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Disarming Time: Musical Paintings by Serj Tankian

Disarming Time Painting by Serj Tankian
Disarming Time Painting by Serj Tankian

Serj Tankian, lead vocalist, songwriter, keyboardist and guitarist of the metal band System of a Down, is presenting something new. He calls it Musical Paintings. Disarming Time, the debut exhibition of Serj Tankian’s musical paintings, will open Friday, November 15, 2013 at PROJECT Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition is open to the public November 15 – 21 from 12 PM to 6 PM. Tankian will be in attendance: November 15 & 16 from 1PM to 4 PM. Contact the gallery for more information.

Grieving Banner Painting by Serj Tankian
Grieving Banner Painting by Serj Tankian

I am very pleased to say that Serj agreed to answer a few questions for me.

Lorrie: What is the meaning of the name of the exhibition, “Disarming Time”?

Serj: Disarming time is the name of the first piece I created and the name of my first exhibition. Although open to interpretation, to me, it signifies losing oneself in the bliss of eternity while living with time and space. Music and art can be both physical and spiritual, representing both limitation and the eternal.

Lorrie: What are “Musical Paintings”?

Serj: Musical Paintings are a multi-sensory experience allowing one to see the music and hear the art via an app we’ve created called Eye For Sound. Every painting has a musical score accompanying it that allows someone to be immersed into the overall experience. The app recognizes the painting via optical recognition and launches the music and other content on the person’s smartphone or device.

Lorrie: Which comes first, the music or the painting?

Serj: I usually first compose the music, then create the art to match the music-a reverse scoring process. That is why I’ve coined the phrase See Music, Hear Art. Part of the process on most of the pieces is utilizing the concept of timelessness represented by clock faces without arms to represent the notes of the music on the canvas. Music can be in time yet represent infinity in terms of inspiration.

Lorrie: How long have you been painting?

Serj: Though the ideas of what I’ve been working on started many years ago, these actual paintings and their musical scores were started earlier this year (2013). I have 22 musical paintings so far and am creating more.

Lorrie: How did you come up with the idea of creating an app to use for viewing paintings?

Serj: Originally we tinkered around with the idea of speakers within canvases coupled by mp3 devices and bluetooth technology to create the musical experience around the art. That process lent us to the conclusion that it would  become too tech heavy and not allow us to focus on the art and music. By creating the app, we have allowed anyone with a smartphone or device to experience the music with any type of speakers, headphones or sound system of  their preference.

Lorrie: How do we get the app?

Serj: Go to and follow the download directions for Apple and Google devices.

Thanks so much to Serj for taking the time to answer my questions. Catch a glimpse of Serj’s creative process in the video below.

For more information about Serj Tankian visit

Visit the Pop Life Art homepage for many more links to musicians that paint.