Friday, December 14, 2007



Axumite, originally uploaded by eyobart.

This is a painting I am working on about Axum, a historically indispensable town in Ethiopian history, religion and in fact  of African Civilization as well.  Axum is the place where the Queen of Sheeba reigned during the height of her empire, this where we have the Ark of the covenant and this is where we have the Axum Obelisks ( the ones I tried to put in my paintings as well). Axumite civilization still has a visible effect on Ethiopian history, religion, architecture and arguably political landscape. Currently, Axum is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Ethiopia.Traveling to Axum is one of the most inspiring things to me, both as my Ethiopian/African heritage and also as an artist.  At this time, I am taking all the experiences I got  from my last trip and integrating it into my art.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Koch Hazard: At My Show

Koch Hazard: At My Show, originally uploaded by eyobart.

Carl Grupp, originally uploaded by eyobart.

Carl Grupp at my show. He is a great artist and one of my favorite drawing teachers. I consider him a good friend.

Click here and here for some of his work.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Show's Night

Harmony and Balance Band, originally uploaded by eyobart.

This is the band at my show.

Gift of Tongues

Harmony and Balance is an upcoming show that was prepared by, a good friend, Edward Thomson and I. I have a lot of appreciation for Edward and collect his art pieces. We have been arranging this for the last three months and are anticipating great results.


As an artist, my inspirations come from many sources that include music, nature, books, and religion. They are inspirations that have a positive outlook and a potential to form a change in the art culture and bring an awareness of the mystery of sense. My medium is often a mixed media of oil paint, drawing, and watercolor. I enjoy playing with the composition and the colors of my pieces. I believe the composition is the basis of the spiritual essence and idea within them.


To me, the goal of this show is to create a sense of awareness with beauty among the public. As an artist, my goal is to create imaginative elements that viewers have never seen or thought to see before. My paintings convey a sense of joy, healing, music and the power of creativity. All of these concepts have the potential to bring a positive outlook or perspective to the viewers by using creative tools to break some of the laws or art.
My pieces have been inspired by mostly two famous painters: Caravaggio and Henry Tanner. In most of their work they use radical naturalist and realist styles which combine a close physical observation with dynamic, even theatrical, approach to chiaroscuro, which is the art term for the use of light and shadow. Thus, it is much easier to focus on accurate depictions of subjects. Out of the many artists I have seen, these two are the ones that have clearly displayed a strong ability for composition and drawing. For many years, I have grown up painting with inspirations as these that seem to always serve as the foundation of the many styles of art I have grown in.
Since the last eleven years, I have constantly researched many different periods of art inside and outside this country by reading, traveling, sketching and painting. By teaching myself these concepts I have developed an artistic form of language and signature within my pieces that creates a sense of accountability for me as a painter. As an artist, my goal will always remain to bring a different, though knowledgeable, perspective on the roots of traditional and cultural art that is able to capture the essence of nature.


At this time, art has come into in accordance with the laws of the inner force. The spiritual subject lives, it has its own powers and actively modifies the spiritual atmosphere. But painting is not a pointless activity but a power that helps to refine the soul. The soul is like a daily bread, but how ever the artist should have a message to convey. A message revolves to him by his inner voice which also accounts for the beauty of his work for only that is beautiful.
The greatest external diversity (external form) becomes the greatest internal identity. Thus, realism is equal to abstraction, and abstraction to realism. True art can be achieved by both methods.
The fact that a painting can be represented as a secret mathematical form or number but there are numbers of all kind and why should we narrow the range of the artistic expression?

Harmony and Balance
Koch Hazard Gallery
2nd floor window

Nov. 23, 7:30 PM along with the Parade of Lights
Exhibition: Monday-Friday 8-5pm through Jan.5th 2008

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Cello Dream

The Cello Dream, originally uploaded by eyobart.

Every morning when I wake up I feed human bread to the ducks outside my porch. When I don’t wake up and feed them they tend to scream at my window and disturb me very much. Amusingly, they give me inspiration. Their voices may sound raw and dreadful to many but remind me of a saxophone and the sound you get when you are manually ripping a piece of cloth. At the same time, other birds flee to this scene and sometimes rabbits and squirrels come. It gives me a child-like experience filled with simple and common fun that some take for granted.
The Cello Dream was basically inspired by these bird encounters at my window. I took the song-like voices of the birds and depicted them as floating people under the moon. The songs of the birds merge with the cello player and his dreams of the full moon.
I do many paintings like this because it helps my mind enter into a state of refreshment after a long and motivational art piece or set.

