A.J. Tarzian is the founder and Head Environmental Designer for Anarchitype Productions, a Chicago-based interactive design company. Originally from Skokie, IL, A.J. received his BFA in Scenic Design from DePaul University in Chicago. Most graduates from his department go on to work with the likes of Cirque Du Soleil, work their way up to Broadway or try their luck at making it in the film industry, but when deciding how to put his talent to work, A.J. went a different route. No doubt, A.J. has a lot of respect for conventional theater, and considers it the amalgamation of the high arts, but rather than design sets for the small subset of people that are already into theater, he wanted to bring art to the masses, in bars, at festivals, and underground events.
A.J.’s first forays into interactive art were helping to orchestrate site-specific plays where “the art comes to you”. He and his theater friends would orchestrate storefront or living room shows where there wasn’t a stage to separate the audience from the actors. This was a step in the right direction, but A.J. knew that for the art to have a true impact the audience needed to be participants. This idea, that we are all artists whether we know it or not, spawned A.J.’s first successful enterprise in the realm of interactive art: Soul MasterPeace.