Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Denise Yaghmourian and I am a mixed media artist. I work in fibers, found objects, performance and installation and any interesting material I can get my hands on. I work and play in my studio in downtown Phoenix on Grand Avenue. It is damn near my favorite place to be. My daughters enjoy being there on the weekends with me too. I have a few series of pieces that continue developing over the years. My fiber cube series is one and my figure series is the other. As an artist, I enjoy experimentation with new and interesting materials so I’m always playing around with something new. I also enjoy aimless wandering, hiking, and doing long form improv. I perform with Unicorn Warpath monthly at The Torch Theatre in Phoenix.
How did you get your start?
I feel like I got my start when I was a little kid and my Dad took the time to work with me on art projects. My first memory of creating something was with my Dad. It was a frame that we made out of a piece of wood and watercolor paints. We worked together to make a shell collage in the center. My Mom was really into showing me all sorts of historical sites including art and museums. I’m thankful for that. The Armenian side of the family (my Dad’s) were all very interested in creating art. They were painters, wood workers, and would pretty much make art out of anything. That is definitely in my blood. In more recent years, Chandler Center for the Arts gave me my first big exhibit and being an artist at Eye Lounge (years back) created a great opportunity to connect with the arts community.
What inspires you?
My work explores the connections between things. That is what most inspires me. I am inspired by experimentation and creation involving the use of materials which are new to me and to my development as an artist. It is for this reason that I create my work from a variety of sources and materials. I find inspiration in every aspect of life, but seem to be most drawn to the universal occurrence of pattern. Patterns in nature, in science and math, in the brain, in life and relationships are inspiring and driving forces in my work. I seek to merge naturally occurring and found pattern with my own pattern creation, thereby establishing a collaboration with the selected medium.
What do you like about AZ?
I have lived in Phoenix since 1976 and consider myself just a few years short of being a true native. So, I definitely love the memories I have of growing up in Phoenix before it got really big. That being said, I also have loved seeing all of the changes and growth over the years. I love the smell of the creosote bush after the rain. I love the arts community and being a part of it. I love getting good deals on resorts in the off season. I love being able to hike Piestewa Peak and seeing the city from above. I love seeing the empty streets of downtown Phoenix after everyone has gone home. I love that I can find scorpions with a blacklight!
Where can we see you(r) work?
My work can be seen at Bentley Gallery in downtown Phoenix. Currently, I have pieces in the sculpture exhibit, Minimally Speaking. I recently had work in Feminism Today at the monOrchid. I have work at Udinotti Museum of Figurative Art for the 2nd Juried Exhibition (currently on exhibit) and at Practical Art. I am currently working on an installation for my exhibit Fragile Life in collaboration with Eddie Shea’s exhibit, Krivanek. This collaboration (opening Third Friday, May 15) is happening thanks to the partnership of phICA and Modified Arts. If you travel to France, please visit Bogena Galerie in St. Paul de Vence where I exhibit my fiber cubes and figures. Visit my website to see more of my work and installation and performance pieces from INFLUX and ARTELPHX.
What would you like to accomplish before you die?
I’m damn happy living life each day and getting to do what I love. That’s what I’d like to keep accomplishing. Aside from that I’d like to stick around long enough to see my two daughters continue to enjoy life and do what they love to do. And, OK, silly side note: I would like an old creepy castle in Romania where I have an apothecary shop with all the elixirs that can cure everyone’s ailments. Yeah. That.
What is your mantra?
Ready. Set. GO!!!