More musical paintings at…

Born of the Water and of the Spirit


 Born of Water and of the Spirit, originally updated by Eyob

                 After a loooooooooong trip to Ethiopia the last few months, traveling an adventurous and exciting trip across that great historical country, I am now back in town! The last few weeks, I have kept myself busy with the painting for the new Avera McKenna Hospice. I have actually used the knowledge gained from my trip in this work of art. Before I made my visit to Ethiopian churches, a lot of my inspiration was from mostly my imagination and sacred art. After my visit, some of my imaginative elements were confirmed and new ideas were raised. My art is delightfully taking a new turn towards a modernized dimension of Ethiopian art. By following and concentrating on the roots of Ethiopian art I believe my viewers will see a hidden and sacred language that cannot be spoken but seen in my art. Here is a brief description of the paintings.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5


                   This painting is meant to represent baptism so as to symbolize Hope, the feeling of Healing and Salvation. It is meant to give a sense of comfort, sense of healing, sense of re-birth. Extending from the past through the present to the future, it is meant to guide the minds of people to explore the spiritual world in an artistic language and form both in the form of Water and Spirit as in the words of Jesus. Artistically, the spiritual elements representing different concepts radiating towards one universal theme, were depicted using dynamic composition. The blue painting is “born of water” and the red is “born of the spirit”. All in all, this painting is generally aiming to give cultural awareness from the perspective of art.


                    Several elements are included in the two pentaplet canvasses. The Child symbolizes a sense of re-birth and represents baptism as in The New Testament; The Dove represents Spirit, The Ten Commandment represents the past (taking us back to the Old Testament) and the influence of which transcends to the present; the Umbrellas symbolize protection from the Sun. The ancient Cross icons symbolize the sacrifice Jesus Christ paid on the Cross for the salvation of humanity. All the above elements are chosen and included to give a sense of healing, hope and salvation for the needy!


Saturday, May 26, 2007

SFC Finale Show (In My Studio)

This show was a display of all the work done by the students. The show made for a nice evening for all of us.  Surprisingly, their was reported more than 300 people that came to the opening.

Click HERE for more information.

The Last Day of Alpha Omega



This picture was taken at the entryway of the high school with all of us together.

Click HERE for more information.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Alpha Omega

Alpha Omega, originally uploaded by eyobart.

SFC Collaboration
Alpha Omega
Mixed Collage

Alpha Omega (Gr. "το 'Αλφα και το Ω), translated into Greek, means A to Z. Numerous people relate this to “the first and the last” or “the beginning and the end.” These few but powerful words are known to be appellation of God in the Bible book of Revelations. We gave this title to the project because we view it as the birth of a new concept. We were the first to discover and create this kind of concept in hopes that we were able to convey the mood and ideas of this theme. However, what ultimately unifies this project it is the representation of the life and times of Jesus Christ in our painting with modern and conceptual art.
Tomorrow is actually going to be the day when the Mural is going to be hanging on the walls of SFC. The theme of the Mural is based on a Christian Art. 18 Students each created a piece by using musical notes, biblical verses to create a unified collage icon. They also have their individual designs and styles incorporated into their art. All the pieces are then arranged together in a form of a large cross in a triptych format.

The Mural will be hung May 16th at SFC High School entrance

The show for their remaining art pieces the students created will be displayed in my studio on May 24th beginning at 5:30 P.M

 Click here for the KSFY TV News Station Article

The Final Film Shot! Friday 5.25.07

The color of sound art, originally uploaded by eyobart.

The Color of Sound: Music Inspires Art

An interactive concert featuring local visual artists and musicians.

Four talented Sioux FAlls artists, Scott L. Ehrisman, Hope Happeny, Eyob Mergia and Jamie Scarbrough, will create several paintings on canvas while listening to the region's top Jazz and Blues Bands-- Dakota Jazz Collective and Urban Blues.

This film will be very special for all of us!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Mural Art - Part I

On Mayday, around eight o’ clock, I found an email that told me we needed to change the theme on our mural project from Jazz to Christian. The Christian theme also was to have an emphasis on the bible verse: Psalms 150:3-5 "Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord."

Luckily, we were ending our research about the Jazz concept in color motive and form instead of painting it. The reason why we needed to change the theme is because the SFC requested it so that the mural can be hung on the walls of the entryway. Thus, it would better suit the school’s Christian environment. I love the idea for the Christian theme but due to large amount of time that was given to us for the jazz theme, I prefer that better. Time is crucial in art because with that you are able to research your topic and incorporate it in a beautiful way.
For a long time, the students started their paintings with a white background, glue, and paint. They used a collage system that started from black and altered to white. This gave them a sense of tonal gradation which gives them a better understanding in color. This time, I had the students start from the middle of the light brown and dark brown tonal gradations I had made. For example, the middle tonal gradation of black and white is gray. This gave them an opportunity to learn how to work with different tonal gradations of one color. In fact, this can give a project a monochromatic feel but still hold color as an advantage.
What surprised me with the students visit today was the fact that all of the students came with an excitement and passion. We had the chance to work with mature, rich colors that represent Christian art but also themselves. This differs from all the other work the students have done because it gives them a chance to take a common theme and symbolize that with their individual creativity. It was great as well as wonderful because half of the mural is so far successful.

