Enriching the Arts

Featured Artist: Vahe Tokmajyan, MFA, ASA


The Web of Knowledge_small

Vahe Tokmajyan, The Web of Knowledge

Biography

Vahe Tokmajyan is an internationally known sculptor who calls Calgary home.

He has over 30 years of experience in professional sculpture with an extensive portfolio of outdoor sculptures installed in many countries of the world.  His studio size artworks are shown in museums, galleries and private collections. Vahe has incorporated his experience as a practicing artist into his teaching approach. With an MFA specializing in Drawing and Sculpture, Vahe has a broad experience in adult teaching with the focus on hands on practice.

He is a recipient of the Art and Culture Award at the 2007 Calgary Immigrants of Distinction Award. Vahe was the artistic consultant for the “ Cultural intersection” exhibition, the first Multicultural exhibition in Calgary organized by the Calgary Multicultural Centre in 2009.

In 2012, Vahe received a project grant from The Calgary 2012 Cultural Capital of Canada for his sculpture “The Law of Attraction”, which became a finalist at the National Sculpture competition in Kingsbrae garden, New Brunswick.

Vahe received several grants through Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Vahe has been representing Canada internationally since 2008: in China he created a sculpture “The first step” at the International symposium in Shenzhen.  Later, in 2010 he received a Public Choice Award at the Chaco International Sculpture Biennial in Argentina. In 2014 Vahe created a sculpture “The Tenth Station of the Cross ”at the International Sculpture festival in Brazil.

Water Nymph_small

Vahe Tokmajyan, Water Nymph

Q & A with the ASA

ASA: Can you tell us about your influences?

Vahe: I was introduced to the art of Sculpture by my father Levon Tokmajyan,  a renowned Armenian sculptor. During the period that I worked with him, I learned the fundamentals of Sculpture and the work discipline; essentially, it was the A-to-Z of Sculpture – starting from the simple idea, shaping this idea into a sculptural maquette, and the execution of the maquette in the form of a finished art piece.

My further influences were based on the series of research projects in Europe. I studied Greek archaic and classical sculpture in Greece, admiring the skills and techniques of Masters in transforming a block of marble into an art-piece. I learned from the Masters of Renaissance in Italy, specifically Michelangelo’s masterpieces. I also explored Impressionists in France, the sculptures of Rodin, Bourdelle and Maillol.

Furthermore, my art was also influenced by a British sculptor Henry Moore, by his theory of sculpture and the unique sculptural forms he created to associate with human movement. Recently, I was studying the incorporation of colour in 3D sculpture, and explored a one-off Tarot Garden in Tuscany, Italy by a sculptor Niki Saint Phalle.

To me, the ability to learn is the most important quality for an artist, and that is what has shaped my views and vision as a contemporary artist.

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Vahe Tokmajyan, The 10th Station of the Cross

ASA: Would would you consider your most successful body of work to date?

Vahe: I consider my art piece successful when in the process of creation I grow as an artist. For me this entails the development of my artistic vision and style, for the specific sculpture, through clear goals and creative approaches.

One of many sculptures that I consider successful is the composition that I created in Brazil in 2014 during an International Sculpture symposium. My vision in this project was to tell a story about the 10th station of the cross in a 3-figure composition. It was a story about the humiliation of Christ and the hatred of the evil force; in this case the Roman solders who tore Christ’s garments. Based on the symposium requirements I was to create a sculptural composition in a figurative style.

There were a few goals that I set to achieve in this project. As a result of identifying a specific approach, I created a triangular composition in an overall shape of an arch, with Christ in the centre, and 2 solders on the sides. I accentuated the facial expressions of the solders to showcase their aggressive and angry portraits, against the tortured, but calm portrait of Christ.

The sculpture was represented as an individual unit within the architectural complex of the 15th century church. Once installed, the art-piece organically fit into its environment, since I incorporated some elements and texture, resembling the façade of the church, into the sculpture.

ASA and TREX Address

Crossroads Art Centre
#305 - 1235 26th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2G 1R7
ASA Phone: (403) 265-0012
TREX Phone: (403) 262-4669

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