Interview, Photo: Nikos Zappas
It’s all hard work
The portrait has always appeared to me as a landscape through which I can wander and explore. The pencil backgrounds are extensions to this landscape and allow me to wander further.
Following your work over the last few years we see a distinct and repetitive use of the portrait and a common relationship between the white background and pencil drawing. What is the inspiration or starting point for this chemical reaction?
The portrait has always appeared to me as a landscape through which I can wander and explore. The pencil backgrounds are extensions to this landscape and allow me to wander further. Using this combination of elements, I can explore what is important to me, the human condition, identity and what it means to be me. I hope others find a similar use with them.
You work in your studio which is in the beautiful village of Lefkes on Paros where somebody can visit you and view your work. In September the visitors of the island return to their origins and you continue to work and live there. Tell us a little about this experience.
During the summer months I like to have a welcoming studio for those who are interested. I enjoy the opportunity to meet people and to discuss my work and we often stay in touch. Although the door is usually open it’s best for anyone wanting to visit the studio to contact me before, to make sure I’m there. In September when everyone slowly starts to leave I melt back into my regular routine a little richer from my summer encounters.
Last winter you exhibited work in Germany and had a big success because all your works were sold at the opening night. What does art require from the artist for this to happen?
Hard work!!! It’s all hard work. And of course, you need to want to be successful. That’s very important. Success not just for art but I think for everything that we do. A will to succeed is important and necessary. The art world is very competitive. For every gallery or exhibition space there are hundreds of artists wanting to be the one selected. It’s not good enough to just make good art. You have to make the best art you can. You have to promote that art. You have to support that art. And then maybe you get the success. Selling out on the first night was a very rewarding experience. I’m working hard for the next one.
This summer you will have an exhibition in the gallery anti on Antiparos. Does it require a different approach to the exhibition in Germany?
Every opportunity to exhibit my work is important to me. Whether in Greece or abroad I always approach an exhibition with the same focus and commitment. I believe my work and its public deserve that from me. For the exhibition in Anti Gallery on Anti Paros I will be exhibiting new works that combine elements from my previous work with new approaches in technique and material. I will also be exhibiting an installation which I am very excited about. The exhibition runs from 28th July until 11th August and I hope the readers of Parola will have the opportunity to visit.
You teach art lessons in your studio and your students have the opportunity to be taught a lot and learn a lot. What do you advise our young readers that wish to start learning about art?
My advice for somebody who wants to start learning art is to find an environment and teacher that they feel comfortable with. I think that’s very important. They need to feel supported and encouraged while also feeling free to explore and develop as individuals. This is how I experienced being taught and it’s the approach I use in my teaching.