She designed one of the first campaigns for major fashion label, Juicy Couture and has side fascination with metaphysics. Just your typical California girl … or not. Graphic designer, Yeva Babayan brings a touch of exotic class to her edgy illustrations. Check out the interview from this bright young artist!
Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from and where are you living now?
I was born and raised in Armenia during the Soviet Union era, came to America at the age of 10 and has been happily living in Glendale California ever since. Frequently I fantasize of living in New York, but the weather keeps pulling me back to Cali.
At what age did you begin illustrating? And when did it become a profession?
I honestly believe I started illustrating while still in my mother's womb. I knew from a very young age that art, in whatever form, would be my profession. In high school I attended the Pasadena Art Center College of Design art program and decided then to apply to their graphic design program. A great way to produce commercially viable work infused with illustration.
What people (artist or otherwise), places or things inspire you, and how? Salvador Dali has always been my greatest inspiration. His work is very metaphysical and never ending, there are endless worlds in one painting, up for infinite interpretations, which in turn makes it timeless.
Essentially I'm mostly inspired by nothingness, and the phenomenon of rising forms within the nothingness. I usually create best when I stop thinking and let things flow, with no control or premeditation, then whatever comes out I build on. Seemingly insignificant things yield the grandest inspirations.
I'm also inspired by ancient civilizations, African tribes, their traditions, languages and body art.
Are you professionally trained or were you self taught?
I think an artist intuitively possess all the skills they will ever need to create. I've gone through classes in college that teach the "appropriate" way to hold a brush or use certain tools, but I do not think art or creation can really be taught because it's so personal. A teacher can pass on their technical skills, experience and views, but you are 'own best teacher, and in that respect I'm self taught.
What are your most used 'tools of the trade' (ie markers, pens, etc)
At the moment I love watercolors. It's one medium that carries a lot of freedom and can be used with the least amount of control, which is something I'm a big fan of.
The infamous black ink pen has always been one of my favorite tools. But overall, I think the project dictates the tools to be used. One time I accidently left a cup of Yerba Mate tea on the stove and was too lazy to clean it up, the next morning when it was all dry, it looked amazing, so for a week I was obsessed with painting with tea.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on a series of paintings exploring the composition of the human body as it is constructed out of the predominant thought patterns a person holds. This is a personal project.
Can you tell us a little more about your 'Juicy Couture' pieces?
It was amazing working on this project as the brand was just taking off and there was no point of reference as far as "keeping on brand", which has given me a total freedom to do whatever I wanted. The only thing I had to work with was the brand slogans, other then that it was complete mayhem. At the time they were my dream client! Each poster was born out of my interpretation of the slogans, and each interpretation would spring out of the most random things I would hear, see, feel and encounter that day.
What are your other interests beside art?
I love metaphysics, and read everything I can get my hands on. The human mind and the possibilities of it's use have always fascinated me. Foreign cinema and discovering new music is definitely a favorite pastime. Traveling and eating is something I love to indulge in as well, I'm a total foodie.
What is the worst parts of being a full time, working artist?
Well, the worst is realizing that at times the work flow can be so overwhelming that it seems my entire life is spent in the confines of my studio while there is a whole world out there to see and discover. I get a little claustrophobic, then get over it and dive back into the work.
And the best?
The best part is doing what you love and getting paid for it. The work is never repetitive and its beautiful to always be faced with a new challenge to solution. New ways to look at things, and know that what I'm doing is in some way touching or influencing another's life.
Any advice to up and coming artists?
Do not ever compromise your vision.
And there you have it, thanks for your contribution Yeva! We hope to see more of you.