Gallery shows art of St. Francis alum

Artist mixes the disciplines of architecture and painting on his canvases.

November 04, 2010|By Hripsime Moskovian, Special to the Valley Sun
(Photo by Ernesto…)

Koko Hovaguimian, an alumnus of St. Francis High School, is exhibiting his Renaissance Series collection of artwork at Stephanie's Art Gallery in La Ca¿¿ada.

"Typically when I'm painting, I like to work in series. This one was the Renaissance Series," says Hovaguimian of his new collection. "The paintings aren't about the Renaissance, but the ideas that came from it. Revival of art in the city, patrons and families who would support artists and create cultural revivals — creating narratives and storylines that reflect those ideas and trying to tie them into the relevance of today."

The exhibit, which opened last month and runs through Nov. 6, displays 28 original oil paintings by Hovaguimian, 27.

"I had previously done a whole series on musicians, which came from my background in classical music," he says. "That segued into this new idea. I'm trying to see how I can push new work or have some kind of statement about what's going on today, whether in art or music."


Hovaguimian has been exposed to art as a creative outlet since he was young.

His parents moved to the United States 30 years ago from Beirut, Lebanon. "My parents are both creative people, which has always been a big influence," he says. "My dad was a chef and my mom was in fashion and design in Lebanon. Painting, music and culinary art was always in our household."

Hovaguimian began painting with a private instructor from Paris at the age of 7, then spent his teenage years studying with a Russian-Armenian artist. "It was good to learn technique and the fundamental basics of painting, but going to architect school was when I really felt like I started pushing my art to new boundaries," he said.

Hovaguimian, who currently lives in Los Angeles, spent much of his childhood in Glendale and La Canada. After graduating from St. Francis High School in 2000, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from Woodbury University in Burbank, then went on to Columbia University, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Advanced Architectural Design. He currently holds a design position for architect Frank Gehry in Los Angeles.

"Though architecture has been my profession, art has always been the foundation of my work," Hovaguimian says. "A lot of architecture has to do with research and analysis, so I'm focusing on developing concepts, then painting those concepts."

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