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.