Transitioning From a Surgeon to a Painter

Illustration by Lilit Poghosyan

Putting aside the phonendoscope and medical supplies, taking brushes and oil paint was a crucial decision for Shakart that turned his life upside down. Shant Karapetyan (Shakart) graduated from the Yerevan State Medical University (YSMU) as a plastic surgeon. However, after realizing his immense love and passion for art, he chose to shift his profession to become an artist. Karapetyan started his first steps in drawing at school. At first, drawing was a hobby, but eventually, it became his passion. Despite not having a degree in art, thanks to his painting brushes, Karapetyan managed to give life to his canvases, impress a growing audience and become renowned as Shakart.

Starting from drawing on small objects like coins and buttons then switching to bigger things, such as walls and canvases, Shakart puts his soul into creating art in everything and everywhere. His fame grew because he improved his skills and created impressive art. “I am my own teacher and student,” he highlights. Shakart takes every opportunity to learn and master various technical skills in art. Attending classes and gaining more experience contributed to his professional growth. With his expertise and tenacity to learn, the painter is confident to create unique, top-notch self-portraits because he masters this form of art.

After his second exhibition in Italy, Renaissance artists Michelangelo and Raffaello Sanzio inspired Shakart to attempt to create new paintings through different lenses. Throughout the years, he sought to try new styles and paint more complex works. Music also helps him dive into art and create magical pieces. The painter strives to present his original and magnificent art that dazzles the critiques that aren’t easy to impress.

Karapetyan mentions that drawing comforts his loneliness. “You can awaken emotions in a person with ordinary oil paint and a brush,” he adds. Drawing teaches him to perceive deep layers of life and appreciate the world’s beauty. His works also reflect some of his character traits and make the art unique. “If you want to know the artist, look at his paintings,” Karapetyan says. Artists invest a significant part of themselves in their works that allow people to recognize them for their unique style.

“Genius, insightful and demigod,” Lucy Karapetyan, Shant’s sister, describes him. From her perspective, her brother had a hidden talent and was not only good at painting but also in other fields, such as math, astronomy and even dancing. However, his unconditional love for art won.

Lucy Karapetyan points out that, although Shakart’s painting contains many hidden codes, not every detail is visible and comprehensive. This is connected with having a bright personality and being a profound individual. Karapetyan’s constant support is a significant contribution to Shakart’s current profession. She was one of the people who truly believed in his capabilities and encouraged him to pursue his dreams. She and their family members saw Shakart as a surgeon, but his huge drawing on the university’s wall changed their thoughts. Karapetyan recalls a funny memory; after many attempts, persuading her brother to create a portrait of her with snakes. When Shakart painted his sister, he did not like her hairstyle. Therefore, he replaced her hair with snakes and merged her face with Gorgona’s character.

Karapetyan’s talent is not only seen in his canvases but also on Yerevan’s walls which give the city life through added colors. Similar to Karapetyan, many perceive art as a source of inspiration, hard work, passion and an escape from reality. Having a modern artist like Shakart in our society helps us to feel the beating heart of his paintings and let our eyes enjoy the masterpieces.

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