Born in 1966 in Armenia (a republic in former Soviet Union), Naira began painting as a teenager, influenced by an older cousin who painted as a hobby. Naira’s interest in art led her to the University of Fine Arts and Theatre in Yerevan, the largest city and capital of Armenia, where she majored in industrial design. During her university years, Naira broadened her artistic range and further developed her oil and watercolor painting techniques by studying with leading Russian artists.
Naira immigrated to the US in 1991, where she enrolled in community art classes, learning the basics of throwing and hand-building ceramics, becoming quickly enamored of the process. she quickly developed a reputation as a talented ceramic artist, and in 1995, Glendale Community College, California, bestowed its “Artist of the Year” award upon her. From then on, Naira has worked hard to continue dramatically improve her art, aided by the influence and critique of her husband Rafik, who studied fine arts and sculpture at the University level in Austria from 1978-1982.
As a guest artist and studio designer, Naira has taught numerous local workshops on throwing and under glaze painting techniques at schools, festivals, ceramic studios, including Color Me Mine in Larchmont and Studio City, California, and at museums, including the Japanese Museum of Art in Los Angeles.
Recently, Naira and Rafik have combined their talents in the studio attached to their house to create ceramic tile wood tables, wall sculptures and functional pottery, all inspired by nature’s countless variations of shapes, colors, and plays of light. Their three young children, who happily make use of all of the varied materials and hands-on instructions available in mom and dad’s studio, visit them throughout the day.