Jean Kazandjian was born in 1938 in Beirut, Lebanon, but is of Armenian heritage. During the 20th century, Beirut had become an enclave for Armenians when their country was faced with political oppression. Prior to its own political upheavals which began in 1975, Beirut was known as the "Paris of the Middle East"; where the second language of the cultured class in Lebanon is in fact French.
Kazandjian began drawing at a very early age and was inspired by classic masterpieces. In 1960, he entered art school in Beirut, where he began his studies in design, architecture and painting. He won awards for his artistic achievements and accolades from museums. He felt he was ready to continue his education in Paris, the epicenter of the art world.
Paris, in the 1960's, was a hub of political and social unrest, and at the same time, one of the most culturally rich centers for art and literature. Kazandjian was so captivated by the city, he became a Parisian! He received his Master's Degree in 1968 from the renowned École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD) in Paris, and began developing his own style as a painter. Recognition of Kazandjian's talent in the art world in Paris was immediate.
In the years that followed Kazandjian mingled with such greats as Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Francis Bacon and Alexander Calder. In 1971, he met the legendary art dealer and publisher Pierre Argillet, the noted publisher of Dali, Bellmer, de Chirico et al., and the founder of the Musee du Surrealisme outside of Paris. In their first meeting, Argillet was so impressed with Kazandjian's work that he purchased 60 pieces. Eventually, he had his first show with Argillet in Paris in 1974.
Kazandjian has gone on to have over the next 30 years many successful exhibitions in major cities in Europe, as well as Japan, Canada and the U.S.
Kazandjian's distinct and recognizable style is an amalgamation of his many passions; socio-political commentary, story telling, the cinema, the urban landscape, et al. He uses a combination of fascinating techniques to express these interests; the superimposition of different planes, vertical elevations, cubism, repetitive imagery, unique "screen paintings", and more. In the end, there is always an undeniable beauty and balance in his works, perhaps the result of his classical training, and his education in design and architecture.
Today, Jean Kazandjian lives and works in Los Angeles and has collectors throughout the world.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS:
1985 Gulbenkian Foundation London
1991 Galerie Jeanne Munich
2000 Christine Argillet Gallery Los Angeles
2007 Art LA Los Angeles
2009 Galerie D'Orsay Boston
2010 Galerie Anais Santa Monica
2012 Galerie AV Paris
2014 National Gallery of Armenia Yerevan