Portrait by: Gene Sasse 2012
Kite Runner | Watercolor 2008

Stories from the Art: Sylvia Megerdichian


“Teaching is to give the student an option to do what is in their heart, not to do what the teacher is doing. I don’t ever want them to copy me; the students have to find their own language.  I ask them, ‘How do they want to paint? Realist? Perfect. Abstract? Perfect. There is no right or wrong.’”


Sylvia Megerdichian uses her studio and artist haven, the Art Box in Upland, California to embrace mixed media and create lovely images. “I don’t paint in the typical way with watercolor” she says, “it’s too flat for me, I like the mixed media... more emerges, the messiness of the process helps me to say what I want.” In addition to her using the space for her own drawing and painting, she hosts workshops and classes and she teaches as she lives, with originality and an earthy quality that draws people to her person as well as to her art.

With artists in her family, she was often handed pencils and encouraged to draw. When I paint and draw, it reminds of me of when I was a child” she says “it brings me back to that time of innocence and wonder.”

Her studio is a well used space filled with books and paintings, evidence of her classes and creative stacks of work – piles for teaching, workshop information, personal drawings, and ideas - piles that represent countless hours of effort and care. It is a comfortable space, a place in which to relax and let your mind and imagination sit easily.

Standing over a table strewn with dozens of lovely nude drawings, she adjusts this one and that; turning one on its side she discusses the model that was used and the child she brought with her, and how quickly she had to sketch to capture the baby’s position in his mother’s arms; the look on his mother’s face.

Sylvia is all about stories, and though most of her paintings come from original ideas, some are inspired by memories, or bits and pieces from traveling. As she walks around her studio, discussing the stories behind some of her creations, one painting catches her attention and she gets very close. Talking softly she strokes the painting as she relates the story behind the picture, petting the canvas as though it were the head of a small child. Stepping back, she sighs a little as though putting her memories back in place. Her peace palpable, her contentment contagious; she goes on to share about another painting - another fascinating story told by a fascinating woman.

Her stories are rich and deep, and her paintings are full of energy and vitality; whether her palette is bright and vibrant, or soft and muted. Sylvia paints with passion, and her work is a reflection of a life filled with rich relationships. Her drawings suggest and reveal, hinting and tugging at your imagination as they take you on a journey. Line and color are the double stranded thread that weaves itself through her work and into your thoughts.   

After the Storm | Mixed Media on Canvas 2010
August Moon | Mixed Media on Canvas 2011
Curator: Gene Sasse
Writer: Laurie Morrison
© 2013 Inland Empire Museum of Art
All Art © by The Artist