Senior Highlight: Kira Nalbantian
Interview by Susannah Rubin
Where do you get your inspiration for your artwork?
I get my inspiration from my life experiences. I have been fortunate enough to have traveled around the world and hear stories from all different types of people with diverse backgrounds. This privilege has allowed me to be able to see a bigger picture and the world as a whole, but I also see the small details in things that surround me every day. I think it is a rarity to be able to see the world artistically through a wider lens and a small one. I am also inspired and influenced by the people who surround me. The people that I see daily, or people that I meet and wind up clicking with or having a fascinating conversation or interact with also influence my art. Whether they’re giving me ideas for a piece or helping me create in other ways such as critiques or teaching me new things about art in general...everyone I know impacts my pieces and my process.
What message do you want viewers to take away when they see your artwork?
I want my audience and viewers to be able to feel engaged or connected to my art. It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to have a conversation about my pieces and to have my viewers curious. If they ask questions and want to know more, I know my work has made them think. I love when my pieces get people to question things and maybe even learn something, even if they’re only learning about themselves.
Do you have a current favorite song/album/artist? If so, who/what?
Not really, my music taste is definitely all over the place. Music can inspire many of my pieces and I kind of like the fact that I’m comfortable and open to listening to almost anything...it widens the variety of things that can inspire me.
I love working in digital media. Photography, video editing, drawing digitally etc. I really love editing and the feeling I get when I sit down at a computer. It is one of the only things I have encountered so far that can actually make time disappear. I could sit down to edit a video or a photo and hours will go by. I think the hardest thing about falling in love with editing was that I could only really edit videos at school...if no one stopped me I would be editing at one of the macs in the film/photo room until 3 am. Of course, I also love to experiment in other mediums. I’m excited to take art classes in college using mediums I’ve never used before...I love to learn new skills and ways to express my art.
What is your favorite medium to work with?
I love working in digital media. Photography, video editing, drawing digitally, etc. I love editing and the feeling I get when I sit down at a computer. It is one of the only things I have encountered so far that can actually make time disappear. I could sit down to edit a video or a photo, and hours will go by. I think the hardest thing about falling in love with editing was that I could only really edit videos at school...if no one stopped me, I would be editing at one of the macs in the film/photo room until 3 am. Of course, I also love to experiment in other mediums. I’m excited to take art classes in college using mediums I’ve never used before...I love to learn new skills and ways to express my art.
What's your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I won’t lie, Netflix is a big part of my life, it’s another way to take in new stories. However, unlike hearing stories from people, movies and tv shows can bring their audience into different worlds, fantastical worlds with things and plot lines based on stuff that can’t necessarily happen in our world. I love volleyball or exercise in general; it’s a great stress reliever...another thing that can whisk away time. I also enjoy being outside in nature and appreciating what the physical world has to offer, without technology and the constant reminders of the industrialized world. That being said, I still need to work on getting out of the house a little more and disconnecting.
What are you most excited for this summer?
I’m excited to travel; I’m heading to Spain for a month this summer where I get to disconnect (whether I want to or not) as well as seeing a different environment and submerging myself in a new culture for a while. I’m also excited (and a little nervous, but that’s what makes it fun) to head to Pittsburgh in the fall to start the new chapter of my life and meet so many more people and hear so many more stories that I couldn’t even fathom right now.
Is there anything you would tell younger artists coming through Harriton?
I would tell younger artists coming to Harriton not to hold back. When I first started taking art classes at Harriton I was cautious with the pieces I produced and, in turn, those pieces were not as strong and didn’t express my true self or show my potential. I got really comfortable in the art hallway...I realized all the teachers, even if they weren’t my own, were there to support me and make me feel safe so that I could branch out and blossom into the artist I am today. Don’t worry about what their people think. My art teacher taught me a huge lesson, “you get to chose which critics you want to listen to.” You get to chose to listen to or take advice from people you trust, and you get to gauge whose opinion matters to you. You get to find people who are on your side and trying to help you grow.
What will you miss most about Harriton?
I will definitely miss the connections I made with not only students but also teachers. I’m sure that while going through the motions of high school, I didn’t quite appreciate the smaller community of a high school versus a university. I will miss the people who made high school memorable for me. They guided me through the last four years and if I can make connections to people as I did at Harriton, I know I’ll feel safe and comfortable to continue being authentic and staying true to who I am.