By: Esra Mahgoub
“Art is the beauty of this world. Stepping aside from politics, religion, and war, art is what people should focus on; not the next iPhone model, or the new Game of Thrones. The development of prominent people has led to a state where art is less appreciated, less relevant. Be one who creates beauty in this world. Create Art”
These are the words of Arundel Senior, Irina Semand, 17. Her true passion for the arts is what brought her to the stage of founding her own art business, Irina Semand & Company. As a first generation citizen to Russian-Armenian immigrants, Irina seized her love for art; and at a mere 14 years old, she showcased her first paintings that introduced her to the business world.
According to Fortune, millennials launch their first business around age 27, instituting more businesses than the preceding boomer generation, and as Generation Z comes along, those born between 1996 and 2010, the trend continues. Many young entrepreneurs devote their years to get on Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, a gathering of today’s successful leading innovators under the age of 30 in the U.S, and while Irina is only 17, she’s well on her way.
As a high school student, Irina uses her aptitude as a stress reliever, away from the exams and college applications awaiting her. Although the mediocre day for Semand includes being an active member of the Armenian Church Community, four honor societies at her school, and spending time at the gym, some days contrast others and become overwhelming.
Aside from her reserved persona, Irina loves experimenting with different mediums of art, reflecting all possibilities of nature, love, and space. With watercolors, oils, and acrylics, she exposes her talent throughout the art realm. Her average art piece takes approximately one to two weeks to complete, from the first pencil sketches to the concluding brush stroke.
“Personally, I feel that my artistic style is very modern and contemporary. I very much enjoy trying out new techniques in most of my pieces. Every artist should have their own style, in my opinion” says Semand.
Irina Semand & Co. ensures fast, safe and reliable service. If a customer is interested in her work, Irina will fulfill the transaction and mail the canvas. With the inclusion of labor and materials, her paintings start at $100. Irina’s first sold canvas titled “Sunset Village” has recently become her most popular painting among clients.
Irina believes to have learned numerous life skills from her business, which others her age wouldn’t have acquired until they reached the workforce. As founder and artist, Irina handles everything there is to run a business, from finances, to customer service. She constantly updates her website with her most recent work, as well as paying domain fees. Contributing an immense amount of effort and passion into all of her endeavors, Irina believes her business will serve as an advantage for her later in life, developing a sense of independence and individual responsibility.
Rachel Heller, a close friend of Semand, has seen her artistic abilities progress since middle school. “Irina has always had an amazing work ethic and a go-getter attitude, so it’s no surprise to me that she’s transitioned into a business woman. [She] knows how to take her skills and use them to her advantage. Her hard work and dedication to everything she puts her heart into assures me that her business will thrive” says Heller.
Throughout the years, Irina has had several achievements in regards to her art. Since the 6th grade, her paintings have been annually displayed at the Westfield Mall gallery in Annapolis, Maryland. In addition, one of her recent pieces titled “Clarity” has been displayed at the Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) art gallery.
On her website, irinasemand.com, the luminescent backgrounds illuminate Irina’s aesthetic as an artist. There, she displays her current art pieces up for sale, testimonials, social media, contact information, and FAQs.
“My family has always been supportive about my talent and business in art. My father was the one who bought me the website. My friends always compliment me on my work, and I always thank them for their support” says Semand.
Irina has taken many art classes at Arundel such as Foundations of Art, and Studio 2D Art: Level I, II, & III, and hopes to continue throughout her college years. Mrs. Rolfsness, art teacher at Arundel, inspired Irina to get involved in the business world.
“Irina’s amazing—she’s self-driven, extremely talented, confident, and not afraid to try new things. I never have to worry about her. She’s willing to push boundaries with anything that’s been given to her. She does her own work, and the work I’ve been giving to her, but she always takes what I give her and runs in directions I never would’ve imagined” says Rolfsness.
Irina is graduating one year early from high school to jumpstart her career and involvement in college. With the help of her business, Semand is hoping to pursue a degree in fine arts with a focus on illustration design. She hopes to expand her business and immersion in art.
“Now more than ever, with the creation of her business, Irina is pushing the boundaries of her skills and seeing where her abilities take her. All I would tell her, is to keep doing what she’s doing; push yourself, challenge yourself, and I know you will go far” says Heller.
Looking into the future, Irina hopes to see herself as a successful, independent business woman, working at a film design company, or architectural firm. In regards to her business, she plans to continuously become invested enough to gain mass commissions; and with hard work and dedication, expose her art to clients worldwide.
“[To all future entrepreneurs,] always be involved and love what you are doing. Never lose interest in something you’re passionate about due to it being hard, or a challenge. Constantly keep moving forward, despite all the negativity that might come your way. Any person who is genuinely passionate about something can rise to the top.”