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Kirk Markarian

Written by Ysmay on .

Airborne Radiation by Kirk MarkarianAirborne Radiation by Kirk Markarian

Meet Kirk Markarian. Our first featured artist in Chicago. Kirk was kind enough to talk about his artwork, his childhood, and Chicago. For a truly unique insider's perspective on Chicago, read on.

(Update: May 31st 2012 - This artist has since relocated to Arizona)


Are you originally from Chicago? If so, what kept you here? If not, why did you relocate and where from?

I am originally from the suburbs of Chicago. I relocated here after meeting my wife, Emily Walsh (my greatest inspiration). I was moving about the suburbs prior to meeting her, and the city provided greater interests. I was also performing on my drums constantly in the city, and driving to and from the suburbs was becoming taxing.

What medium do you prefer and why?

I prefer working with acrylics. I used to paint with oils, but they became annoying, due to their slow drying time. I noticed my attention span was shortening and I needed a medium that would dry more quickly.

Have you always been an artist? If not, what did you transition from?

I've always been fascinated by art (particularly abstract) since I was a young child. I really began to enjoy it when I was in middle school and high school where I drew comic book characters because I found education to be mostly pointless. I was a daydreamer and a reader. I read so much that when I was learning things in school, it seemed I had already read about them in books. I felt public schools were more like a taxpayer/state paid babysitting facility than anything else. This is what pushed me into artwork. I used artwork to fill the spaces when I wasn't listening to the teachers blather. I refused to take classes on art. I taught myself. I found art to be soothing, calming and therapeutic.

What was the first moment when you realised you are capable of making a career for yourself?

Painting is not my career. I am a graphic designer by trade, and I took that career path because I did not want to live with my parents for the rest of my life. I was given an opportunity to take a job in that field, so I grabbed it.

Prior to my job as a graphic designer, I was producing "beats" for hip-hop artists, while working with a partner to create a record label. I also made show fliers and album covers and music for a movie that never made it past a video store in Indiana. The record label never truly happened. At the time, I was living at home with my parents. I was given an ultimatum. Get a job and get your own place. I can never thank them enough for pushing me to get out on my own.

I began painting a year after I moved out. I was inspired by friends at the time. They taught me a couple of techniques, and then I began working on my own. I worked on the paintings and eventually they became something that I was able to control.

Where do you draw your inspiration? - Pun slightly intended!

I am inspired by my surgeries, squares, decay and decline. Depressing topics. I find I am unable to paint happy subjects. Strangely, I am able to use graphic design for happy subjects.

What is your favourite work of art by another artist and why?

"Burn Baby Burn" by David Criner. He has been a source of inspiration to me since I’ve met him in 2007/2008. A teacher and a friend. He has a great grasp of abstract techniques and he’s an art teacher at Northeastern Illinois University. He’s also surprisingly patient with me as a person, I’ve only nice things to say about him.

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