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Meet Venessa Monokian

Today we’d like to introduce you to Venessa Monokian.

Venessa, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. The time of my upbringing coincided with the growth of the Miami contemporary art scene. As I grew and matured as an artist, I found the art world in South Florida did too. But Miami is very expensive and as a creative I struggled to survive. So, a move was in my future. Looking for locations that would suit my art work I came upon Houston. In many ways it reminded me of Miami at the start of the art boom. The contemporary community was small but strong. I was lucky to get accepted to Box13ArtSpace which is a totally artist run community. This has helped me better intergrade and connect to the Houston art scene.

As far as the work I make, it’s journey and development started as a self-investigation and quickly expanded to something larger. Where I originally used art making as a tool to better understand myself it became a vehicle for me to investigate ideas about my environment and connect with others. This inquiry is extending beyond just the tangible and introduces psychological elements as well as the final displayed of the work. How the viewer physically interacts with these pieces is as much of the final experience as the works themselves. This experience becomes a partnership between me, the work, and the person viewing it.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’m a self-employed artist and currently I have a studio space at Box13ArtSpce in the East Houston. The work I make is primarily photography and video but often not the traditional definition. Depending on the body of work I will cut, paint, or manipulate the images in some way. Currently I am developing a body of work entitle BlueFace. BlueFace is an effort to repurpose vintage images and add subtext, humor, and depth to them at a time when people seem to desperately need a laugh. What I have discover over the years is my personal artist strength is my humor, playfulness and honesty about the subjects I investigate. Being human is really hard but also wonderful and more of a nuance experience. What I’m most proud of is how the work I make is able to embody this.

Please tell us about your work.
Growing up I was very polite and quiet, a bit nervous and shy. I also was always concerned about others well-being and standing up for those that could not defend themselves. No one likes it when a friend is getting picked on. You had to invest the time to get to know me before I would open up more and share my more humorous witty side. I always did art but during my youth I felt unsure what I would be as a “grown up”. I think this may have been more the way art was presented to me at that time. It was pretty working that people looked at passively and I hungered for it to be more than that. I think that might have been why I was so drawn to photography. It is one of the few art forms where you have to deal with content and interpretation of what you make right from the start.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I honestly am not quite sure. I am confident that at every stage of my career development I have tried my best based on who I was at the time and what resources I had access to. I’m excited about what the future holds and in large part that is due to the trajectory I have set myself on from past choices.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Studio at Box13ArtSpace : 6700 Harrisburg Blvd, Houston, TX 77011
  • Website: www.monokian.com
  • Email: vmonokian@yahoo.com
  • Instagram: @vmonokian
  • Twitter: @vmonokian

Image Credit:
For head shot Photograph courtesy of Paula Pogranizky

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