Aram in his studio. Photo Courtesy of Dara Aram
Abstract Reflections: Dara Aram
By Kelly Drennan
Like colour so vibrant it makes the rainbow look like a lead pipe? If so, the work and world of Dara Aram will be for you. The Toronto-based artist's paintings are so bright and energized, they very nearly affect that part of our brains that triggers the pleasure centre. If you are lucky enough to experience an exhibition of his work, you might be like a kid in a candy shop. At first you might find yourself overwhelmed and dizzy with excitement. His large pieces pack a punch and would add colour to an office, child's room, or anywhere your heart desires. Dara's work expresses a sense of play, a pleasant distraction in a world where we feel pressure to grow up fast, and where our imaginations are lost too early.
A well established and prolific artist, Dara has a style that is recognizable and desired by many collectors, galleries, and institutions. He stays quite busy so we were lucky to catch up with him...
"Firstly if an artist is serious and passionate about his work, he often must give up some
other things to afford his/her choice to become an artist." - Dara Aram
When did you first become interested in art?
When I was studying art in the Institute of Fine Arts in Kurdistan.
What are you working on right now?
Presently I am doing figurative, abstracted landscapes about my travels through Ontario.
What mediums do you work with?
I work with acrylics\gel\encaustic on canvas and mixed media. Also I use a variety of different tools to create texture.
What inspires your work?
Many of my most recent painting are inspired by my travels throughout Ontario and also by the views
from my studio. The colourful landscapes and the beautiful light of the different seasons motivate me. I
combine the abstracted landscapes with human figures. Every place I see creates a different mood and
inspiration for my work. In these works, I depict how nature and the human form are inseparable.
Which artist/s have influenced your work the most throughout your career?
My most important influences are William De Kooning, Gerard Richter, and Anselm Keifer.
Many of your paintings are very large. How do you make your studio space work for
I have a tiny space but I have minimalist furniture etc. to provide adequate space. I store
many projects in my partners home.
If you could give your younger artist self advice about something you know now, what advice
would you give to him?
You have to be committed to art and believe in what you produce.
If you were not an artist, what would you be and why?
I like what I do, but if I had to choose I may choose to be a historian.
Your work is very colourful and abstract. How would you feel if someone asked you to paint
them a realistic portrait in black and white?
I would do this but I would rather do abstract.
How has your artistic practice changed over time?
Through studies and experimentation I have evolved my work from realistic to abstract.
What is your dream project?
I would like to do a huge installation in a beautiful park in Toronto.
What is the role of the artist in society?
To inspire people, evoke imagination and bring beauty and conscience about the environment and
the journey of life.
What would you like others to know about your art that you feel makes it unique?
That it basically an expression of my personal and nostalgic visions about the forms
about abstract landscape which has evolved from years of painting.
Do you have any advice for someone in school who is studying art?
Do your best, study and work hard.
How have you navigated your place in the art world?
Through many exhibitions, networking, teaching and studying art.
Can you tell us about the sacrifices and rewards of a long artistic career?
Firstly if an artist is serious and passionate about his work he often must give up some
other things to afford his/her choice to become an artist. The rewards are the
satisfaction and gratification the artist feels when he reaches the conscience of society in a
You are also an arts Educator. Does teaching art to others effect your own work in
any way or is it completely separate?
My art reflects the beauty and importance of our environment and when I work and
teach the students, the themes are very much the same.
What kind of experience do you want the viewer to walk away with?
I would like them to have a sense of beauty, peace and serenity.
Working on a mural with school kids. Photo courtesy of Dara Aram.
You can find more of Dara Aram's work in our online contemporary section
or visit our store in Hamilton, Ontario.
By Kelly Drennan. 2017.