Dear EoB Fans,
This is by far the most difficult entry I've ever had to write. One early morning in February of this year Armen Mirzaian, one of our dearest friends, and one of East of Byzantium's earliest collaborators, was taken from us very suddenly.
Ara Soudjian, mutual colleague, who had originally introduced us, phoned me with the bad news, and of course I could only sit there at my desk, my body reacting with that mix of shock and disbelief.
Armen, who made his trade as an animation story/ storyboard artist, was a huge influence on not only EOB but many of my other projects as well, and his absence is being felt by everyone who ever had the fortune to know him, even for a short amount of time. It will be a herculean task to find a replacement for someone like him, having embodied that rare combination of talent and humanity. You always knew you would get an honest critique from him. But it was a cut that had healing on the other side.
I can only wish he was still here, to collaborate further, to leave more of his unique mark on this undertaking. He knew how difficult this was going to be. He was in it for the long haul as he saw it.
I remember the earliest days of our collaboration; shuttling him back and forth from our pad at Park La Brea (near the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) to where he was camping out in Burbank, as he did not have use of a car at that time. Armen had just started adding his burgeoning skills to our development work. We got to be like brothers then, carrying long conversations about Art, Culture and All Things Metaphysical as long as the road allowed.
That was his vibe, he became everyone's brother.
Armen once told Ara he was thankful, that I gave him some important breaks in this biz.
Well, Armen, as you streak across the inverse as a being of light, back to the Source, (as I like to imagine it), to hang out in that realm that Art can only guess at - wherever you are, please take the knowledge that you gave us a lot more.
We'll keep at it, and endeavor to make something you would have approved of.