Mikael Torosyan: "My grandfather instilled in me a love of art"

I am from Yerevan, but I have been living in Dilijan for about 10 years. I moved here with my wife in 2014 to try to start my own business. My wife and I are creative people, we graduated from the Academy of Arts. My grandfather was a self-taught artist, a military man by profession. He was born in the picturesque Georgian town of Sighnaghi, and after the Second World War decided that he had to move to Armenia.

Grandpa was painting in our attic, and I was watching, and eventually I wanted to try it too. My grandfather discovered a talent in me. As it usually happens: everyone sees some special talents in their children, even if they don't have any (laughs).

In general, I have always loved leather products, this material. I loved leather jackets, but it used to be expensive and I couldn't afford it. In 2011, a monument "Mimino" was unveiled near the place where our store is now located. Therefore, in 2013, I decided to move there and open my own business.

My wife and I set up our store together. I was given a 10 percent business loan, and I bought a machine. I started making crosses, pendants, watches, lamps, boxes, etc. out of plywood. Then I started thinking about what else could be processed with this machine, and tried to make something out of leather. I started with a simple one and made bracelets, then went deeper and realized that I could make wallets. I learned to sew and started creating my own design. I develop the references in CorelDRAW, AutoCAD DXF, then connect to the printer and set the task so that it does the engraving. After engraving and carving, we wash the skin, dry it and start sewing and bring the product to marketable appearance.

The nature of Dilijan is an inspiration for any artist. For example, I made bags with the sundial of the Haghartsin monastery. This idea came to me because I am fond of rock paintings and often make products with its image. We also have products with the Armenian alphabet that are in demand among Armenians. There were especially many orders during the war in 2020… I returned from the war, the store was closed, during this period my wife sold everything we had through Facebook, even paintings. I don't have many paintings left. Unfortunately, right now I don't have any free time for painting. The last time I painted sketches of Lake Sevan, last summer.

I have one painting that I would never sell. Watercolor of 1998. Let's go upstairs and I'll show you. This is probably the best watercolor painting I've ever done (laughs).

I built this house on the garage with my own hands. The whole design was invented by me and my wife.

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