In the last year, besides the unfortunate events around us and maybe within us, I had the luck to be given the space to explore more of my working process as an artist. Actually, being given that space helped me identify myself as an artist shamelessly, without feeling that I insult someone, that I should be doing more than what I do in order to call myself an artist and permit myself to act and think as one.
This process is personal and ongoing like the odyssey I saw in this painting while reflecting on my own situation. I think it really has its roots in my society in which I was raised which gave little if no space and importance to the development of the creative part of our brain. And I mostly refer to the educational system of Greece, where in schools creativity is not considered as a need but as luxury, and together with this luxury comes gilt if you are the privileged one to enjoy that in your life.
But creativity is part of the human condition, is part of the human brain and has always been manifested in several ways. When I was 25 years old I realized that my body wad reacting to the lack of creative expression in my life. All I knew to present from myself was the intellect, my ideas and my speech which were taking the form of battling and aggressive debates.
Why was this happening to me? At that time I started intuitively expressing myself with other ways and my goal was not to talk so much, which was really hard. I started meditative embroidery , filmmaking and self documenting, drawing improvisation, free associational reading (linking different books and jumping intuitively from one to the other), movement improvisation (at that time I had started with aerial movement improvisation and later I introduced more Somatic practices into my research and exploration). Today, I start to realize this artistic journey that has changed my thinking and the was I see the world. In fact I believe that the way I see the world has not changed but what has actually changed is the way I talk about the world, about life and about my position in the whole picture. What I began to understand in the last year, during this pandemic, and the time I took to determinedly understand how I am and what my work is about, is that the way I work is actually the opposite of what I thought it should be. I thought and probably learnt at some point, that the way to create is the following:
First, you read about something or you think about something, define why you want to work on that and then let the work start. When I studied Architecture, this was the way to go. First you are given the plan of the area you have to work on, you get all the measurements, collect information about the history of the place and then start working on it. For me, this was my biggest trap!!! It took me 8 year to change this working process that was blocking my thinking and acting. Through improvisation, I understood that we can actually ACT with our bodies before we actually talk with our mouth or before we realize our thoughts. And so started the reverse process for me. Instead of first finding the narrative and then do the work, I first do the work and then I read my own thought on it. I reflect myself on my DOING, on my ACTING. This is a much more productive and liberating way for me. The body comes first and is part of the creative process at all times giving me the feeling that my work is more complete.
This painting happened in the same way. In April 2020, while being in lockdown in Linz, Austria, I gave myself more time to work with improvisation. Most of the time, especially when it comes to drawing improvisation, I prefer to work with music and enter a certain state of rhythmical concentration that the sound is providing to me. Then I use the surfaces to let the hand talk my not deciding what to draw but simply following an impulse and a line pattern. On this painting I started with some spatula work, to prepare my surface texture and then i used the oil paste to start the lines. I worked with Nils Frahm as a soundscape and let things appear.
At some point I finish with the lines, this is also an intuitive part, I just feel that there's nothing more to do in that moment and I learnt to trust that feeling and stop. Then I take time to look at the painting and start imagining form the pop up. I worked with black color to fill gaps and let the form appear.
The painting was half completed when I left Linz to go back to Greece for the Summer.
LAST PART (FOR NOW)
Today, almost one year later, I am back in Linz for another Lockdown. It's been two months that I am here and I was passing by this half-finished painting many times per day, almost not looking at it. Quite a few times I felt that I should start it again and felt bad that I had not finished it. A friend of mine even said: "it looks finished to me!". Then I understood that the "UNFINISHED" is a personal matter. People could see it as finished but to me it had some more to add to the story. One day I decided to immerse myself into the painting again and see what will happen. I discovered ODYSSEY: all started with the "trireme", the galley of Odysseus, with which he traveled from the Trojan War back to Ithaca. Then I assumed Odysseus must be somewhere around. A face which I saw as my own face is in the middle and then come on Cyclops with helmet and a Chick, all part of Odyseus' crew. And so, the Unfinished Odyssey was born, for which I am in the process of thinking the story. I believe it will be a rewinded story.
Thanks for reading!!!
Me & the lovely Cyclops
The Cyclops and the Chick