Providence, Rhode Island
|Known for||Michael Aram Design Collections and stores|
Michael Aram (born June 27, 1963) is an award-winning, internationally-renowned American artist who has dedicated his career to craft based design. Although he works in a variety of materials, he is best known for his work in metal, designing handmade accessories for the home, sculpture, and fine jewelry.
After being inspired by a trip to India in 1989, Aram established a second home and workshop in Delhi where he began designing his first collections. Today, Aram's work is sold in over 70 countries worldwide in national department stores as well as independent jewelers, galleries, and specialty retailers. In addition, Aram has two standalone Flagship retail stores in New York City and Los Angeles. In 2017, the brand began opening numerous branded 'shop in shops' in select Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's locations.
Early Life and Education
Michael Aram was born on June 27, 1963 in Providence, Rhode Island and is of Armenian ancestry. He grew up in Westchester County, New York and graduated from Bates College in Maine with a degree in Art History. He also took classes at the New York Art Students League and studied abroad at the University of Florence, Italy.
Aram began his career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art designing books and exhibition posters, going back to his Greenwich Village studio apartment at night to paint.
Inspiration and Career
In 1989, Aram took what would later become a life-changing trip to India where he discovered traditional handcrafted works being produced by Indian artisans. He saw that the craftsmen were making functional objects using extraordinary skills that were unlike anything he'd seen. Aram studied various handcrafted metalwork techniques, such as sand casting and hand forging, from the local artisans. He immediately began working alongside these talented makers, whose work he saw as greatly overlooked and underappreciated. His creative interactions with the artisans sparked his imagination and inspired him to create pieces on that very first trip. Encouraged by people's reactions to his initial designs, upon his return home Aram emptied his bank account and soon boarded a flight back to India to set up a home and workshop there.
Nearly thirty years after that initial trip, Aram employs nearly 200 artisans at his workshop in New Delhi and worldwide, and hundreds of others through a trained and dedicated network of craftsmen, many of whom work in the cottage industry. Aram states, "it is the same passionate fusion of art and craft which remains at the core of everything the company creates."
Aram has always been fascinated with the natural world, and loves the interplay between organic forms combined with the spontaneity inherent in the handmade process. He is highly inspired by his surroundings, and often depicts objects that might otherwise be overlooked by others in his work. Nature is his biggest muse, and his work combines the imperfections inherent in the handmade process with the perfectly imperfect beauty of nature to create objects that reflect humanity. Many of his pieces are ingrained with rich storylines, inherent symbolism and deep-rooted meaning, though at times his work is simply an exploration and celebration of the handmade process. Nevertheless, Aram only creates work which has genuine personal connection to him symbolically or experientially.
Michael Aram is married to Aret Tikiryan and has twin children, Anabel and Thadeus. Michael divides his time between New York City and New Delhi, India.
In 2015, Aram was selected by the Armenian Church of America, Eastern Diocese, to create a sculpture to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. The sculpture is located on the plaza in front of Saint Vartan's Cathedral at 34th Street and Second Avenue in New York City.
In 2016, Aram was asked on behalf of the People of Armenia to create a monumental sculpture to be given to Pope Francis on the occasion of his pilgrimage to the country. Aram chose to create Noah's Ark as it is symbolically important to Armenians and is a reference to Noah's journey down the mountain into the Ararat Valley. The sculpture was presented to Pope Francis on June 26, 2016, and is permanently installed inside the Vatican.