I find myself drawn to things that are both predictable and unpredictable at the same time, like a tree whose leaves vary slightly in shape, or the morphing outline of a spilled puddle of tea. My work both embodies and provokes these two ideas. Although all my pieces use a combination of ink, pencil, thread and paper, each one captures a different moment in time, a thought or a specific narrative.
Trained as a graphic designer, I learned how composition, layout, color, scale and negative space all play a role in conveying a message. These principles are forefront in my mind when I create my drawings and transform them into larger pieces of art. Each piece is designed first by collecting and cropping portions of my own drawings, texts, and other works on paper. These elements are then carefully considered, sorted and arranged onto larger backgrounds and hand-sewn into place. My paternal grandmother (medz mayrig) taught me to sew at a young age, so I've always had an affinity to the tactile quality and linear order of sewing. It seemed quite natural for me to use a needle and thread, not only as a design element but as the foundation of the pieces themselves.
It is important to me to have a strong hands-on relationship with my work, therefore everything is done by hand from cutting to assembling. The same idea applies to my sketching; my technique involves a lot of repetition, paying attention to the quality of each line—a way of capturing the essence of an image through abstraction, which is something I learned at RISD. Making art has always been my way of creating order and capturing the beauty of the lines and forms of objects that I encounter every day.
Artist Bio / CV
Using simple materials like pencil, ink, and thread, Arpie Gennetian Najarian crafts unique works on paper that capture a moment in time and demonstrate her strong eye for composition and detail. "In my quest for clarity," she says, "I find myself inspired by materials and objects that I have access to every day." She worked as a graphic designer for several organizations, including the Museum of Modern Art and the architecture firm Gensler, before shifting her focus to fine art. Born and raised in Watertown, Massachusetts, Arpie earned a dual degree in fine art and graphic design from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1992 and now works from her home studio in northern New Jersey, where she lives with her husband and three children. Her work is included in the artist's registry at the Drawing Center in New York, and she has exhibited at various galleries, including the Barrett Art Center, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, and the Housatonic Museum of Art.