from West Lane News
An Artist's Perspective
by Andrew Nealon
Of the News
March 29, 2007
"All I have to do is touch
my brush to a canvs,
and then I find myself
in the middle of it. It all
happens very fast."
- The steady hand of Sarkis Antikajian pulls a glob of thick,
red paint onto a tiny brush. With a motion of whimsy, and what
some might call carelessness, he swipes tiny strokes of paint
onto the canvas, where an emerging figure sits in a red dress,
staring off into the distance.
All around him digital cameras click and flash, as ten or
so students watch his every move. They study every stroke, note every detail,
and most importantly, laugh as Antikajian cracks jokes at his own expense.
It is Wednesday, and the artist, who lives minutes out of
Cheshire, off the highway and behind the seclusion of tall trees, is teaching
a workshop miles away in downtown Springfield.
"I have only taught one other time, watercolors, a long time
ago," he says, wiping mixed tints of blue and yellow from his hands. "This
might be the last time," he jokes, throwing a sarcastic glance at a passing
The class is only a small blip on Antikajian's career map. More
exciting than his one-week course, his first book—a collection of paintings,
drawings and poetry—is in the final printing stage.
The book, a hefty, 192-page, hardbound edition, will be ready for
order this month, and Antikajian is obviously pleased that nearly two years of
drafts, redesigns and long nights at the comuter screen are finally over.
Sitting in his studio, a two-story building just down a gravel path from his
out the wall-to-wall window at green pastures and hills that
roll in all directions.
On the coffee table in front
of him, an advance copy of "Sarkis: Paintings, Drawings and Images
In Words" sits open, its glossy pages shimmering as sunlight
pours into the room.
"We got them yesterday," he says with a smile,
leaning forward to pick up the book. "Oh my yes, I am very
For Antikajian, the book represents how he likes
to appreciate art. It boasts page upon page of colorful pictures
and nearly no commentary.
"Most art books are so much talk, he says. "They
don't let the art speak for itself."
The book was always on the back burner for Antikajian, but
it was a simple question from his son nearly two years ago that launched a journey
to assemble what sits in his hands today.
"My son called and asked, "What ever happened to the book, Dad?" And from then
it started," he explains, adding that his two sons, an architect and a graphic
designer, pushed him to develop the project. They also helped along the way.
At his sons' request, he went to work taking pictures of a
variety of his paintings and drawings, cataloging them on a computer. He then
sat for hours at a time, moving the pictures around in a layout program, trying
to mold his ideas into a book.
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Reprinted with the permission of
Mike and Sandy Thoele, publishers of
The Tri-County News and West Lane News