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Santa Fe artist Richard Tashjian has been a nature lover since his early childhood.
His initial artistic memories are of drawing on the back of his sister’s notebooks from school. Tashjian, a native of Massachusetts, and a second generation Armenian American, eventually settled in Santa Fe in 2001, after being drawn by New Mexico’s scenery, during his travels.
Now, at age 87, Tashjian has been painting for more than 75 years, and several of his paintings are of the red cliffs and skies of the Southwest.
Tashjian’s experiences come from a rich and diverse background. He began his career in the Navy, during World War II, as an aerial photographer.
He later worked in the advertising industry, after studying graphic design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Boston.
It wasn’t until the 1980s, when Tashjian was running a gallery and art studio in Watertown, Mass. that he became serious about painting.
Through the years, Tashjian was able to turn his passion into a career. His paintings have drawn international acclaim, especially in the Republic of Armenia. His works hang in a number of museums in Armenia, as well as around the United States, and locally are on display at The University of New Mexico- Los Alamos.
Tashjian has had a long-standing relationship with UNM-LA’s campus. In hopes of encouraging a creative, inspiring learning environment, he donated several paintings between 2005 and 2007. In 2007, Tashjian had a one-man show at UNM-LA titled, “Mesa, Canyons, Landscapes,” which featured 30 pieces of his artwork.
Recently, Tashjian donated four more oil paintings to UNM-LA and his works are presently on display in the Student Center Lecture Hall in Building 2.
“UNM-LA has been so good to me that I wanted to give something back,” Tashjian said. “I hope the students will be inspired by my paintings.”
Tashjian still experiments with watercolor and acrylic, as well as oil.
He is an accomplished plein-air painter, who celebrates the tradition and style of painting outdoors in the open, on location along the Rio Grande and near the red rock cliffs of Abiquiu, among many other places.
Two Santa Fe galleries, Art Exchange Gallery and InArt Santa Fe Gallery, along with Johnson’s Gallery in Madrid, currently represent Tashjian.