“This technique of art was created to be the basis and root of a new way of art. Everything else can only branch off.”

Friday, April 27, 2007

Guess who is talking about this blog . . .

Got it? It is Argus Leader. In its article entitled 'An Artist's Touch', the newspaper writes about Sioux Falls Christian Schools students art project with me.

You may check it out here.

Students are also interviewed about the project - it is quite a interesting read!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Self-Measurement, Self-Understanding, and Realism

This week I had the students do still life. I wanted them to lower their zealousness and really pay attention to negative and positive spaces in their art. My goal was not to have them create but project what they see into their canvas. This is associated to hand and eye coordination. Sometimes it’s very good to work with realism because that is what a good artist is measured by. In order to do abstract you have to start with a strong foundation of realism. The reason why we did not have realism in the groups was because of the scarcity in time. Nevertheless, I wanted the students to at least undergo this concept.

I have the utmost appreciation for this group. The fact that they all admitted to needing help was a good step for them because they are then able open up themselves as a student. I also had a good appreciation for the group because they seemed like they were always prepared to learn and do what ever it takes to improve or grow. Everyone knows that when you start to see things that could improve and you go about achieving that, you get steps closer to a better understanding which leads to perfection. This concept is not necessarily for art only, but life in general. Nevertheless, I have a great appreciation for all the groups because they went above and beyond my expectations for them within this short amount of time. I have seen many diverse techniques, colors, forms, freedom, knowledge, feelings, joys, ideas, concepts, passions, and powers in this project. From my perspective, all these elements combined gives growth and brings their art into different and innovative levels.

When I was watching them leave it hit me hard that I probably was not going to have opportunities to work with them again after May 2nd. I had shared with them a part of my self that was personal as well as the measure of love I have for art. It was humorous because this made me feel like they were walking out of the door with my heart on their backs in place of a backpack. This gave me an idea for my next painting though.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sioux Falls Christian School project


For quite a while, I was involved in a project in teaching students from the Sioux Falls Christian School. The main themes of the project were Jazz Art, Mural Art,Titian Art and art from children’s perspective. Eighteen students from the school were attending a class in my studio in Piper’s Art Decor and customs Framing and took classes in the elements of Jazz art, the techniques , styles and the challenges involved. They worked with color, form and ideas to create their own pieces of Jazz art. As the saying goes, challenging art challenges not only the viewer but its maker. Art that falls short often does not because the artist failed to meet the challenge, but because there was never a challenge there in the first place.Hard work equals amazing artwork. This is the reason we are so confident in this project. Hopefully, this project will capture the attention of all its viewers and relate to them on a personal level, some way or another.

I believe that this show will not benefit only the students but potentially the whole city of Sioux Falls. It is a good experience for the students because it teaches them the vitality in viewing things in different perspectives. Also, it gives them a musical sense for jazz which then can be formed into ideas that can be incorporated into art. For the city of Sioux Falls, It gives an awareness of jazz and the change that it has taken in the last years, even in art. The reason why this conceptual art is different from all the others is because there had been much research done by more than one person and many ideas brought forth. This means that the art has more of a widespread feel for the theme and it is able to give more of a sense of optimism and hope for all the viewers. Art is measured in the power of the creativity and even the creator. This power though, is determined by the viewer itself. When there is more than one creator working on the same concept, it gives the viewer infinite views and perspectives which has the potential to open up their imaginations into different dimensions of art.

I believe that it will be good for the art community in Sioux Falls to see this because they will then have the opportunity to view a new kind of art and idea grow from within their own community. For the students, we are taking them into new levels of art in their own individual styles and showing them how to find themselves in art. This not only benefits them in art, but in life. It shows them the importance of having confidence when approaching new ideas and new concepts which is essential to any person’s life.

Show will be :

Sioux Falls Christian High School

May 27- June 1, 2007 , Sioux Falls, SD


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Abstract Scene

This time, I have been working with a second group of students helping them manifest their own ideas into their art. At first, some of the students had a difficult time choosing and grasping their ideas in such a short amount of time. My objective in this is to prepare and train the students to create ideas and make decisions immediately. This gives them the strength to take what they have in their minds at that time and find a way to apply it in their art. At the end they created beautiful pieces and developed themselves into a new level of art.

The main challenge they have now is forming ideas and developing quick techniques.This can come with more experience and more dedication. It also pays to read books about periods of art and artist biographies - to learn from their experience.There are a lot of resources out there to refer to on abstract elements in art. But one of my favorites is Art and the Creative Consciousness by Graham Collier.

Also some of the artists you may refer to for inspiration ( these people have always inspired me) are Jackson Pollock, Joan Miro, Paul Klee, Arshile Gorky, William DeKooning, Jean Dubuffet, Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian.


