Art Reveal Magazine Interview
How and why started you creating?
Creating or better experimenting is something that I have always been keen on. According to my parents I always had a tendency to make, dismantle and reconstruct objects; usually not the way they were before and definitely not functioning anymore so all valuable items in the house were hidden until my late teens. Even in my early years at school I was left to my own devices to make things in order to be quiet.
However, art was not part of my future aspirations as a child. I studied science and was aiming to become a pilot, but somehow end up in a graphic design course. That and my love for comics ignited my creative explorations. I studied applied arts, graphic & motion graphic design and illustration and worked for advertising companies and video production studios whilst getting involved with local comic publications and events.
But what determined the path I am now following was my relocation to London. I mainly came to London to continue my studies as a motion graphic designer but decided to attend a more general course of Fine Art and combine all the skills I had accumulated over the years towards art and motion graphics. Regardless of how well prepared my plan was, in a way it gracefully failed. It took me a year of fluffing about to realise that my place was more in the studios, working on paintings and installations than in the digital realm.
This state of flux between different means of creation still characterises my present practice; an idea or a theme of a project will determine with what medium I will work.
What is the most challenging part about working interdisciplinary?
The belief that everything that comes to mind is somehow achievable.
Having the flexibility to use more than one medium to realise an idea, for me, works as an accelerator for experimentation that results in inconsistency, unfinished projects and endless improvisation. My practice is somehow a constant learning curve of how things can work and how they definitely don’t. This is not a challenge when working in my own time but becomes one when deadlines are involved.
For most of my work I have the feeling that I could have improved it if I had more time and that after the exhibition/event I will review it and rework it, which is something that almost never happens as I move on to the next project. This leaves me with hundreds of sketchbook pages, post-it notes and scrap paper with scribbles around my studio, many “to be continued” projects and countless lists of To Do things.
Although it feels that I should adapt the name ‘Jack of all trades but master of none’, I wouldn’t change the freedom of expression I feel knowing that I don’t have to translate and restrict any of my ideas to one medium and I enjoy the challenge of learning something new and finding new ways to combine different disciplines.
Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice?
My mother was definitely the person that introduced me to art, as she is very skilled with drawing and crafting but as mentioned before my interest in art derived more from my interest in comics than fine art. Nonetheless I have studied and admired the work of the great masters and more contemporary artists and I keep myself updated with exhibitions and developments in the art scene around the world.
However, the main influence of my work is the binaries that resonate between the self and its role within social environments. Focusing on the increase of isolation of public involvement whilst we interact and communicate with a wider circle of people through online platforms and networks, my work explores and comments on our place within the current socio-political and environmental issues.
Observations, stories and testimonies, personal experiences and global news fuel my work, as I am interested in examining the dynamics that form social relationships, current political and economical affairs and shape our environmental consciousness. My work documents the findings of this examination and aims to construct a platform for discussion and stimulate reflection on current issues.
How would you describe the art scene in your area?
London is well known for its vast and vibrant art scene. Most of the major galleries and museums have free entry, a paradise for art students, and across the city countless contemporary galleries cover almost every niche an art enthusiast can imagine.
The city is flooded with artists and craftsmen who are either featured on commercial mainstream venues and fairs or practice in more alternative settings and form collectives that run experimental and ingenious art projects and festivals. Community projects, public art and art workshops are in the heart of the country’s art programming, which is supported by public funding and aims to involve and engage the wider public.
However, due to the current revision of the government’s budget for the arts and the large amount of artists living in the city, the scene is demanding and sometimes difficult for emerging artists to establish themselves due to the tough completion, where along with a strong portfolio networking is vital.
In addition many artists face difficulties in subsidising their living solely from their practice due to the high living costs of the city. This has resulted in the increase of artists communities, mainly occupying converted warehouses as work/living spaces, and has created dynamic art hubs that support collaborations and bring together creatives from diverse art backgrounds and art industries.
What are your future plans as an artist?
My aim is to continue finding inspiration and new challenges for my practice and accomplish a positive contribution in our cultural heritage.
In the past years I have participated and organised projects internationally, collaborating with artists from around the world. This cultural exchange has an integral role in my work and is something that I am planning to pursue further through art residencies and international programming. Currently I am working towards some projects taking place in London and Greece for the upcoming months and in UK, Turkey and Taiwan for the next year.
For the past two years I have been working on an ongoing project called ‘Tracing my Echo’, which involves an exhibition and a publication that features artists from around the globe. The artists are invited to respond to the theme and the aim of the project is to follow the origins of the artists involved by visiting the home country of each participant artist. In every destination local artist are also invited to become part of the project and their work is included in the next exhibitions and publications. The project so far has visited Greece, Germany and Taiwan with upcoming destinations UK and Turkey and many more countries to follow.
Art education is also an important aspect of my practice, having work as an art tutor for a charity organisation for few years, and is an area that I would like to explore further. One of the main projects I have been invited to organise and participate for next spring is the ‘Painting and beyond’ exhibition, with a series of lectures and workshops in collaboration with the Arts University in Taipei, Taiwan. This project is exploring and juxtaposing the possibilities of what can be classed as painting in contemporary art practice, cross-referencing practices from deferent parts of the world.
There are quite a few more projects that currently are under discussion or still decorating my sketchbook, and for which further details and updates will be available soon on my website.
What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts?
To constantly produce work, experiment with new ideas and avoid procrastination.
For the ones who are part of an art school or thinking of studying art, I would suggest to utilise all the resources available to them from the institution and online platforms that feature new artists and advertise artist opportunities.
To keep updated regarding the art scene, find like minded people to create collectives and collaborations and research galleries/institutions that are in tune with their style of work and approach them with ideas.
It is very important to maintain the integrity of their work rather than fitting in stereotypes and avoid turning their art into an occupation, as this can cause stagnation to their creative process.
The only limitations that apply to art are our own personal restrictions.