Studio Visit

with Aris Azarmsa by Olivia DeCapri.

Aris Azsarma (b. 1997, California) is a painter currently based in New York. He graduated with a BFA from Pratt Institute in 2019. In addition to painting, he sometimes makes wooden sculptures as well as videos and installation. In 2018, Aris wrote a short story about an alter ego of his named Joon Bon and painted a series of canvases from moments in the story. He has since left behind using a story as a vehicle for painting. The story can be read here.

It was a beautiful experience to walk into Aris Azarmsa’s apartment, illuminated with stacks and stacks of paintings and natural light. There was an overwhelming feeling of life exerted by the abundance of work in sight. Painting mostly with oils, Azarmsa’s pieces hold density in every stroke.

Azarmsa’s use of color leaves me feeling displaced into a realm of chaotic yet tedious meditation in layering. Navigating around space and path in the composition, Aris’ paintings show the balance of letting the surface bleed into the foreground. He layers over the beginning notes until a new song is sung all together. The push and pull of the dimensional boundaries break into and open up his compositions, keeping my eyes and energy circulating around each piece. I am left with a desire to identify with the story and emotions proposed by the canvas--developing relations, to the unknown. Figures are ever-present in Aris’ paintings, though they hold an air of anonymity while still maintaining much personality.

While discussing his work, Aris shared writing in conjunction with a series of pieces he had created. This elevated the viewing to an in-context confrontation. When engaging with the writing, the questions of character and content changed, shifting my experience towards a more guided narrative.

Writing by Aris Azarmsa, 2018

Encountering colors that cause you to pause in space, it was quite taking to see many of Aris’ paintings and sculptures in a close physical vicinity, all holding much-felt expression.

Photos of Sketchbook Pages

It was a treat to see Aris’ previous sketchbooks. Flipping through time, line sensitivity varies, along with the use of potent color and expression. There’s a teetering between realized parts of a figure, and details that are left for our subconscious to register. Azarmsa holds a sense of grounding of a linear plane in his drawings.

Getting a glimpse of Aris’ practice lit up the space and our minds that afternoon in the city.