By Matthew Lutt
Close your eyes.
Yuroz is the artist of the people. Lovers, musicians, poets, athletes, the homeless, and even refugees fill his canvases, drawing forth the spectrum of emotions and moods that reside deep in the human soul. Yuroz amazing ability to bring this soulful human quality to fruition through his art stems from his own life experiences.
Born in Soviet Armenia in 1956, Yuroz was only ten years old when he entered the renowned Akop Kodjoyan School of Art in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. After graduating with honors, Yuroz gathered up his incredible talents and entered the Yerevan University of Art and Architecture. His natural aptitude for architecture can be seen to this day in every aspect of his art. Yuroz most recent sculpture, the life-sized "A Delicate Balance," displays an artist with an implicit knowledge and understanding of how angles and lines must converge to create the lovely curves of the human form.
Even though he was a master architect and a blooming artist, Yuroz political views clashed with the Soviet regime in Armenia, and he realized that freedom was the only path to his true artistic potential. In order to find this path, Yuroz became a refugee. He married a woman who gained entrance into the United States, but Yuroz himself was not allowed to emigrate for seven years.
Those seven years imbued him with a compassion and understanding for all refugees seeking new homes and fresh beginnings. Fittingly, in January 2000 Yuroz was chosen by the United Nations to be the official artist for their 50th anniversary stamp honoring refugees worldwide, and in November his mural was unveiled at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. Through this mural we can see the grand panorama of Yuroz vision, where individual and racial differences slide away, and the courage of refugees and humanity as a whole is brought to the surface. Later this year his magnificent testament to human courage will be sent to the General Assembly Building in Geneva, Switzerland, to be installed permanently as a part of their collection.
When the years of waiting finally came to an end, Yuroz was reunited with his wife in the United States. But the long period of separation combined with his tireless dedication to art led to conflicts at home, and eventually Yuroz set out on his own. After struggling for years to achieve and enjoy the freedom America offered he found himself homeless in the land of opportunity. Even though he had no home, hope was his constant companion, and Yuroz continued to create art with the supplies of the streets. Napkins and cardboard were conjured into canvas, and discarded pens were transformed into paintbrushes.
Yuroz Los Angeles street friends were portraits filling the gallery of his mind with the beauty and simplicity of life. Like the refugees who would later populate his United Nations mural, Yuroz was able to capture the survivor mentality of his homeless brethren when they made their way onto canvas, a reflection of his own burning desire to create art in his new home. With the success of this early "Hollywood Boulevard" series, Yuroz was walking his dream path.
Since that time, Yuroz art has reached new heights and continues to climb. But even with all of his growth and success as an artist, Yuroz has never lost sight of his own humble beginnings, and he has donated the proceeds from a variety of originals and limited editions to numerous causes and foundations. In 1995 he created "The Harlequin's Gift" for Comic Relief, an organization that alerts audiences to the growing American homeless population. Also, 2001 will mark the fourth consecutive year that Yuroz will be the official artist for the Suzuki Rock ÔNÕ Roll Marathon in San Diego, and he has once again created an original oil for sale at silent auction to benefit the Leukemia Society of America.
"Taste My Wine" is Yuroz first serigraph of the new century, a painting he created in conjunction with the launch of his own line of wine, which will feature his artwork on the label of Benevolence, a cabernet blend from a 1999 California vintage. Benevolence will make its debut this November during the Las Vegas Odyssey 2001: A Celebration of Wine, Food, and Art, and Yuroz will be the official artist for the event. Also, later this year Yuroz will be meeting with the Pope about a ceiling painting project for an Armenian Church in Glendale, California, which was blessed by the Pope.
Even with such momentous events upcoming, Yuroz never forgets the small joys of sounding our feelings and moods through his art. A producer who was in the studio recently to interview Yuroz for a national commercial experienced his signature "art massage," which involves drawing on the clothing people are wearing. When Yuroz finished his "massage," the producer was left speechless by the finished product on the back of her T-shirt. Loss of speech is a common reaction to Yuroz art. We are stunned by the human quality captured in such a simple way, and words cannot express the emotions Yuroz stirs in our souls.