«I work freely and my gestures are straight on the canvas, applying multiple layers of colors and masking material that I scrape off at the end.»

Yorgos Stamkopoulos

Lives and works between Athens and Berlin.

 

Tell us a little about yourself. How did your artistic career begin?

My dad is a housepainter and I was helping him during summer breaks, while I was in elementary school. I was fascinated when he was covering the walls with new colors. He was creating funny shapes or scribbles to amuse me. One day, I guess I was too quiet, so he walked into my room and he found out that I wasn’t using a sketchbook or anything similar. Instead, I had painted my whole room with my crayons and pencils. Both, he and my mom were starting laughing. Years later, I was facing a similar situation where I wasn’t able to read for my final exams in high school as my Latin book had become my sketchbook. I was deep into the graffiti culture then and it was clear to me that I wanted to study fine arts.

I would like to know more about your work. How does your new picture start? Do you use sketches?

I work freely and my gestures are straight on the canvas, applying multiple layers of colors and masking material that I scrape off at the end. By the word “end” I mean the non-existence of canvas surface. I rarely predefine any gesture or color. I do not use sketches as a reference to start my work. I do sketches mainly as an exercise to gestural forms and color studies that might work as a starting point to a painting.

How do you feel the moment that the picture is complete?

I have to say it’s the most exciting moment as it is when I remove everything from the surface and I can finally see the work as a unit. I do not alter or rework it. I let the work rest in the studio for an extended period of time. I need to spend time with it, whilst anticipating its significance and true nature and then decide if it is ready to leave the studio and start its journey.

Could you tell us about your studio? How much time do you spend there?

Well, since July I have a nice ground floor studio, with a huge yard, not further than 5 minutes’ walk from my place. It is rather convenient so I am there on a daily basis, mostly doing two shifts a day. I head there in the morning and I work for 3-4 hours. I take an extended lunch break, meet a friend for a late coffee or an early beer and then I back again for a two-hour shift in the evening.

Is there something that inspires you most in your work?

Mainly music and nature. I find abstract forms and altered color combinations somehow on both of them.

What about your plans for this year? Have you already planned any exhibitions?

I am working on two projects at the moment. I am invited by the Frankfurt am Main project space in Berlin to do their last exhibition that will take place in June. It is a project space with an intriguing program but unfortunately, it has to close due to gentrification. After that, I have to set sail for the upcoming solo exhibition at Nathalie Halgand gallery in Vienna that will take place in autumn 2018.

Your thoughts that you want to share with our readers.

Trust only yourself and the first four Black Sabbath albums.

Photos by: Gabriel Braun, Joachim Schulz

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