Best of Tigran x Tigran

The 2022 Creative Armenia Week had a powerful start, kicking off with Tigran Tsitoghdzyan’s thought-provoking conversation on talent, education, and friendships

July 22 , 2022  |  by Creative Armenia

DAY 1, Tigran x Tigran – the enigmatic formula refers to the first name of two of the most brilliant Armenian creators of our time: visual artist Tigran Tsitoghdzyan and jazz musician Tigran Hamasyan. Yet a name is far from being the only expression in the equation. Tigrans also share an exceptional talent in their respective fields, as if genius itself is waved into the two syllables of the ancient Armenian name. Undeniable prodigies, they managed to outgrow the definition of “a gifted child,” becoming creative giants whose work defines our generation. 

 

And while the conversation was short of one Tigran, it was certainly not short of wisdom. Tigran Tsitoghdzyan and moderator Garin Hovannisian – a filmmaker, writer, and founder of Creative Armenia delved deeper into the visual artist’s creative journey. Together they reflected on the artist's friendship with Hamasyan, early success, the flaws of educational systems, and much more. Watch the insightful panel discussion, read through the most striking highlights, and explore Tsitoghdzyan’s unique world through his suggestions.

 

Talent is inborn. Killing it is human.

“I was never taught how to mix colors and started oil painting at the age of 5. My dad thought he had to explain how to paint and introduce me to colors when I started. Five minutes later he saw I was already working with it. (...) Talent is an incredible thing but if you do not feed it, it can die really quickly. That was the biggest danger. When you think you have something special you cannot stop. The day you stop and you just rely on it, you are done.”

 

Building a community with NFTs

“People do not understand until the very end what NFTs are. People think it is just a digitized image that you can sell. But actually, it is a token that gives real artists access to a community. It is a community around your work and people who believe in your career and love your art. They become members of your community by buying your NFT. It is more about that. You should separate yourself from the visual part of NFTs. I’ve been educating myself for a while on NFTs. My NFT collection is not just a digital file that you own but also access to things in the future. Shows, residencies. It is going to be a membership to things with me. Long-term relationship.”

 

Quick success and its dangers 

“Today everyone wants to get things done really quickly. A lot of artists are climbing the ladder quickly. Those who climb up quickly, go down just as fast. But I always thought differently. If people want to do things really quickly, I want to go really slow. I want to isolate myself. I do not want to hang out with these curators, museum directors, and people on the board of MoMA to eventually get in the right place with the right people and get a spot somewhere in a group exhibition. I want to get there genuinely. I want to keep working and do new series of work so that in the long term they will have no choice but to come to me and ask me to show up. And if I succeed that will be crazy. If I get friendly with someone who is on the board of MoMA, I will always question if I really deserved it. Do I really have my spot there? Or is it because we had a good time and we are buddies. It is not my way of doing things. I want to deserve it.”
 

The best thing Armenian artists can do

“I would say self-education is the key. Especially, if you do not have the possibility to travel around the world. I would spend a few hours a day just learning what is going on in the art world today. It is very important to feel the time we live in. And in Armenia, it is difficult to feel that because it is a different reality. It is a different world. NYC is a different reality from Armenia. If you live and feel only the reality of Armenia, you cannot become an international artist. It all depends on what you want. If you want to become an international artist you should start thinking internationally.”

Tigran about Tigran

“He is definitely a genius. I have infinite respect for Tigran Hamasyan. I think he is one of the brightest ambassadors of Armenian culture today. He represents Armenian music worldwide. If you go to YouTube, you will see how many Americans and international musicians play his music today. He is becoming a classic. He is amazing. Every time I go to his concert, I feel like I am in the presence of greatness.”

Watch:

  • Tigran (2014), a trailer of a documentary film about Tigran Hamasyan

  • American Mirror: Intimations of Immortality (2018), a trailer of an award-winning documentary, starring Susan Sarandon and inspired by Tigran Tsitoghdzyan’s Mirror series

  • Tigran (1987), a documentary about Tigran Tsitoghdzyan directed by Grigori Melik-Avakyan

  • Protect him Virgin Mary (1990), a documentary about Tigran Tsitoghdzyan directed by Karen Mesian

 

Explore: 

  • Kaws (Brian Donnelly), an American contemporary artist and designer

  • Damien Hirst, an English contemporary artist, entrepreneur, and art collector

  • Jeff Koons, an American contemporary artist 

  • Art Basel, a prestigious international art fair staged annually in Basel, Switzerland

  • Art Miami, a contemporary and modern art fair staged annually in Miami, United States

  • Saatchi Gallery, a London gallery for contemporary art and an independent charity

  • Sona Hamalian, a philanthropic consultant  and the former Director of the American University of Armenia’s Extension Program

  • Jan van Eyck, a celebrated Dutch painter 

  • Pieter Bruegel the Elder, one of the most significant artists of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance

  • The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), one of the largest and most influential museums of modern art in the world 

  • Ohan Durian, an Armenian conductor and composer