Known as “The smoke artistNew Jersey-based artist Mher Khachatryan paints with his emotions.

“The idea is that all that is alive is in a movement,” Khachatryan said. “It doesn’t die it’s a fire, then it becomes a smoke, the smoke dissipates, it turns into water, so everything is in a beautiful and perfect movement. That’s why I believe that we are all connected. “

On September 11, 2001, Khachatryan was 17 years old. Like many, he remembers everything about that terrible day.

“I think being a teenager at the time there was a lot of anger,” he said.

But over the years his perspective has changed. Especially now that he’s a husband and a father.

“I grew up to understand that compassion is a much better response to things than anger and I think changing that, educating my kids and other kids around that love, I think, is a better response. whatever they want to do. “

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Khachatryan had always wanted to paint 9/11, but he always felt like something was missing. That is, until he visits the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. This experience immediately inspired him.

“The video recordings, the audio recordings, the kids you know, leaving messages for their parents, husbands and wives, they leave messages… I couldn’t stay to see it all, it was just very overwhelming,” he said. he declared. “I didn’t have that spark in me until my visit.”

It took Khachatryan a year to complete this enormous oil on canvas. It is filled with a lot of emotion and symbolism. It shows the attack, the consequences and “rebirth”.

“Think inspiration is when the idea, not you, takes over the idea, but the idea comes over you. And then you have no choice but to accept it.” , said Khachatryan.

The firefighters are the main heroes of his play. The exact times the two planes struck the Twin Towers are subtly displayed in smoke. And perhaps most important and most moving is the way each victim is represented by 2,977 candles.

“I actually had to recheck the candles three times, just to make sure the correct amount was the first when painting. Each candle the body of the candle, checking with the wick of the candle, then the third. times adding glow – paint in the dark on each candle so that they charge the light and if all the lights go out instantly, those candles light up for a few seconds, ”he said.

He hopes their stories and legacies will endure and those who see this piece will remember the importance of being united.

“Unfortunately, sometimes a tragedy like this brings people together. We’re all connected, we’re together, and I think my message would be to try and choose love over fear. My message wouldn’t be so much. to dwell on tragedy, but rebirth, ”Khachatryan said.

You can follow more of Khachatryan’s work in click here.

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