I appreciate the students very much. They have showed tremendous effort to learn and it paid well.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Jazz Art and Abstract Eyes

third group-(jazz and child art), originally uploaded by eyobart. 

In this session we had discovered what it means to paint abstract. I showed them that all art is abstract to a certain degree because the artist has somewhat intellectualized the work. The simplicity in abstract is that it can be reduced down to geometrical shapes that can come from within anyone. Learning to paint abstract can open up anyone’s mind analyze your work or resolve any difficulties. It can also be one of the best ways to improve the very dynamics of your work. (
The group had a lot of fun incorporating who they are in this median. In the last couple of groups the relationship that I had with the students was a teacher/student relationship. This group was surprisingly different because it had a friend in art relationship. This benefited the group’s art work because it made them open up and easily put them selves in their art work. It also helped me because I was more comfortable opening up my ideas to them. I appreciate the school for giving an opportunity to the students to work with me. I am honored. They have an incredible amount of creativity and originality which is essential in art.
The jazz art we did today was able to help the students more and give them a musical sense and element which is then able to create a variety of musical concepts and ideas. Some of the students did more in their art then what I had expected them to because of this.
When I was first showing the students how to paint with this musical concept I was very detailed but as the day started progressing I slowly let them work with the techniques I had taught them. In this, they were able to grow and show progress in their artwork. Also, I wanted to give them a chance to create their own techniques from the bits of pieces that I showed them.
For me, I believe an artist is similar to a farmer. A farmer throws seeds on the ground and has faith in what is able to rise up and then finally create its own seeds. In art, the seeds represent the ideas, concepts, passions and medians that is given to a persons mind and soul. When this seed is planted firmly it have the potential to create its own ideas and concepts.
I am pleased that Sheree and I had an opportunity to collaborate all of this.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Third Group-(jazz and child art)

third group-(jazz and child art), originally uploaded by eyobart.

The third group that came into my studio were assigned to do a painting about children. My objective with the children art project was to unwrap up the creativity of the students and to unwind their minds. The students had a tricky time incorporating their ideas into the median that was given so we decided to adjust it. Nevertheless, I did not miss considering the artist side in all the students. When we changed the median, the students had a more comfortable time putting their ideas into the paintings. I myself appreciated their originality in this type of art.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sioux Falls Christian Mural Project! (Second Group-Jazz Collage)



This group is doing a collage painting on Jazz art. They are the second group from Sioux Falls Christian Schools that I am working with. I was really fascinated with this group because they had so much originality in their pieces. They really surprised me!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sioux Falls Christian Mural Projects!(First Group- Titian Paintings)


Some ongoing projects that I am working on right now is a mural project with some high school students from Sioux Falls Christian. There are 18 students coming in as groups of six to my studio. My objective in this project is to educate the students about awareness of art. They are all diverse therefore I believe that they should all have diverse experiences expressing themselves in art. I am also working on breaking any preconceived ideas they have about art and open up their imaginations to original and exciting concepts. The three ideas I am introducing to the students are: life-paintings, painting from your mind, and the idea of subconscious painting.
I believe that this project will not only influence the students at Sioux Falls Christian but the entire art community. They will be able to see the birth of a new concept in a student’s creativity and imagination.
This project will profit the students in taking their eyes off of outdated concepts of art and steer their imaginations in new directions. This will not only assist them to see the vitality in expressing themselves but can add confidence in other areas of their education.
In return this will help the art community see the new era in art from the minds of our youth!

Visiting dates from the students are listed as following.

March 14 (Wednesday)
March 21 (Wednesday)
March 27 (Tuesday)
April 4 (Wednesday)
April 11 (Wednesday)
April 19 (Thursday)
May 2 (Wednesday)

Thursday, March 1, 2007


This painting was inspired by a friend of mine from the country side. Her family was moving to a big city and wanted a painting that reminded them of their home. We went to the country side to see how I could capture these memories.
I did one painting about them and then another one about her. She grew up in the country side. It was a stunning time I had with her.
The name "Swing" comes from the swinging she was doing when she was telling me of her country childhood memories. As I was listening to her I was looking at her and seeing her as a butterfly, bird, dandelion and more generally an important component in this universe.
A challenging part of this painting was creating the motion-like-curve of the swing as I was combining the 3 dimensional ideas into one. I took it!
One of the funniest things was, when I was doing this painting I observed not the painting itself but my color palette. I had an unusual amount of fun mixing the colors. In Edvard Munch's painting "Scream" . He made the echo of the women's scream have a unique relationship with her background which is defined by sound and figure. For some reason I was thinking about him and how it relates to my painting. It made me chuckle because in my painting there was a similar relationship like that which is defined by Bird and Butterfly.
This painting was done by the end of 2005 and in a collection in Mitchell.