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Chopping Block: Ana Bagayan

We first meet Ana Bagayan last year at her solo show, "Children of the Sun," after hearing so much about her talent and beautiful pieces, we were excited to see them in person.  Ana was so kind and gracious in person, it was as easy to fall in love with her as much as her paintings.   After much anticipation we are looking forward to our first release with Ana this Friday, September 12th, "Nectar", a limited edition, signed and numbered timed release print on wood.

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Ana Bagayan at her solo show "Children of the Sun

POW: According to the bio on your website, you were born in Armenia then moved to America sometime in 1990. Did that transition of cultures play an integral part in the development of your art?  How old were you when you moved to America? Do you remember much of growing up in Armenia?

 Ana: I was about 6 when we moved to the States. One day we just packed up and left. I found out many years later it was because my family had won the Armenian green card lottery and had to decide if we wanted to leave right away or not. Right after we moved out of Armenia, in 1991, the country declared independence from the Soviet Union. However, I had brought some of my school books from Armenia with me which featured a lot of Soviet propaganda and my first solo show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery was inspired by the books, except I replaced the army with birds. I do remember a lot from when I lived there as a child and I have gone back to visit a few times since.

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Spirit of the Wolf by Ana Bagayan

POW: After graduating from Art Center College in Pasadena with your BFA in Illustration, did you notice a measurable difference in your illustration and art?  Can you tell us the best and worst part of attending such a highly regarded art college?

 Ana: I loved every minute that I spent at Art Center. I was 18 when I started going to school there. My family was very overprotective yet encouraging when it came to my passion so all I had was time to focus on my studies and developing my drawing and painting skills. I studied with some of the best artists and illustrators in the field and with other talented students so it was a very creative, inspiring environment to be in. I don't know if there was a worst part. I remember having so much work that I would stay up for 3 days in a row trying to get things done but I even enjoyed that part.

POW: I was excited to see your original works at the solo show "Children of the Sun" in Culver City this past June.  Many of the pieces carried an extraterrestrial theme with alien beings and surroundings, is this a new focus of your art or do you see your art transitioning between themes past and present?

Ana: The theme of my show was different times on Earth, past, present, and future. The paintings are all fictional, but they are largely inspired by ancient cultures like Atlantis, the Sumerians, and even ancient Armenia. I've also been researching ET/UFO phenomena, which is a huge subject by itself and I cannot help but be constantly inspired and want to make images to go with my learnings. The title of my show comes from the ancient Armenians who worshiped the Sun and were known as 'Children of the Sun." I thought it was a nice sentiment that connects everything in our solar system.

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Sea Parade by Ana Bagayan

POW: I read your husband shares your fascination with UFOs and extraterrestrial beings, was this something you discovered together through a shared experience?

Ana: My husband was interested in UFO's and ET's when I met him and one day he popped into my studio with a film called "The Experiencers" and asked if I wanted to see it. For whatever reason, it resonated with me so greatly that I that finished up the final paintings for my first solo show at Thinkspace gallery back in 2012 and spent the last month before the show working on large charcoal drawings of alien-human hybrid children and UFO's just for fun. This was where my work began to transition. I wanted to explore these worlds in color and eventually began making up my own alien worlds and creatures. I was so inspired and fascinated by the subject that it expanded my imagination and realm of possibilities. I had been struggling with coming up with ideas and felt redundant so I let myself be as creatively free as I wanted to be and haven't stopped since.

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POW: A few of your sketches have actual pieces of wood and leaves in them from your hikes around the Southern California mountains. How has nature influenced your works throughout the years?

Ana: I really enjoy working with nature and think of it as a collaboration with the Earth. When I lived in the city, I would pick flowers from the nearby park and use them for painting reference and then put them in books so they didn't go to waste. When we moved to the mountains about a year ago, I had forgotten about the pressed flowers and found them by accident one day. I was working on a small painting and had planned on painting flowers into it but decided to use the pressed flowers instead and fell in love with the process. Then the forest became my art store. In addition to plants, I began using twigs and other found objects to frame my drawings instead of buying frames. I began collected other bits of litter as well from the forest and the lake. I've used bullet shells, crystals, coins, fishing hooks and weights, etc. I love the idea of removing litter from the forest and our water sources and reusing it as art instead of sending it off to the landfill.

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Nectar by Ana Bagayan

POW: We are excited to collaborate with you on an upcoming limited edition, signed and numbered wood print of "Nectar", can you tell us more about the piece?

Ana: I am excited to be working with you too! 'Nectar' was the first painting I did for my show which set the tone for the rest of the pieces. I wanted to make up the piece as I worked so the end result would be a surprise for me. I gave myself a full year to paint so I could take my time and let the ideas grow organically.

It contains two images on the subject of mining. The two parts are interconnected with the light rays from the spaceship which become sun rays in the bottom piece. The top part portrays a futuristic world where ethereal beings are mining flower nectar as their source of energy. In the bottom scene, the girl has found a crystal embedded with an alien fetus. The two parts are different worlds existing simultaneously, which was a theme I used a few times in the show in my larger pieces. In hindsight, its easy to see where the inspirations came from. I've been collecting crystals up here in the mountains and eating flower nectar!

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For more information on Ana Bagayan please visit: http://anabagayan.com/