It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Vahé Fattal, who was a well-known painter, graphic designer, art collector and philanthropist.
Born in Syria to Armenian parents, Vahé studied fine arts at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, at the Atelier of Raymond Legueult, a protégé of Matisse. While in Paris, he met the love of his life and his best friend Lucie Koujakian.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1971, Vahé worked as a design consultant and senior art director at various design firms, where he created some of his memorable images. His designs have become a familiar part of modern life, with logos for Minolta, the Girl Scouts, Kaiser Permanente Health care, Hanna-Barbera and UCLA Extension. Vahé has also been responsible for poster and title designs for a number of TV and feature films, including Dances with Wolves, Imagine: John Lennon, The Shining, Baby Boom, Miami Vice and The Thorn Birds. He designed AIM’s magazine logo and it’s early covers including the striking image that graced the first issue (September 1990).
The power of his images came from their utter simplicity and extremely difficult vision process of peeling off the unnecessary in order to reach the naked core.
A year after he founded his own firm, the firm won the ABC television advertising account and serviced all of the networks creative needs for 14 years. Other projects range from identity design programs for ABC motion pictures to promotional materials for the likes of Nissan, the “Big 5” Hollywood movie studios, National Geographic, and the Kirov Ballet.
He was one of the original founders of the Golden Apricot International Film Festival, as well as the designer of Armenia Fund’s Telethon “Make it Happen” advertising campaign.
Vahé offered his talent free of charge to worthy Armenian causes. In 1989, at the height of the Karabakh movement in Armenia, he designed the now famous solidarity poster for Karabakh. Later, after Karabakh’s declaration of independence, he went on to design its flag –the accomplishment he was most proud of. It was the most powerful emotional experience of his career.
Throughout his design career, Vahé had continued painting and exhibiting his work in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. At the beginning of 2003, he brought his design activities to an end to devote himself full time to painting. His last show at Chac Mool Gallery in Los Angeles opened with the unexpected visit from one of the last remaining giants of American Art, Robert Rauschenberg.
Vahé and Lucie were creatively and philanthropically involved in advancing Armenian causes and projects. They shared a commitment and passion for the arts, exploring the world, higher education and all things Armenian; proud to have spiritually and emotionally connected with TUMO Center for Creative Technologies in Yerevan, and to share its vision and spirit. Lucie, who passed away in 2014, would have been equally proud and committed.
They founded The Vahé & Lucie Annual Awards, a ten-year program sponsored by Vahé and Lucie Fattal to encourage TUMO students to innovate and make strides in their fields. These awards are given annually to TUMO students and alumni throughout Armenia and Artsakh for original work in five categories: Arts, Technology, Music, Photography and Film.