Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Creatures with Secrets: The Fantabulous Art of Onik Agaronyan

CREATURES WITH SECRETS: THE FANTABULOUS ART OF ONIK AGARONYAN -- We at Studio of Style were actually just as surprised by what we didn't see at first when we first saw the unique art "boxes" by Los Angeles-based artist Onik Agaronyan. Intrigued by this? So were we! That's because these one-of-a-kind works of art are indeed boxes -- and one would be hard-pressed to imagine that there is a fabulous purpose to these objets beyond just their exterior beauty. But, if you look closely at these photos, you'll be able to figure out that each of Agaronyan's creatures has a lid which either opens with hinges or can be removed completely -- and lo and behold, there is ample room inside each of them to stash away whatever needs stashing away.  Completely handcrafted, this new series by the artist is comprised of members from the animal and insect kingdoms: a rhinoceros; a rhinoceros beetle, crab beetle and frog beetle; a rat (love it!); a camel; a crow; and a water buffalo -- all fashioned from intensely hammered and treated copper and finished with a wonderfully decorative assortment of minerals and semi-precious stones such as malachite, sodalite, quartz crystal, pyrite, baroque pearls, black pearls and touches of gold leaf here and there to set everything off in the manner of fine jewelry. Says Agaronyan, "Those who collect lamps are afraid of the dark -- and those who collect boxes harbor many secrets." But it's no secret as to how imaginative these boxes are (oh, there must an even better word than "box" for these artistic statements!). Studio of Style caught up with the artist as he was making arrangements for his opening night party "Inside the Beast" at the Downtown showroom on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles where Angelinos will be able to view these beasts from September 27 to October 26 up close and personal.  Did you know that Agaronyan searches high and low for vintage tools to craft these pieces -- scouring flea markets, yard sales and the like?  And that he is best known for his handcrafted mirrors brimming with natural decorations such as scallop shells, abalone shells and the prickly parts of pine cones (we just love this one -- you have to see it in person!).  The weight, size and attention to detail in each and every one of these boxes is something to be savored which makes these items a top-notch art collectible -- even if you have entomophobia, you'll be won over by them! Oh, Agaronyan gave Studio of Style a hint about his next collection of objets d'art which sounds equally as wonderful.  So here's to all creatures great and small -- and bejeweled!
Portrait of artist by Greg Firlotte