Ruby Vartan on healing and transforming through art

Artist Ruby Vartan with one of her works

I had the pleasure of speaking with Ruby Vartan, an educator and artist whose energy precedes her presence.

Vartan was born and raised in Lebanon. She knew at a very young age that she was an artist. She would color, draw and paint. It has always been her passion, and when she graduated high school, she instinctively knew that she wanted to pursue art. She graduated with a degree in fine arts, got married, had kids and moved to the United States. While she was raising her twins, she took a break from work. When family dynamics changed, she had time to further pursue her art.

She started with the theme of change. She used butterflies to conceptualize the changes happening in her life.

“Art was the medium I used to help me transform. I was participating in group shows and growing and going deeper into my process with art. Art is a process. I don’t search for inspiration. It’s within me. I always want to create and make new art. I’m always trying to change and find new ways of expression. One of my projects has been using the body as a contour for art,” Vartan shared.

“I began to create and question my style. I worked with mentors.

I realized that my trauma was being raised in a war-torn country. My father would take us on trips in the hopes that the war would end. I battled fear most of my life. I incorporated my trauma into my art. It was used as a way to heal. The butterfly comes from the transformation and wanting to be free, free from fear and trauma.

 The body has so much capacity to move forward,” she continued.

Teaching wasn’t something that Vartan sought to do, but it has benefitted her as well as her students. Vartan is an art teacher at Cabayan Elementary School, where she uses her art to inspire her students. It brings her great joy to see her students use art as a form of creativity and expression. 

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“Art is what fills my void. It’s a passion, and my creativity comes from the soul,” Vartan reflected. “I see myself having more gallery exhibitions, more art shows and bigger venues. I want my art to have a message, a message of hope. I want my art to give strength and to inspire. I want my art to be seen in public places and appreciated for its different dimensions.” 

Vartan has always dreamed of traveling to Armenia. While she doesn’t paint explicitly Armenian themes, she considers herself an “Armenian female artist living in Los Angeles.” 

“I am grateful that I’ve had the chance to connect and work with Armenian children,” she said. “One of the paintings that I did was called Blood of a Nation, which was done after the Artsakh War. I use red, which is extreme for me, the utmost truth.”  

Talar Keoseyan

Talar Keoseyan

Talar Keoseyan is a mother, educator and writer. She is the author of Vanna's Adventures (discusses Armenian traditions and customs); Mom and Dad, Why Do I Need to Know My Armenian Heritage? (a children's book about being proud of our heritage); Our Tigran and Tigran's Song (written in honor of Tigran Harutyunyan, a fedayee from the 44 Day War). Talar was a member of the Philadelphia AYF (Papken Suni and Sebouh chapters), as well as Homenetmen, Hamazkayin and ARS. She is currently a member of the La Crescenta "Talin" ARS chapter. She can be reached at or Hokees1111 on Instagram.

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