Anyone who has frequented Papazian Tailoring knows the owner Greg Papazian and his work ethic, attitude, and abilities. Tailoring enables Greg to use his creativity to recreate a piece of clothing into its new life.
He can look at an article of clothing and instantly deconstruct, then reconstruct it in his mind, knowing what the final product will look like – knowing what is and isn’t possible. His grandfather was a tailor, as was his father. After searching for a career that would enable his creative juices to flourish, he knew continuing the family legacy was the best path at that juncture in his young life.
Papazian has been the go-to tailor in Bedford for more than 20 years, meticulously and enthusiastically handling whatever project comes his way. Over time, he began experimenting with sketching and painting to develop more of his creative side, which quickly grew into the realization that there was a responsibility to be found in his abilities.
There was clearly a joy to create, but the true joy was in how he could use those creations to make a difference. Just like his ability to reconstruct articles of clothing, his artwork contains layer upon layer of symbols to produce its new meaning.
With the incredible support and encouragement of his wife, he pursued this newfound passion by attending art school. He worked full time at his day job, using what few hours he had left in each day to attending school and developing his craft, all while being a husband and dad.
Being the oldest in his class felt intimidating; however, he soon realized he had as much to give as he had to learn, pushing and stretching the boundaries. When the assignment asked for three drawings, he created six. When a story needed to be told, classmates turned in their storyboards while Greg presented his on a continuous roll that wrapped across the classroom walls.
His work ethic, passion, and genuine humbleness pulled his classmates to want to exceed, too.
Never has the saying “If I can just help one person,” held more truth than coming from his lips. His goal wasn’t to show off but to teach that no matter what you are working towards, you need to present your highest and best self.
Greg’s Armenian ancestors fled ethnic purging during the Ottoman Empire, which, he emphatically wants us all to note, is currently occurring again. His ancestors gave up all they had to flee their situation and begin new lives. While challenges such as this could seem insurmountable to many, his family used those challenges to better themselves and, in turn, the futures of their children. This ability to take a challenge, deconstruct it, and turn it into an opportunity continues to guide Papazian today.
The goal of ethnic purging is to eradicate entire cultures. Although the world often turns a blind eye and Papazian does not have the ability to stop these atrocities, what he can do is use his art to help keep these cultures from entirely disappearing. He has made it his mission to recreate the stories and myths of disappearing tribes and communities, turning his storytelling into books and videos, enabling those histories to live on.
Using the pseudo name GP Vahan, he tells stories often using mythical creatures to convey a fable, a moral, a piece of cultural history. The detail in his artistry is mind boggling. The research, storyboards, the artwork and interwoven symbolism, visual effects, music, voiceovers….are utilized to turn his art into a video, often taking more than three months to create a five-minute story.
Many of these stories may be the only way for generations to know the cultures that existed. His hope is to help people learn from these stories and keep genocidal history from repeating itself.
For decades, Papazian Tailoring was in the center of town, next to the UPS store, before he recently moved across town. Although on paper the original location looked to be prime real estate, the area was loud with vehicles, extremely difficult to navigate and park, and the interior space was dark and small. His new shop is bright, sun-filled, and accommodates both his tailoring and art businesses.
Papazian is thrilled to have nature views from his expansive windows which include trees, grass, birds, and all sorts of wildlife – a far cry from the “wildlife” of The Great Road. Greg loves to share and discuss his work and can be found at 165 Middlesex Turnpike.
People can follow Greg on Facebook at Papazian Tailoring & Alterations. His page provides general information and photos of what he is working on, including repairing a stuffed animal, sewing on merit badges, costumes, prom dresses…the bigger the challenge the happier he is!
To learn more about “GP Vahan/Mythology and Beyond,” Papazian has podcasts and videos on YouTube as well as Bedford TV, with his latest video delving into mythology and his creative process. The link is https://www.youtube.com/@gpvahan.