December 13, 2018

WHO IS HRAÇ ARSLANYAN?

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Hraç Arslanyan was born in 1965 in Istanbul. During his education, he was introduced to the art of jewelry by his uncle, who also tutored him as his master, Hagop Arslanyan in 1975 at Zincirli Han in Kapalıçarşı, which still stands to this day.

Until graduating high school, he continued his training in the craft in his free time, before continuing his education in various techniques of the art at universities in various cities (Vienna, Cologne, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris) around Europe. He founded his studio after returning to Istanbul after a year abroad.

Arslanyan continues his work at the same studio in Cağaloğlu, working combining motifs of the East and the West, creating original pieces of art. He is one of the leading artists of ‘Murassa,’ the art of decorating metal objects with precious stones.

He has served on the Board of Executives at the Istanbul Chamber of Jewelry, alongside his position for two terms (10 years) as the Chair of the Jewelry Education Commission.

In 2008, as a joint effort with the Istanbul Chamber of Jewelry, he has founded Mahrec Art House in order to revitalize the art of jewelry and to form a bridge between generations of artists. He also practices the art of ‘murassa’ at his studio.

Murassa was embraced by the ‘Zergeran’ (goldsmiths) in the Ottoman Palace Arts guild due to the difficulty of the craft. Zergeran was formed by artists in the jewelry guild specializing in the different fields of sade, mine, cila, yaldız, ocak, mıhlama, ajur, sıvama, döküm(kum), savat, and tombak. Some of these arts are on the verge of disappearance, or have been abandoned due to waning interest and loss of the qualified artists.

The art of Murassa, one of the aforementioned arts on the verge of disappearance is being revitalized.

Arslanyan, inspired by the works at Topkapi Palace, combines the centuries old art of Murassa with çini (underglazed decoration of ceramics and tiles, an art form popular in the Ottoman Empire) and has enlivened and modernized the art.

Master Hraç summarizes his feelings about Murassa with the following words:

“Whichever field of the arts it may be, the artist’s point of view and insight will be different from others’. The artist constantly is in a state of perception and analysis. The nature, history, society, and events fuel this creativity. Especially during the Ottoman period, these notions and coexisting cultures amalgamated and have been refined. Thus, the creation of the art, and the art itself has fascinated me. As I researched and delved deeper into the applications, I realized I have dived into a bottomless sea. There are no ends to this art; as we incorporate new designs, new ideas arise from those, which, in turn, develop into new creations.”

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