SACRAMENTO–State Senator Adam Schiff has chosen a painting by Armenian-American artist Vasken Matyan to be on display this year in the state Capitol building as part of an exhibit of contemporary California art which was inaugurated Tuesday.
Matyan’s painting–"At the Bar" (1998) is a brilliantly colored acrylic-on-canvas portrait of a sailor–wearing a knit cap and vest–and seated at a table with a glass and a bottle of wine. Matyan said he prefers to emphasize the human figure in his paintings. "For me–the human is always the dominant subject," the 29-year-old Burbank artist said. "I’m a very traditional artist and I like to keep my work as real as possible–but I have my own style–my own colors and my own textures."
Schiff said Matyan’s work well deserves inclusion in the California State Senate’s second annual Contemporary Art Collection.
"Vasken is a wonderfully gifted artist. He brings a passion for painting–a deep appreciation for classicism is a unique –fresh and creative approach to his art," said Schiff–who chairs the state legislature’s Joint Committee on the Arts. "His remarkable paintings should be an inspiration to young artists everywhere."
Raised in Beirut–Lebanon–Matyan comes from an artistic family. His father is a poet and his uncle a painter. He exercised his artistic talents at a young age–sketching images of war-torn Beirut and later drawing caricatures depicting prominent politicians. As a teen-ager–he attended the Toros Roslin Hamazkayin Academy of Fine Arts in Beirut. His work appeared in several group exhibitions in cultural centers across Lebanon and Syria. Locally–his paintings have been exhibited in Beverly Hills–Santa Monica–Pasadena–Glendale and Encino.
The Contemporary California Art Collection features works selected by each state Senator. Senator Schiff represents the 21st State Senate District–which includes the communities of Burbank–Glendale–Pasadena–La Cresenta–South Pasadena–Sunland–Tujunga–Temple City–San Marino–La Canada Flintridge–Atwater Village and portions of Los Feliz and Silver Lake