Artwork’s Title: Poems on balconies
Material Used: Acrylic, wood, thread
Studio Based: Brussels , Belgium
Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
It usually starts with a small sketch of an idea that I quickly draw on my pocket sketchbook in order not to forget. Then I rework it on the computer to define the form and the proportions of the final composition and afterwards I return to painting by hand with the brushes and the acrylics. It’s a process of an ongoing back and forth between numeric tools and painting, adapting the conception of the piece at each different stage.
My work often consists of bidimensional paintings with a sculptural bas relief quality, heavily inspired by my architecture studies. I like to use various layers and materials, playing with light and shadows and adding depth and spatiality to the narrative scenes represented. Working abstractly, I try to determine the absolute essential elements of each composition eliminating any superfluous information. By recombining and reassembling pieces, like in a collage, I strive for a compositional coherence. It’s an analytical process that remains inextricably linked to emotion, seeking balance and harmony at every stage of the creation.
The title research is also of the same importance as the artwork itself. For me, it is a tool facilitating the understanding and the interpretation of the painting. The idea of the title usually comes while I am making the piece, or after it is finished. It is a way to put into words what I am trying to visually communicate through emotion.
How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?
An “eternal metaphysical summer”.
Could you share with us some insights on your ‘Poems on balconies’, (2022) painting? Is there any particular story behind this new work?
The series Poems on balconies, depicts the state of contemplation in front of a view and was inspired by the common feeling of serenity evoked by this everyday moment in life. Quiet and self-reflective, the familiar becomes intimate in the contemplative space of the balcony scenes depicted.
Balconies in frontal views, pastel colours capturing the light in different moments of the day, and threads representing the thought that runs from inside to the outside, compose the series, while questioning the physical and mental limits of the interior / exterior.
The subject of self-reflectiveness in all its different forms of thinking or over-thinking, daydreaming, or contemplating… recurrent in my previous paintings like “Le penseur”, is approached through this series from a different angle. I painted these landscapes with the intuition that even if there are no human figures depicted, one can still feel the human presence; with the observer becoming part of the piece.
In your bio you point out that your ‘paintings carry the past and are born from the present, blurring the spatio-temporal boundaries between the ancient and the modern, the real and the imaginary”; was this dipole the most motivational force for the creation of your newest works? Are there any other sources of inspiration that trigger you to create a new painting?
For me painting is very personal because it’s a form of escapism. It’s a space of freedom, where everything is possible because I am the one creating the conditions in the existence of the narrative scenes depicted. In painting, different eras in time can coexist; colours can evoke landscapes that seem familiar without being specific; and reality can have an imaginary, surreal dimension. So, anachronisms or combining the element of modernism with that of classism and the feeling of tradition is recurrent in my work.
The source of inspiration is everyday life, what I have experienced, transcribed into painting through imagination with a personal look. Naturally, there are many influences from my Greek origins, the Mediterranean imagery, my architecture studies; in general things that I know or that have triggered a certain sensibility in me. The main subject is the human being and its interaction to its context, creating narrative scenes with a metaphysical atmosphere charged with emotion.
The human figure is often represented as fragments of the classic statuary imagery displaced in different contexts, erasing characteristics of identity. By reworking the figurative subject, this apparent Greekness turns into something more universal, making it easier for anyone to relate.
A very recurrent symbol in my work are the ribbons and threads, often connecting the figurative forms to their context. They visually render perceivable, these things that surround us, yet are invisible, like emotions, ties, time, thoughts, and memories etc…
Do specific artworks have been created by random experiments in your studio or do you usually come up with a particular concept or narrative in the very beginning of your artistic process?
I would say both. There is a thin line of control between the analytical process of creation and intuition. Most of the times I have an idea of the composition or the subject that I want to treat, but the original idea quickly evolves while I am working on it.
My technique of the woodcut pieces that give to the paintings their sculptural bas relief quality require that I draw them on the computer. So, this process presupposes a certain reflection related to the size of the subject compared to the canvas, or its exact form and purpose. However, this technique, also generates for each woodcut piece its negative form. These are elements that I rework with in a more intuitive way, like a collage on 3D that can compose completely new pieces or be reused into non-finished ones.
It has also occurred that some of my latest pieces came out of complete experimentation with new techniques. For example, I did a series of drawings on black paper that was born while I was practicing with the screen printing. At the beginning, I was practicing the process by printing the same mask symbol in different positions of the paper. Afterward this romantic idea of inner teardrops meeting external seascapes came to mind, and this series of drawings was born. All the compositions were created around the same theme according to the random position of the mask on the paper etc.
Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
I really admire artists who have their own distinctive universe and that when I look at their body of work, I get an insight glimpse into their sensibility; like mentally understanding and connecting with the person behind it.
My work is heavily inspired by both modern Greek and western European artists of the 20th century. I am inspired by the geometric abstraction in G. Moralis forms, the technique experimentation in K. Tsoklis work, the linear purity of A. Fassianos, the metaphysical serenity in G. de Chirico’s scenes, the bas relief quality in F. Légerceramics, the poetic imagery of R. Magritte…
Which are your plans for the near future?
Every single time I had a life plan, for my studies or my work, it evolved into a completely different and unexpected direction. Thus, I came to the conclusion that more important than plans are ambitions. Plans imprison you to what should come next, whereas dreams and ambitions are like forces that drive you to what comes next; even without knowing what this is yet. I just want to be active and work on new projects, paint and experiment more, be part of new exhibitions (hopefully in my home-country as well); be open and keeping creating that’s what I want tomorrow to be made of.
All images courtesy of the artist