Creative Spotlight | Yerevan Dilanchian
Published on 11 May 2021
Tell us a bit about who you are and what kind of creative work you make:
I am an Eastwood-based artist and illustrator. My work consists of digital paintings, informed by the curiosities of the natural world, with a hint of surrealism. Since completing a Bachelor of Design at UNSW Art & Design, I have maintained a freelance career working with clients such as the Australian Museum, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Whereabouts do you look for creative ideas? Who or what inspires you?
My work is inspired by early modernity’s visual documentation of the natural world — equal parts fanciful and scientific. Naturalists like Ernst Haeckel and Albertus Seba, albeit controversial in their ideas, crafted numerous copper-etched drawings, whose detail and compositions I find incredibly hypnotic.
I am also conceptually inspired by contemporary visual artists such as Chris Cunningham, Jesse Kanda, and Andrew Thomas Huang. These artists have collaborated with the likes of Bjork and Aphex Twin, creating hyperreal visuals that emphasise the beauty in the grotesque and the unfamiliar.
Are there any special processes, techniques or tools you use to make your creative work?
My earlier work has been made using mostly ink and graphite, however, these days I almost exclusively work in a digital format, using a tablet and a stylus. Occasionally if I am unsure about where certain shadows and highlights should appear on a subject, I will create a small-scale mock-up of the subject using polymer clay, to serve as a visual reference.
What’s the most challenging part of working as an artist / creative?
I find it super difficult to practice good sleep hygiene since my creativity peaks at night and I get a lot of screen exposure until the early hours of the morning.
Apart from this, I think creative work can be a very personal endeavour and taking on criticism can be a daunting task. The Ancient Romans had a philosophy of attributing creative talent to a divine spirit, or a ‘second self’, and I think this is an interesting (and funny) way of detaching from ego.
Do you have any rituals or routines that help you to be more creative?
Some of my biggest creative breakthroughs have come to me just as I’ve been falling asleep or waking up. I try to keep a pen and paper (or phone) near my bedside to jot these ideas down as they can be quite fleeting.
Occasionally when I experience creative block, I like to go to the movies. There’s something about the enormity and sensory overload of a cinema environment that can recalibrate the senses and make you question things more broadly and objectively.
Do you have any top tips for emerging artists and creatives just starting out?
Make sure you have a support network of fellow creatives who can be a soundboard for your ideas, projects and aspirations. Say no to spec work and to clients who offer to pay you with ‘exposure’. Familiarise yourself with contract law, intellectual property law and fair work conditions. Finally, if you are feeling uninspired creatively, accept the feeling as a legitimate and necessary part of the process, take a break and come back to your work when you are feeling refreshed.
We always love recommendations! Who are some other local artists we should check out?
Shout out to Ryde-based illustrator and animator Chris Yee, whose works I’ve seen pop up around Eastwood.
Where can we find out more about your work and get in touch?