10 Questions with Suren Karapetyan

September 25, 2020
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Featured image by Niko Tavernise

A graduate of The School of Visual Arts in New York City, 2nd AC Suren Karapetyan (in transition to becoming a 1st AC) came to the U.S. from Ukraine in 1993, and his career ladder has climbed steadily ever since. Most recently he’s worked on the Apple TV+  series Dickinson (ICG Magazine, January 2020) and Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated The Irishman. Suren was in the middle of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut, Tick, Tick…Boom!, when quarantine began. Immediately, Suren hunkered down in his Brooklyn apartment.. Although deprived of work due to the pandemic, Suren is surrounded by New York’s film industry infrastructure; he’s walking distance to Broadway Stages, Cinemagic, Silvercup East, Cinema World, stage building supply shops, lighting and grip houses, and an ARRI Rentals outpost.

Do you have any examples of being “inventive” to keep those isolating with you (or yourself) engaged and active?
From staying physically fit at home while following a strict training regimen, to writing my band’s next record, it’s been an engaged, active, and healthy period of my life. Must we go back? [Laughs.]

What hobby/skills have you resurrected?
Painting with acrylics, and it’s been ages since I’ve picked up a paintbrush. Starting this pursuit back up has opened up a whole new inspiring world of combining different acrylic applications that traditional schooling never allowed. Dripsticks, aerosol, knives, foam brushes, you name it.

Any chance to improve your cooking skills – biggest success/failure?
Cooking a ton, but my biggest accomplishment would be discovering overnight oats. Late to the game on this one, I know, but oatmeal from catering will forever be a thing of the past for me.

Has your streaming diet been inspiring, scary, weepy, or just pure escapism?
I’m pretty bad at keeping up with the latest shows and movies coming out. Apologies to my fellow film friends. However, yes, I went through The Sopranos catalog and it was the first show in recent memory to rival Seinfeld for me. I also got through Ramy, Tiger King, Alone, Fleabag, and one I can’t recommend enough – People Just Do Nothing.

What music is at the top of your COVID playlist?
I’m always listening to the newest in death metal and black metal. There isn’t a moment in the apartment where music or a podcast isn’t on. I’ve been spinning a lot of Black Curse, Revenge, Archgoat, Mortiferum, Urfaust, and Horna. I’ve also re-discovered a lot of the Southern Rap scene of the mid-’90s, and have had Gangsta Pat, La Chat, Tommy Wright the Third, and Three Six Mafia on repeat.

How many books have you read? What are your favorites and why?
Reading has been such a joy, and I can’t believe how many books I’ve finished in the last six months. I’ve put a real dent into Jon Krakauer’s library of titles, including Into Thin Air, Into the Wild, Under the Banner of Heaven, and Missoula. I’ve also finally got the opportunity to finish A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I’ve ventured into psychology and neuroscience a bit with Oliver Sack’s classic The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Judith Grisel’s Never Enough, and Annaka Harris’ Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind. I’ve finally burnt myself out with all the non-fiction I’ve been reading and started a fictional novel that I can’t recommend enough called The Overstory. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner by Richard Powers.

Have you been taking photographs, either to document or as a creative outlet?
Honestly, no. That’s because most of my photographic study over the past 10 years has been documenting live music – a sub-culture I’m so fond to be a part of. With live performances completely shut down, and the lack of seeing my musical cohorts, my shutter button hasn’t been depressed. It does make me consider where else I can point my lens, but I have yet to have that inspirational moment.

Once the restrictions are lifted what is the first thing you want to do?
Performing a live show or attending one is number one on my list.

What is the one thing you miss most about being on a film/tv set?
I miss the camaraderie, the inside jokes, the hustle, and the paycheck.

How do you think your outlook on life will change post-COVID?
I’m definitely more in touch with survivalism and the continued importance of keeping your immune system sharp and body fine-tuned.

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