Current artists: Amon Azizov, Wei Chen, Qiao Fu, Gao Min, Guo Kun Sheug, Artashes Karslian, Ji Yin Jin, Li Qun, Lin Ruo, Dean Lu, Ren Jien-Guo, Jorge Rivera, Sharif Sadiq, Peter Walsh, Xiang Yue Chuan, Dario Zapata, Zhuang Xuemin

Organized by Peter Walsh, Ongoing.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Session Four: Artashes Karslian and Peter Walsh

Artashes Karslian, who works near the Central Park Zoo on Wien Walk, has been drawing portraits on the streets and in the parks of New York City for 15 years. Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, Mr. Karslian completed a portrait exchange with artist Peter Walsh on July 1st, 2010.
Most portrait artists working in Central Park use charcoal on newsprint as their preferred medium. Mr. Karslian, however, champions a unique brushed oil paint on watercolor paper method.

Some comments from Peter Walsh:
"Artashes has a surprisingly gestural drawing technique for such a clean and smooth portrait style; his brush seems to dance in the air over the surface of the paper before he gently slashes from one side or the other to produce the fine tonal gradations that he favors.
Sometimes he takes a wide, dry house painter’s brush to the entire drawing to give a more uniform grey tone to the page before he cuts back in with either a hard white eraser for highlights or a small flat brush to create small dark details.
Looking at his finished portraits I had assumed that Artashes was putting final touches in with a dab or two of white gouache. I was surprised instead to see him pull out a double-edged safety razor which he grasped at the edges to produce a U-shaped bow which he uses to cut out tiny nicks of paper which leave behind a splash of light in the sitter’s eyes, or a highlight on the tip of their nose.
‘My style takes a little bit longer than the other artists,’ he admits, but when I was working with him a line formed of people willing to wait. One young mother who said she was from upstate New York was bringing her children one by one to Artashes to have their portraits done. ‘We come to the park specifically to see him,’ she admitted."

Photos from the exchange by Peter Walsh and several passersby:

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