The artist from Chula Vista explores the intersection of history, multiculturalism and nature in her paintings

There is so much time and research that goes into every Amanda Kachadoorian painting. From her research into ethnobotany and history to the process of using her oil paints to create the final artwork, she invests a great deal of time and energy in the work she shares. Art fans can see that when their work is on display in the context of the “Sowing the seeds of universal language” exhibition.

“I would like to present an atmosphere of community and identity through surrealistic flora,” she said of her pieces in the exhibition, which is on display Tuesday through December 15 at the Mesa College Art Gallery.

“I want the viewer to get a feel for how beautiful and diverse our community is and how it is represented by crazy surrealistic plants in a once-in-a-lifetime landscape. It would also be nice if someone likes it and wants to buy them to support local artists. “

According to a published statement, dozens of visual, audio and performance artists will examine issues of disharmony in people’s current lives, including relationships with the country, with each other and with ourselves. The exhibition was curated by the college’s museum studies program and will open on Friday host a reception where visitors can take small bunches of seeds home to grow as part of a participatory installation performance.

Kachadoorian, 26, lives in Chula Vista and has a degree in fine arts from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work has been featured in exhibitions across San Diego, including at Bread & Salt, the Oceanside Museum of Art, and the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. She took some time to talk about her work on Sawing Seeds, the way her research on multiculturalism and colonization is reflected in her work, and apply her painting skills to her love of makeup and nail art .

Q: In an interview with SD Voyager, you talk about how your work of art has been shaped by your research on multiculturalism, colonization and globalization. What are some examples of how we can see this research show up in your creative work?

A: I collect historical and cultural information about the specific regions represented in each painting I create. Each plant represents a specific culture that has influenced and contributed to the region over different timelines. Then it is blended with other contributing cultures, creating a community and surrealist unity, while placing those surrealist plants in a pristine landscape that represents the place prior to modern development. The virgin landscape is the beginning of what the modern landscape we see today will become.

The colonization of the indigenous community by the Spaniards leads to discussion of multiculturalism and what it means to be mixed race or ethnic group. Globalization has not only contributed more to this conversation, but also to the dialogue about individuality. Our races contribute to the cultures we grow up in and where we live contributes to our multicultural identity.

What I love about Chula Vista …

I love that West Chula Vista has their famous El Gordo tacos where people are waiting outside to enjoy their traditional Mexican tacos. I love that Third Avenue in downtown Chula Vista has a variety of small shops with breweries, restaurants, crystal shops, party halls, and more. I love that East Chula Vista has its large malls and squares, along with its chain restaurants and beautiful hiking trails along San Miguel Mountain and Otay Lake.

Q: What made you decide to include ethnobotany and botany in your works of art?

A: During my childhood I was always interested in plants and their breeding, but it wasn’t until I started thinking about my ethnic identity that I decided to represent this through botanicals. As I continued to research and experiment with surrealist plants, I began to make connections with the way plants are very representative of migration, adaptation, and survival in a new environment, as many people have seen throughout history.

Q: They said, “My work aims to create a dynamic atmosphere while promoting dialogue and education about multiculturalism in a society that continues a practice of displacement and exclusivity.” She from? And how do you see multiculturalism within this continued practice?

A: In our current political climate, legislation aims to eliminate critical and historical timelines that are deemed unnecessary and unimportant to be taught in the public school system. The exclusion of important historical information leads to a failure to recognize the struggles that communities have faced and how they continue to experience generational hardship. Through ongoing dialogue about multiculturalism and understanding the history of our society, we can break this practice of displacement and exclusivity.

Amanda Kachadoorian’s “Central San Diego”, 2020, oil on canvas.

(City of San Diego Civic Art Collection, purchase, gift from Thomas O. Rasmussen. © Amanda Kachadoorian)

Q: What did you learn from your own exploration of your multicultural heritage? And what would the native plants be from these respective regions? And what would you say about your own personality, culture and origin?

A: When I discovered this artistic practice, my first painting was about my ethnic-botanical background and it became part of my thesis during my undergraduate program. My ethnic background is half Mexican, a quarter Armenian and a quarter German. Born and raised in San Diego was also part of my personal identity.

I collected plants native to and / or representative of Mexico, Germany, Armenia and California, which eventually resulted in a selection of cacti, pomegranates, edelweiss, California poppies and other plants and plants. I titled the twin pictures “Germexicarian l” and “Germexicarian ll” and played with mixing words.

My most frequently requested assignments are the creation of my own ethnobotany portraits of themselves or their family members.

An oil painting with plants from the regions that reflect the artist's ethnic groups

“Germexicarian I” by artist Amanda Kachadoorian, an exploration of her own identity and heritage through the study of plants that originate from Germany, Mexico, Armenia and California and reflect their own ethnicities.

(Courtesy Amanda Kachadoorian)

An oil painting with plants from the regions that reflect the artist's ethnic groups

“Germexicarian II” by artist Amanda Kachadoorian, an exploration of her own identity and heritage through the study of plants that originate from Germany, Mexico, Armenia and California and reflect their own ethnicities.

(Courtesy Amanda Kachadoorian)

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

A: The best advice I’ve received is that getting to know people and participating in the community will benefit your art career. I learned that from my own experience by not sitting on the street and vice versa. When I went to UC Berkeley, I was still figuring out my artistic style. However, I didn’t turn out to be an artist because resources were scarce and I didn’t take the time to act outside of the university art scene. I began to notice that my colleagues would be given more opportunities because of the personal connections they made along the way. When I moved back to San Diego after graduating from college, my goal was to attend events, speak to local artists, and apply for opportunities that came my way. By participating and being involved, I was able to make connections and gain opportunities that I would otherwise not have.

Q: What would be one thing people would learn about you?

A: In addition to my job as a painter, I also like to work with make-up artists. When I have time to myself, I like to experiment with makeup and create different makeup looks. I am currently learning to paint my nails and create nail extensions to break my nail biting habits and explore a new artistic endeavor.

Q: Please describe your ideal San Diego weekend.

A: To wake up and put on an outfit that makes me feel the most confident and attractive. My first destination would be Cafe Moto in Barrio Logan to order a vanilla iced coffee. With coffee in hand, I went to Broadway in Chula Vista and Goodwill in Imperial Beach to look for clothes, shoes or accessories on my wish list.

After an afternoon of shopping, I went to the El Rincon restaurant in San Ysidro and ordered an enchilada verdes or rojas con queso with horchata.

Later that evening, I met up with my friends and went to my favorite bar, Polite Provisions in University Heights, where we each ordered a different drink from the menu, had fun and humorous conversations, and talked about the future. I also strolled through Balboa Park, went to an art exhibition that might be happening this weekend, enjoy a hike in the Torrey Pines State Reserve, or just hang out with my family over caldo (a Mexican soup).

About Stephanie McGehee

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