Interview | Artist Joe Aivazian

Interview by: Tim Martinez || RT4M

I met Joe in the early 00's as a local skate rat and permanent fixture in the Glendale Ca skate scene. I'm not entirely sure how we ended up being friends for so many years, maybe it's his perfect Tom Penny-esque kickflips or his willingness to roll any day of the week. Regardless, I've seen him grow as a human on and-off the board and I've been pleasantly surprised to watch him develop as an artist. Joe has an upcoming show at the Artery LA gallery on November 3rd. 

RT4M recently caught up with Joe to shoot the breeze... 

How did you and your family arrive in Glendale, CA? 
We arrived by airplane with a lot of cousins and aunts & uncles waiting for our arrival at the airport, it was a hectic move from Iran to India for a bit then Germany for 2 1/2 years then here, that's a really long story of its own.

What's one thing about Glendale that most people don't know about, but should?

Most people are  either scared to visit Glendale or think other things to not want to spend time there. It's a city of adventure and also very weird, bizarre and unexplainable. 

At what age did you find skateboarding?

I found skateboarding by seeing it around a little bit and got one for Christmas in the 4th grade but a car ran over it a couple months later and I didn't get one until a day before the beginning of 8th grade I was 13.  More so when I would go visit my cousin Aaron who was and still is a wild young man. He was building shit all the time, all kinds of launch ramps and quarters pipes it was surreal to me. He skated everything too - street, ramps, ditches, anything and he's Armenian so he inspired me a lot to not care and just be myself.

Was skateboarding accepted in Armenian culture?

No not at all my parents didn't like it much but they accepted it and my sister supported me a lot. At school the whole Armenian community disowned me forever towards the end though from all the shit I took from them with a smile I think they understood I wasn't doing anything to go against them that that's just who I was. Now I see so many Armenian skaters it makes me happy .

What is it that has kept you skateboarding for all these years?

So many things, the wind in your face when your flying down the street, catching kickflips down stairs, always moving, being all over the place, the friendships and meeting cool people along the way that enjoy the same fun.

Recently you've made big shift into the world of art. Have you always been into painting or is this a relatively new pursuit?

Yeah I always drew and colored from a very young age I learned from my Dad he's a great artist. I started painting more around age 20 and had a show in a bar and a few group shows. Recently though over a year ago I moved to the mountains in Tujunga and have a bigger space so I have been painting so much in the past year .

What are some of your biggest influences?

Life itself, seasons, downtime, days of boredom, Tom Penny, music , smiles and laughs on my family and friends faces.

How did your postcard art come about?

Kinda on accident, I had some nice blank cards from a job I did and started drawing and painting on them loosely late at night. I brought them out one night just to show people and ended up selling 10 or so, so I continued to make them. 

Where have you been selling your art?

All over and everywhere I go, artwalks, bars, friends, mostly in Highland Park on York blvd and Figueroa. Shout out to Bloc party for letting me sell my postcards there!

I know there has been talk about a solo show. Is this in the works?

Yes as of recent actually by selling postcards on the street I met Steve Lucero who bought 4 off me and told me about his gallery called The Artery that's located in downtown Los Angeles at the brewery lofts. The next day I went to see the space and met his woman MARSH who runs the ins and outs of the gallery and showed them photos of my bigger pieces and they liked them. We have been hanging out and keeping in touch and the date is set for November 3rd for the opening 7-11. I'll be showing over 30 new works and I hope everyone can make it. The show will run for the weekend nov 3rd -5th and will be up for the month by appointment, I'm excited I think people will trip on the work.

Where can people find you online?

Shout outs?

A big shout out to my Mom & Dad, my brother Alfred, my sisters Lolita and Josephin, Scuba Steve for keeping me afloat with kicks, Daniel Wong at www.streetskateshop.com, my Skate All Cities family, Gabriel Martinez, Abijah Martinez, Damien Tramel, RICKS, John Gratney, Andy Choi, the RT4M crew Tim Martinez and Will Turner, my friends Alfredo Madrid, Jacob Van Orden, Jim Davidson, Anthony Samaniego, VINGS, Aryo Toh Djojo ,Nima Jalali, Mike Manzoori, Steve Lucero & MARSH @thearteryla, Gevik Vartanian, Narek Petrosyan, Aaron Nahapetian, Garric Nahapetian, Ned Casuel, Tim Bise, GDubs crew, the rest of my family and friends and GOD Almighty Jesus Christ, thank you for reading.
Thanks Joe and best of luck on your future endeavors!

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