‘The Smoke Artist’ honors 9/11 firefighters with oil paintings


Known as “The smoke artist“, Paints the New Jersey-based artist Mher Khachatryan with his emotions.

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

On September 11, 2001, Khachatryan was 17 years old. How many does he remember that terrible day.

“I think there was a lot of anger when I was a teenager,” he said.

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

“I understand that compassion is a much better answer to things than anger, and I think. By changing that, by raising my children and other children around that love, I think this is a better answer to all that You want to do. “

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Khachatryan always wanted to paint September 11th, but he always felt that something was missing. Until he visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. This experience immediately inspired him.

“The video recordings, the audio recordings, the children you know are leaving messages for their parents, husbands and wives that they are leaving … I couldn’t stay to see the whole thing, it was just very overwhelming,” he said. “I didn’t have that spark in me until I visited him.”

It took Khachatryan a year to complete this huge oil-on-canvas painting. It’s full of emotion and symbolism. It shows the attack, the consequences and “the rebirth”.

“Think, inspiration is when the idea, not you, takes over the idea, but the idea takes over. And then you have no choice but to go with her, ”said Khachatryan.

The firefighters are the main heroes in his play. The exact times at which the two planes hit the twin towers are displayed discreetly in smoke. And perhaps most important and moving is how each sacrifice is represented by 2,977 candles.

“I actually had to check the candles three times just to make sure the exact amount was the first time they were painted. Each candle double-check the body of the candle, double-check the wick of it, and then the third time the glow add a dark color to each candle, so that it will charge the light and if all the lights go out immediately these candles will light up for a few seconds, ”he said.

He hopes their stories and legacy live on and those who see this play will be reminded of the importance of being united.

Unfortunately, tragedy like this sometimes brings people together. We are all connected, we are together, and I think my message would be to try to prefer love to fear. My message would be about rebirth rather than tragedy “said Khachatryan.

You can see more of Khachatryan’s work from click here.

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