my childhood is …
When my father would take me to the museums and he would explain each painting in detail. I was surprised and fascinated to realize how much information one could get from each line and brush stroke.
My interest in art/painting/sculpture started …
When I developed enough painting and drawing skills to freely and precisely express my ideas.
I am often inspired and motivated by …
By my models.
If I could spend the day with any artist (dead or alive) it would be …
Definitely, it would be Rembrandt. I would really wanted to know what magic he possessed to put so much soul in to his paintings.
The tip or art technique (a specific tidbit of craft, advice or mechanical expertise) that has helped me the most is ….
The tip or art technique that has helped me the most is the utilizing different underpainting techniques to achieve different effects.
If I could own one piece of art, out of the world’s collections, it would be …
One of the Rembrandt’s self portraits.
My current favorite piece of my own art is …
For the Jar of Hearts, (above) Because … I think conceptually and technically I accomplished a lot in this piece.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on the new series for my upcoming solo exhibit that will be held on October 12th, 2013 at Distinction Gallery.
The last book I couldn’t put down was …
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s, The Power of Intention.
One of my favorite words is … Sweetie.
One of my favorite smells is … Lavender
I can’t live without … My two sons, they are the meaning of my life.
My favorite motto (or quote) is …
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
Florence, Italy. So much culture, and inspiration.
How would you say your training in fashion and graphic design influences your art?
It gave me the sensibility in textures, styles and fabrics that I otherwise wouldn’t have.
We noticed you like nun hats, masks and head dresses, why?
Nun’s hats represent the symbol of faith towards something, it can be love, it can be anything in the given subject matter. They don’t have any religious connotation, at least not in my paintings. They also have very beautiful shapes, are very stylish and add beautifully to the composition.
Masks conceal the true emotions, ‘true face’ and intentions of the person…
You have said that individual models really influence the direction of each painting. How do you chose your models? Are they friends? Professionals?
Most of the models I paint are professionals. I choose them simply by their specific look or by the way they convey a specific attitude that is needed for my subject matter.
Some of them seem to have Renaissance features, not the typical “pretty” face, but very real, individual and strong women. Any thoughts on this?
The more real they look, the more honest my art looks.
LINK: Alexandra’a Website
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