Sam Grigorian was born in 1957 in Yerevan, Armenia. From a young age, he displayed a high interest in art, specifically Dada.
In the 1980s, his artistic style expanded as he began painting large-scale, abstract expressionist pictures. The bigger the work, the more it resembled a map or topography. Color enters subtly as a decorative arrangement, a supporting role, making the viewer focus on the material of the painting.
In 1992, Grigorian changed his environment by moving to Germany, maturing his artistic style. He began to make decollages, paper works using a technique he created himself, and assemblages using books and other materials. Paper became his favored artistic medium. The multiple layers of paper give more texture and depth to the artwork. He scrapes away some areas of the layering, uncovering the hidden material underneath. He merges the traditional elements of his former and present homes, symbolically connecting the east and west.
Grigorian works and lives in Berlin, Germany. His works are available in private and public collections in Europe, Australia, and USA.
Making art is like breathing – when I stop I am afraid to die.
I want to be free to express myself whenever I feel like it. When I was young I was constantly restricted and disciplined, first in school, later on in the military. I realized that the only possible way of being free is being an artist. A revolt against the soviet society I grew up in.
The urge to constantly see something new and make something visible what one would otherwise only feel is the thing that drives me. Most important are the materials I work with. It is just stuff, like pieces of paper, wood or other materials; there is one way of putting it. If you take a closer look, it is much more than that: Every little piece of material tells its’ own story. I shape the objects I work with in order to visualize their own importance and symbolic depths.
My work on paper is firstly influenced by my Armenian roots (script, miniature…) Every shred of paper I use for my collages could be part of a longing letter, every object I find or make myself with different technic and use for my work could have travelled around the world. I like to see my art not only as a connection of different materials to a new and unseen form, but as a junction of untold stories. In each work from the series of “City” e.g., I tell different stories. In one of those I find myself in a wonderful place of our historic countryside where hundreds or thousand years ago our ancients lived, and being a church area or just a dwelling place, it has left unique and exclusive trails.
I try to keep my eyes and ears open and get inspired every second. My studio is the best place in the whole world for me. It could be by small events, like rediscover unfinished work or find left over material while tiding up my studio and arrange those in a new way. I am inspired by big changes like confronting myself with a new, foreign culture and learning to feel like a stranger after my move from Yerevan to Berlin/ Germany – one of the best Art Cities in the world and home country of many outstanding artists. Of course, the surroundings and media influenced my art. Berlin is an Art City, which attracts with its culture and hefty contemporary art scene.
My work is just a part of the art history. It is an ongoing progress. My lifetime feels like a gift. It’s my duty to use it properly and be the most productive and best artist I can be.