Yuroz was born in Soviet Armenia in 1956. His talent as an artist was recognized very early in his life, and he entered the renowned Akop Kodjoyan School of Art at the age of ten. After graduation from art school, he studied architecture at the Yerevan University of Art and Architecture in the Armenian capital of Yerevan.
As a young adult in Armenia, he gained his reputation as a Master Architect and a talented artist, but his political views began to clash with the Soviet regime in Armenia. He made the decision to seek freedom so he could pursue his career as an artist and live in a country where personal liberty was guaranteed. Yuroz left his country and became a refuge in Eastern Europe. He wanted to live in the United States and married in the hopes of gaining entry. His wife emigrated to the United States but Yuroz was not allowed to emigrate for seven years. He was finally reunited with his wife in the United States, but the marriage ended soon after he arrived. This experience of living with the uncertainty of living as a refuge gave him insight and compassion for others experiencing the same uncertainty.
When Yuroz arrived in Los Angeles, he was homeless and penniless. He was a refuge in the land of opportunity; on the iconic Hollywood Boulevard, he began to draw the portraits of those homeless brethren with whom he shared his living space, using materials discarded and discovered on the streets of Los Angeles. His artistic renderings brought interest in his ability to capture the courage, dignity, and humanity of his fellow man. Financial support for his artistic career materialized and soon he was working in his own studio and on artistic projects such as becoming the official artist for the Suzuki Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon in San Diego which began in 1998.
Yuroz’s experience as a refuge and his respect for humanity continues to be reflected in his artistic works and in his philanthropy. He has donated many major works of art to be auctioned at fundraisers for organizations supporting the arts, The Leukemia Society, and the Central Coast Wine Classic founded by the late Archie McLaren and Larry Shupnick. In 1995 he created the “The Harlequin’s Gift” for Comic Relief, an organization that alerts Americans to the needs of the growing homeless population.
The highlight of his artistic works was commissioned by the United Nations – the five-panel series he unveiled in the year 2000 for the 50th-anniversary stamp honoring refugees worldwide. As Archie McLaren described the paintings, “We can see the grand panorama of Yuroz’s vision where individual and racial differences slide away, and the courage of refugees and humanity as a whole is brought to the surface.” These five paintings toured throughout the world and were ultimately installed in the General Assembly Building in Geneva, Switzerland, in their permanent collection.
Yuroz has generously donated his golden painting of the Lady Holding Two Pomegranates, which is the image that Archie McLaren selected for his own label for his one vintage of Pinot Noir, to the Wine History Project and can be visited in our offices in San Luis Obispo.
David and Judy Breitstein donated three empty bottles with labels designed by Yuroz. One of the labels is based on an original painting, Music in Her Soul, which they own in their art collection.