BY ALEEN ARSLANIAN
Art lovers and friends gathered at The Glenmark Hotel in Glendale on Thursday where an opening reception was held for artist Tro Khayalian’s latest exhibition, entitled “Abstraction.”
Guests enjoyed champagne and a silent auction as Khayalian took the time to mingle with fans and discuss his artwork, inspirations, and creative process.
“’Abstraction,’ to me, means freedom,” the artist told Asbarez during an interview at the reception. “Freedom of my mind. Freedom of my soul. Whatever I feel in that moment – that day – I apply it toward my canvas.”
Khayalian’s interest in art peaked when he was in First Grade. He vividly remembers when he first began painting and, later, “tapping into other materials,” namely metal. Today, he primarily works with acrylic paint and metal, specifically used scraps and recycled car parts from his auto mechanic shop, kitchen utensils, and even pieces of metal “junk” donated by friends.
The art featured in “Abstraction” was created with metal, acrylic paint, chalk, pastel, and ink. Intricate, abstract metal sculptures, created with used scraps, as well as a number of colorful paintings are on display. Khayalian said, the sculptures can sometimes take over 200 hours to complete.
Khayalian’s creative process often includes music. “I have to have my proper music [on] in order to for me to actually start painting,” he explained, as a Pearl Jam song played through the speakers of the hotel lobby – from Khayalian’s own playlist.
He prefers to work with acrylic paint rather than oil, because it dries more quickly and is easier to work with when he uses his fingers as tools to paint.
“I listen to System of a Down, Sebu Simonian…,” said Khayalian, pointing to a metal sculpture of a ballerina as he discussed the significance of music to his work. Entitled “Ballerina,” the piece was inspired by Sebu Simonian and Jonah Walsh’s song, “Just Fly.”
Although Khayalian is inspired by certain artists, such as Salvador Dali, his final creations are distinctly his own. “I try to always be true to myself,” he said.
When asked what his favorite piece on display was, Khayalian mentioned a sculpture of a metal angel on display at the reception. However, he noted that he usually prefers not to use words like “favorite,” because he would rather not “be attached to just one thing.”
“I always want to do something better, something greater,” said Khayalian. “I just always want to push the envelope to do something better in my art.”
“Abstraction” is on display in The Glenmark, Glendale, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, located at 1100 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91202, through May 29.
To learn more about Tro Khayalian and his work, check out the MikedUpPod podcast, where he discusses his childhood and its effect on his art. More of Khayalian’s artwork can be found on his Instagram page and website.