Artwork’s title: Underwater Pool Party
Materials used: Oil colour & oil pastels on canvas
Studio based: Dusseldorf, Germany
Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
The magic of it all starts by preparing the canvas. I believe by making your own canvas, you create from an early stage, a closer and stronger connection with your work. When the surface is ready, I start with some charcoal sketches directly on the canvas. The idea already exists so it’s all about the composition. A composition that can change in the process at any time by moving on and adding the colour. Every element and form it’s exposed to changes. Leaving it “open” in the process, gives me the freedom I need to create without being stuck or fixed on the first idea.
Some elements that I need to highlight on a painting need more time to be worked on and are “well” painted. Some others are made of quicker and more impulsive strokes. Leaving those parts less painted gives the work more space to breathe and also creates many different structures. The maximum process to finish a painting it’s one to two weeks.
How did you come up with this painting idea? Is there any story behind this painting?
I always try to keep it interesting and I always want to bring new, fun elements in my work. A new figure, a new concept or in this case, a new environment. I wanted to bring my characters underwater and see what happens to them as they deform. That was a nice challenge for me because I had to think differently by creating the forms that are now underwater. Things change in that different space – not only the forms but the colours too. I think as artists it’s our duty to always bring new stuff on the table and never get or be comfortable. The story of this painting reflects the general core idea of my work. It shows people hanging together. It’s the important moments we often fail to see or are not aware of…I want them to be appreciated the way they should be. The colour combinations gives the nostalgic feeling of a summery afternoon, setting the mood for a crazy pool party!
What would be the best way to exhibit your work?
I want to create inviting works that make the viewer maybe feel as part of “my world”. I can imagine, the best way to exhibit my work is as one “full-room” installation. Some paintings – with a lot of empty space on the wall, Sculptures and maybe a full-floor painting. (Dream big!!!) Sculptures are also a very important part of the presentation. For me it is the need to bring the viewer one step closer to the world I am presenting. A 3D-Form is more familiar to the eye and the brain. An element that jumps out of a painting and now wants you to walk around it and explore it from all sides.
Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
I really like the paintings of Katherine Bradford at the moment!
I also took a lot of inspiration in the past years from my old professors at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf, Tony Cragg and Andreas Schulze – two very different artists but both with a very interesting way of thinking. If I have to say some more, I will say Aneta Bartos, Peter Doig, Tal R and from the old masters, Otto Dix and Henri Rousseau. They usually come from many different corners of the art world.
What about the place where you work? What’s your studio look like?
I am working in an amazing studio with seven other upcoming young artists, in the centre of Dusseldorf city. Big rooms with high ceilings. These rooms used to be a furniture factory and then a dance studio! Still, the minute you step in, you want to dance!
Some of us are early birds and some are night owls. So the studio is never really crowded. Everyone has his own space and we work very well together, respecting one another’s process and flow. We have our living room with DIY furniture and darts on the wall, and a fully equipped kitchen (with a new bad-ass orange Smeg fridge) were we enjoy our lunch and dinner together. An empty big room next to out working space, gives us the freedom to organize exhibitions and invite other artists to show their work and share their ideas. Our door is always open for visitors (coffee and beer always available). The best part of our Studio for me is the vine at the main entrance that reminds me of my homeland, Cyprus.
Is there any particular message that you wish your viewers can take from this painting?
Dive deeper !
What does your mum think about your art?
My mum was the one who showed me how to draw cats, chickens and donkeys when I was a kid. She is very talented but never got the chance to do something with it. I am not 100% sure about what she thinks about my art but she definitely always supports me. She encourages me to paint more landscapes and animals because that is “what people like to see” she always says. Well, both landscapes and animals are very often parts of my work, so I hope that makes her happy in a way!
Which exhibition did you visit last?
Ai Weiwei at K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen Museum in Duesseldorf. A punch in the stomach.
Which are your plans for the near future?
I am trying to create a network between Germany and Cyprus so I can spend time in both countries. Germany is a huge part of my life and it is the place where my art grew up and still does. Spending time in both countries helps me balance many things in my life and also helps me to develop my concepts in my art. My work combine elements of both cultures. From human behaviors, landscapes and cities to light, colours, shapes and forms.
In any case and scenario, I will keep working hard. What we, artists do, needs 100% concentration and all of our energy.
At the moment I have some very exciting shows and projects coming up and I am really looking forward to it. The game is on!!!
©All images are courtesy of the artist