INTERVIEW: ARISTEA PANAGIOTAKOPOULOU | ITSLIQUID

INTERVIEW: ARISTEA PANAGIOTAKOPOULOU

Interviews | May 12, 2022 |

aristea_panagiotakopoulou
Image courtesy of Aristea Panagiotakopoulou

Interview: Aristea Panagiotakopoulou
Luca Curci
talks with Aristea Panagiotakopoulou during CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022 and ANIMA MUNDI 2022 – CONSCIOUSNESS, at Palazzo Bembo – Venice Grand Canal.

“I am Aristea Panagiotakopoulou, a multi-disciplinary artist, expressing myself through different media: Photography, Visual Art, Dance, and Writing. I was born in Greece, where I am currently based, but have also lived in Boston Massachusetts. My work has been exhibited internationally, in galleries, Cultural Centres, and Art Fairs such as the Armory Art Week, the Swiss Art Expo, Art Basel Miami, and ITSLIQUID Canvas Festival in Venice along with collateral exhibitions in my home country. I have participated in various dance projects, such as the project Gala by the French choreographer Jerome Bell at Onassis Cultural Center (Athens, 2017). My work has received an honorary distinction in the Street Photography category of the Lucie Foundation’s International Photography Awards (May 2019), one of the most prestigious photographic contests worldwide. An artwork of mine is part of the permanent Contemporary Art Collection of the Malevizion Municipal Gallery in Heraklion, Crete since 2020, after the exhibition “Aquatic environment”. Underwater photos of mine were in Katerina’s Christofilidou broadcasting about the environment on ERT 1 the Greek National tv channel, in November 2021, I am currently working on three upcoming exhibitions, one in Venice during the 59th Venice Biennale and later in Rome and during August 2022 at the Greek island of Andros. My goal is to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through my art. My writing activity as an Art & Culture Editor in ArtViews.gr and a Personal Development blogger in EarthToHeavenTips.com -a website I built and run myself- as well as my long term employment in the Petroleum industry, have given me the opportunity to expand my artistic perspective, through the contact with multi-national, diverse cultures and individuals”.

aristea_panagiotakopoulou
Image courtesy of Aristea Panagiotakopoulou

Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Aristea Panagiotakopoulou
– Art is life itself, the way we perceive reality, ourselves, and others and then express it through our artworks. Without art, there is no life. Nature is a piece of art. The interconnection between nature and living beings is art.

LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
AP
– My studies are in Dance, Sociology, Business Administration and Human Resource Management, and European Industrial Relations. I work in the financial sector of the petroleum industry. Really can’t single one experience out, so I would say traveling and everything that includes in terms of meeting different people with different cultural backgrounds, different natural environments than the one I am used to living in, as for example in Africa, observing nature and observing people around me are the main influences on my work. Experiencing time in the water in different places sea, rivers, and lakes, in different parts of the world and the pictures I see are major influences as well as sources of inspiration. My goal as an artist is to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through my artworks and I appreciate the fact that ITSLIQUID supports some of the most important non-profit organizations, like UNFCCC – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, SSCS – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, One Tree Planted, The Ocean CleanUp and Plastic Oceans, with the goal to increase public awareness about environmental issues which coincides with my goal as an artist many years now, long before it became a trend.

aristea_panagiotakopoulou
Image courtesy of Aristea Panagiotakopoulou

LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
AP
– In everyday life, in my travels, and especially when I immerse myself in the water. In the aquatic environment, when becoming one with nature I see pictures I want to capture so that I will be able to transfer to the viewer the bliss I feel when I am in the water. This way I aim to motivate everyone to preserve this precious, gorgeous, natural environment of our planet. I opt to capture the beauty and ask for its preservation, not in the narrow sense. I believe in what researchers in prominent institutions have discovered and that is, that our mental and physical health are interconnected with a healthy natural environment. Without a healthy nature, there are no healthy living beings. Nature supports us. Another one of my thematics elaborates on capturing parts of buildings and giving their geometrical forms to the viewer. Also portraits and street photography interest and inspire me a lot. Wherever I find myself I see a picture.

