Close your eyes. The first thing you see is darkness. Whatever you think or feel, whatever you imagine or dream, streaks across this surface like shooting stars in the night sky. This is the place where your mind's eye wanders in search of the images that shape your internal landscape. Yuroz calls his use of black canvas Stygianism, after the River Styx. In the underworld of Greek Mythology, the ferryman Charon rowed souls across the river's black waters to spiritual rebirth on the other side. So, too, must Yuroz bring the sparks in his interior canvas to a roaring blaze on his exterior one. The inspiration for Yuroz' vision as an artist can be traced back to his experiences as a young man in Soviet Armenia. Born Yuri Gevorgian on March 30, 1956, he dreamed of the artistic freedom that exceeded his grasp. Yuroz distinguished himself as one of the youngest students ever accepted in the esteemed Akop Kodjoyan School of Art. Later he earned a master's degree at the Yerevan University of Art and Architecture. Hounded by the Soviets because of his political views, Yuroz turned to the only work he could find, designing women's fashions. He met a woman named Rose, and by combining their names, they created the label Yuroz. The artist kept the name in homage to their friendship. Finally, Yuroz left Armenia for the United States. Even with a master's degree, he was unable to find work. But to him, the other homeless people in Los Angeles were a gallery of portraits waiting to be painted. Pitied by some, ignored by most, these people were regal survivors in a society which cast them aside like tin cans. Yuroz saw in their haunting eyes a reflection of himself. His early "Hollywood Boulevard" series depicts the homeless as beautiful and elegant despite the squalor around them. Soon Yuroz landed a job building models for an architectural firm by day and slept on the office couch by night. After a few months he had saved enough money to rent his own studio. Since then, Yuroz has become a worldwide influence in the art community. Other artists write to him about his technique. Because there are more Yuroz collectors than Yuroz originals, his company, Stygian Publishing Inc., produces limited-edition serigraphs of his oils, pastels and line drawings. Even Hollywood seeks him out. In 1993, Yuroz was selected as the official artist of the Grammy Awards, which honor outstanding achievement in the recording industry. Most recently he created "The Harlequin's Gift" for Comic Relief. Still, it is Yuroz' passion that forces him to paint, and the subject of his more recent works is, of course, passion. Romantic love; the pleasure of music; a treasured moment, pressed in our minds like a four-leaf clover in a book, which we take out and reminisce over in our private minutes - these are the subjects of Yuroz' mounting body of work. Some people might think that Yuroz has reached his Stygian shore, but he does not forget those on the other side. Perhaps that is one of the reasons he continues to surge forward - to inspire the unimpassioned, to impassion the unromantic, to romanticize what he sees as a marvelous journey through this world's lives, loves and hopes. Only Yuroz can answer that for sure. To ask him, all you have to do is look at his work.