Andrew Tavukciyan: The Mural Maestro

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines mural as a large picture that has been painted on the wall of a room or building. Andrew Tavukciyan’s graphic imprint can be seen on the facades of buildings across Western Canada and Toronto. Winning the Vancouver Mural Festival Independent Mural Contest in 2016, Tavukciyan has become a festival staple. Moving in circles that include actor Shia LaBeouf, the Emily Carr (Emily Carr University of Art + Design) graduate embodies the phrase, one to watch.


Tavukciyan’s imprint undoubtedly classifies the painter as a mural artist. While exterior walls and large-scale commissions are commonplace in Andrew’s work, vertical substrates and latex exterior paint are merely a snippet of the artist’s range. Tavukciyan’s work has been brandished across gaming consoles, ceramics, appropriated objects, bicycles, cars and clothing. He has worked with TED, EA Sports and Telus among others. An industrial design graduate, Tavukciyan shifted his focus to art from design following his graduation from Emily Carr.

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Andrew is quintessentially contemporary in all that he is and all that he does. Overlapping digital design with doodle-inspired street art, he is an elaborate minimalist of Armenian descent. His work looks to reintroduce ornamentation in contemporary perspectives and discourse. The artwork he outputs is decadently colourful, layered with pattern and texture. His noted influences include hip hop music and artists Skinner and David Choe.


When asked by Scout [what was] the most unusual or unexpected source of inspiration [he] encountered, he responded, ‘collecting the inspiration is the easy part; it’s incorporating those elements into the work in a natural way that’s difficult.’ He describes his sharp, vivid murals as compounds of ‘organized chaos.’


The artist’s bohemian, nonchalant energy bounces from him to his canvas. Defined yet chaotic, his work is bright, bold and buoyant. His unrivalled style can be easily identified. In aligning with the solitary disposition of street artists that blazed his trail, Tavukciyan too lets his work do the talking. He says, ‘for me, a style is just a collection of formulas, rules, and elements that you develop and then apply in varying combinations for the desired result. I don’t really know how to describe the specifics, other than that I’m just trying to fill space in a way that makes sense to me.’


Murals have deep rooted ties to the fresco painting technique which dates back to the 13th century (more specifically, the Italian Renaissance). The technique used water to embed powdered colour pigments in wet plaster. The result wielded an intrinsic graphic overlay in the skeletal structure of the wall upon which the plaster was laid. Think Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The fresco technique shapes the foundation of our understanding of the genre of mural painting today. 


Tavukciyan observes the traditions of the art form, adding a unique flair. His interpretations are animated and vibrant. They are thoughtful and expressive. Tavukciyan works on surfaces as large as 1,500 square feet to circumferences as small as a penny.  Charged by music, nature and his Armenian heritage, the artist embellishes and brightens the world around him. His potential is exponential. He is one to watch!

Images courtesy of Andrew Tavukciyan


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