aristea_panagiotakopoulou
Image courtesy of Aristea Panagiotakopoulou

LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
AP
– In the street photography section, it is to be able to catch the moment and not lose it. Ιn street photography I see something worth capturing everywhere I find myself. The underwater thematic has to do with attracting and then relaxing the schools of fish so that they will let me photograph them. Challenging is also finding myself in nice clean waters, that is sea, rivers, and lakes where I will be able to capture the light in the water as well as leaves and flowers that might be floating there, creating colorful, bright images. Color is a very important element for me when creating artwork and being able to depict it as much vivid as possible in my artworks in order to be able to offer it to the viewers. Another mental challenge is proving myself wrong and sometimes others when my ability to bring into life an artistic project I have in mind, is questioned.

aristea_panagiotakopoulou
Image courtesy of Aristea Panagiotakopoulou

LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
AP
– It certainly changed in many ways. Underwater photography for example is a recent addition. I love the sea and generally the water. I enjoy swimming all year long and I always aspire to transfer to the viewer all the amazing colors I see when in the water and with my artworks in their spaces and places I aspire to wrap them in the liquid space and its colors and relax them. All of them tell me that when they want to relax they look at the picture they have on their desk or hanging on the wall and this way they travel somewhere else. I started taking photos when I was thirteen years old and I was always feeling the need to capture the moment still today I feel the same. At the time this was very difficult and I was dreaming of being able to have a device on my hands that would take photos easily and quickly so that I would not lose the moment. This was sounding weird to people’s ears at the time since mobile phones were not part of our lives yet. I knew for sure then, that I would never be able to capture certain moments unless I had a device like that in my hand. The proof came many years later when one such photo was awarded an honorable mention by the Lucie Foundation, when mobile devices made this easy, as they are handy, and you can catch immediately what you see. This way, street photography came into my life. I am pro to unconventional approaches to issues and pro to out-of-the-box thinking. Yoshihisa Maitani the legendary lens and camera designer of Olympus used to say “I believe there are two barriers: the technology barrier and the barrier of accepted wisdom. You can’t achieve anything until you break through both of these barriers.” One of the mental challenges I think is to believe in what you think is possible, when no one else does and brake the barrier in due time… Later the underwater cameras gave me the opportunity to share the beauty of the oceans, the lakes, and the rivers. Also, traditional cameras became swifter, lighter, and easier to handle therefore enabling photographers to do more, better, quicker, and easier. Here I will quote again Yoshihisa Maitani who used to say “ If you don’t have a camera, you can’t take photographs…with a camera you can carry with you everywhere, you’ll never miss that once-in-a-lifetime moment again.”

Aristea Panagiotakopoulou 006
Image courtesy of Aristea Panagiotakopoulou

LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
AP
– Plato the ancient Greek philosopher in “Timaeus” dialogues elaborates on the formation of the universe and explains its impressive order and beauty, its completeness as it includes within itself all the species of living things as its parts as well as the soul and its position in the creation. All this is relevant to the idea behind the Anima Mundi Festival. Our natural environment the one we are destroying is interconnected with our existence, we, all the living beings, are interconnected as we interact constantly between us as well as with the environment. Energy is constantly exchanged. Living beings recharge physically and emotionally through the nature that surrounds them. The quality of the air we breathe, the beauty we see, and the sense we have when in the water, or in a forest elevates our senses, and our mood and enhances our thinking process. It’s a huge battery for all living species. This battery is self-charged despite the fact that humans are only depleting it. For many years now my concern about the preservation of our natural environment guided me to capture the beauty I see when in the water or elsewhere, in an attempt to call the viewers to preserve it, for themselves as well as for the generations to come.

aristea_panagiotakopoulou
Image courtesy of Aristea Panagiotakopoulou

LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
AP
– The artworks presented in the festival were created as prints for the festival with underwater photos taken on the Greek island of Kythera during the summer. They are prints processed with liquid glass.

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
AP
– It is a high-end international platform with a presence in some of the hottest cultural cities and events globally. I am impressed not only by the broad range and the quality of the activity and the events and exhibitions of the platform but also by the philosophy behind it as for example the concept of liquidity on which the Greek philosopher Heraclitus elaborated.

aristea_panagiotakopoulou
Image courtesy of Aristea Panagiotakopoulou

LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
AP
– Impressive in an amazing place in one of the jewel cities of the world.

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
AP
– How can not, a platform that interconnects art, architecture, fashion, and design has 250.000 qualified subscribers while organizing events and exhibitions in the most neuralgic places globally. The initial idea itself is avant-garde, presenting great opportunities for exposure to the participating artists.

aristea_panagiotakopoulou
Image courtesy of Aristea Panagiotakopoulou
aristea_panagiotakopoulou
Image courtesy of Aristea Panagiotakopoulou

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