Michael Sharafyan, the son of artist Levon Sharafyan and pianist Ruzan Muradyan, is a fashion designer. He develops models for uniforms and clothes for opera, ballet and other types of staging. This Armenian young man currently lives and works in the US.
-Michael, do you remember how everything started? How did you choose to become a designer?
-When I was a child, my mother, Ruzan Muradyan, was taking me to Opera and Ballet theatre after Spendaryan. She used to work there as a lead concertmaster of ballet. I was inspired by that very much and every time I was asking her to take me behind the scenes so that I could see the uniforms. Many times I was trying to reproduce them on paper and giving to artists. Maybe these details played a role in my future career.
-You are designing uniforms for movies, opera and ballet. In which situations do you work more openly? Where do you feel free?
-I don’t feel any difference and I work with the same passion in any project. I think everything has a unique solution and every time I see a new solution. I feel free in all styles and I love what I do.
-Are you planning to design casual or evening clothes?
-It is a totally different world and for me it is very synthetic. I prefer working with producers, actors and create a project that will stay in history. In the future I may do that, but not for now.
-Are you designing clothes for yourself?
-Not for myself.
-Who are your clients? Do you have famous people in that list?
-Among famous designers I have worked with are Oscar winner Colleen Atwood; we worked together for the film Public Enemies. I have also cooperated with Mona May for the movie Enchanted, as well as with Pete Meneffee for different shows. It was an honor for me to work with them. I have learnt many things from them. As a designer I have worked with Eric Roberts, Meat Laof, Jamie Kennedy, Elaine Hendrix, Gil Bellows and others.
-Are you planning to cooperate with Armenian artists?
-I’d love to and I will be happy to cooperate. Even though my first and only cooperation experience with a local producer, whose name I don’t want to discover, was very sour. I’d love to work with Armenian artists if there is such opportunity.
-What does inspire you in general?
-Exhibitions inspire me. Every year I buy passes to opera, theatres; I often participate in meetings at philharmonic, movie production institution and science academy, or I simply take a book and stay alone with myself in nature. All these things can inspire me much.
-Do you follow the work of Armenian designers? What do you think about them?
-I wouldn’t say that I follow the work of Armenian designers but I like what I see. I am very happy that fashion is developing in Armenia.
-Are you thinking of having your own brand or shop?
-Maybe; in the near future I may buy one.
-What challenges have you met during these years?
-There are different difficulties but I try to overcome.
-Aren’t you thinking of working in Armenia?
-Recently I was offered to design for a theater staging without any honorarium (they would pay only for the trip) because I am a beginner. It is very pity because I don’t consider myself a beginner designer. During the past 4 years only I have designed 4 full-length movies, 10 short movies, 2 music videos (for one of which I received a best uniform designer’s prize in Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood), 1 musical – Moulin Rouge (in 2008 it was presented at the main ball of president Obama’s election), 1 ballet – The Nutcracker (Riverside Ballet, 2010).
It is a pity that Armenians do not appreciate their artists when they are still alive. In Armenia normally they would call a 40-year-old man a young artist, young painter, etc. If this was the standard, the author of Rhapsody in Blue, 26-year-old George Gershwin would be considered a beginner composer. I think such standards should not exist in arts. If there is any serious offer, as I said, I will be happy to bring my contribution in Armenian arts as well.
-Do you have plans for the near future?
-I don’t want to speak about future plans, but there are interesting projects and that you will learn about soon.
By Gohar Aramyan