Irena "Inks" Tatevosyan was born and raised in Europe. Since then she has found herself surrounded by the most incredible art you could lay your eyes on. In 2013 she was awarded Las Vegas RAW Visual Artist of The Year.
Interview and Photography by Jorge Lara
VIM: Hello, Irena, how have you been? I had a great time at our photoshoot in the Arts District for your interview. What have you been up to since your award win at RAW Las Vegas?
IRENA "INKS" TATEVOSYAN: Hello. I've been doing great since the last Raw Show I did. The Semi finals were a blast, and winning Visual Artist of the Year was even a bigger surprise. I'm definitely beyond excited still. Since the show I have been getting into all kind of various art projects, trying out different things and techniques. Been participating in lots of local art shows, even became a resident artist at The Artistic Armory. Next step will be First Friday event.
VIM: You are originally from Yerevan, Armenia. How was it growing up there? Do you remember your earliest artistic influence? What has influenced you since then? You've listed designer HR Giger as one of your influences. What is it about him that most inspired you?
IRENA "INKS" TATEVOSYAN: Armenian nature and the country in itself is very old so there was definitelly a lot of inspiration all around me growing up. Starting with famous Armenian and Russian painters, and ending with the beauty of the nature in the country where I grew up. However, I have always been drawn to a bit of a macabre/nontraditional style of art, and H.R. Giger was one of the first painters who's work has had a huge influence on me growing up and as I became an artist I see myself following his open mindedness.
VIM: You studied Media Arts and Animation at the Art Institute and Film and Fine Arts at UNLV. That is quite a span of knowledge to mine from. What do you see yourself doing with all the knowledge you have accumulated?
IRENA "INKS" TATEVOSYAN: I've never wanted to be stuck doing just one thing for the rest of my life. Therefore I've always tried to be versatile in all kinds of art forms. From traditional to modern and computerized. Let's just say I definitely don't discriminate when it comes to picking what media to work with, paper, canvas, or digitally. In the future my goal is to try everything I do in the art world, at least once. However, my biggest goal is to make it as far as working on a big feature film whether in Hollywood or elsewhere, because I think it would be such an amazing experience and honor to be part of something big like that.
VIM: Tell us a bit about your work process. How do you go about doing the graphic work that you do?
IRENA "INKS" TATEVOSYAN: Well, just like mostly every [professional artist you need to come up with a cool original idea. Then comes the sketching, multiple different renders of course. When I have finally chose the one that fits me the most, depending on whether I'm working on paper or the computer, I rough draft it out. Details and finalization comes afterwards. Same goes with any sort of 3D modeling I do, it's an ongoing process, sometimes taking not hours, but days to finish. In the end, when I believe that it's pretty much ready to be hung or displayed or in case of an outside project I hamd it off to the client only when they/ or myself are happy with the final result. Of course, us as artists most of us being perfectionists, we are never really a 100% fully satisfied with the final piece, but as long as it between 95-99%, then it's sufficient.
VIM: Your art was recently featured at the Artistic Armory, how did it go? Are there any local artists that you admire?
IRENA "INKS" TATEVOSYAN: Yes, there are a handful of artists who's work I deeply like, but in the long run I believe that every single of our local Las Vegas artists has something different to offer, so It's not that easy to pick a favorite. I like appreciate them all.
VIM: You exhibited your artwork at the First Annual Art4NF Charity Art Show in May which was announced by Jeff Leibow of Jersey Boys. The nonprofit serves families and individuals with neurofibromatosis. The show also featured artists Julie Bergonz, Erika Reynolds, Priscilla Daniels. How was it being able to be part of that experience?
IRENA "INKS" TATEVOSYAN:Being part of a nonprofit charity event such as Art4NF was an amazing experience. It shows many that money is not always the object that artists are after. Plus being able to support such a great cause was very fulfilling. I admire Jeff Leibow for putting on such an event to raise awareness about NF and tell those who my not know about it what it is and how we are all doing out part to fight it.
VIM: I love the great detail in your tattoos. Tell us a bit about them, how many do you have and what inspired each one?
IRENA "INKS" TATEVOSYAN: I don't have a count to my tattoos. I guess you could call them big pieces. There were all inspired by things, stories, and beliefs that I admire and stand by. I also like to pay tribute to my favorite artists, and I definitely wasn't afraid to put some of their pieces onto my skin as well. Including a whole leg piece that is dedicated solely to H.R. Giger. I call myself "A walking gallery". And unlike most people nowadays who get tattoos for decoration and most later regret them, I can prudly say, I've never regretted a single piece that I have had done.
VIM: From all the art work that you have accumulated in your portfolio, are there any that have stood out the most?
IRENA "INKS" TATEVOSYAN: I look at my own art in very different way and I judge differently than how others may judge while looking at it. But from people paying attention, I have had different people liking different pieces. However, i will have to admit that my "Sea Maiden" piece is definitely a winner among the general population. I'm glad it appeals to so many men and women alike. The best reward for an artist is when someone sincerely likes their work, and even better when they are willing to hang it on their walls.
VIM: If you had the opportunity to have your dream art exhibition, what would you feature in it?
IRENA "INKS" TATEVOSYAN: Along with Art I also love Sculpture. If I was able to have a gallery opening/exhibition somewhere I would definitely love to have it be 50% different types of painting and 50% Sculpture. Preferable somewhere in California or the East Coast, such as Boston, or New York.