I don’t know if it is an advantage or a disadvantage to have talent, to be competent, in many and very different things. When, in 1996, I announced to my parents that I would take the exams to enter the Athens School of Fine Arts my mother replied with disappointment: “Are you going to give up your Ph.D. to become a painter?” The word ‘painter’ sounded then particularly small in her lips as compared with the prospect of an academic career as an engineer at the National Technical University of Athens.
I always loved painting but I didn’t know how I could become a professional artist. I had succeeded in passing the national exams and had entered the National Technical University with distinction. I graduated first in my class and won a scholarship for an M.Sc. in the best London University for engineering studies back then. I started to work as a researcher in European community programs and was travelling a lot in different European countries for meetings with partners and conferences. In parallel, I was giving some lessons as a Ph.D. candidate at the University and some of the students were teasing me because we were very close in age.
Nonetheless, when, in my 25 years of age, I started systematic lessons in painting for adults with a professional artist, Panagiotis Belntekos, I felt that this course had more truth and essence for me than anything else. And I finally had the support I needed to follow it –because the exams for the Athens School of Fine Arts were not at all easy. The two summers I spent preparing for the exams, instead of taking some carefree vacations, were just the beginning of my trials.
In the subsequent years I was following a full educational program at the School of Fine Arts, while in parallel I continued to work and to travel as before. When I graduated as a painter, I had a permanent post at the N.T.U.A., with steady working hours –and my painting was cramped in the hours that were leftover. I felt all the more thirsty for creativity and all the more divided when I wasn’t following it. The M.Sc. that I started at the School of Architecture of N.T.U.A., taking an educational leave, was the first way out to more creativity and nourishment for my spirit. When, after some more years of working in a totally dry post I didn’t manage to take an educational leave to work on my Ph.D. thesis in Art History, it was time for me to quit.
In Greece of 2007 it was not possible to make a living as a new artist, let alone the years of the financial crisis that followed. I started to give painting lessons to groups of children and in parallel I had a scholarship for my Ph.D. thesis on the oeuvre of the Dutch painter Vermeer. My students were and are a school of life for me. The hours that I have spent with them are hours of creativity, inspiration and joy –but also of continuous challenges, because every young soul has its own way of understanding, learning and expression, its own peculiarities, and needs a different way of communication and approach.
Having completed my Ph.D. thesis, I feel the need to share knowledge at a different level also, bringing adults into more profound contact with the world of inspiration and creativity through lectures on the oeuvre of great artists. But also through writing a novel concerning the last years of Vermeer, which I hope will be published soon.
My preoccupation with art has opened a road for me, a way of living that is interwoven with inspiration and creativity, an endless fruitful course. I am grateful for its existence in my life and I want to share this spiritual uplift though my work, in all its different expressions.
part of the interview: "In my path, the combination of different elements has been desicive. The exact sciences, geometry and mathematics, form the foundation that was set by my initial studies as an engineer. It always acts subconsiously, in the constant seeking of equilibrium through the proportions and the internal structure. The freedom of personal motion within this innermost frame brings about its own outcome. The motion has been developed through years of occupation with dancing and music, and meditation contributes in the harmonization of the internal rythm with the externalization of its expression.
Since the period of my stydies at the Athens School of Fine Arts, what remains as an endless target is, no matter how elaborated my artworks may be, to maintain their freshness, the energy and the purity of their original sensation, of their birth."