An interview to Anna Tsalaga.
-Antonis,tell us about your work.
My painting is descriptive. I acquire my themes from every stimulus around me that excites me, stories, a face, a thought. But I'm mostly interested in people. In painting, I can be free from social or personal conventions. It's a self-psychoanalysis. Sometimes delightful, and sometimes tough, I usually start with realistic approaches and end up in a kind of expressionism, surrealism and anything else. That volatility, even in my answer, is painting, for me.
-Can you convey the meaning of painting in one word?
Definitely not. Its relationship with each of us, is different. I gave up labelling what I love, or is important to me, long ago, so that I can protect it from my critical viewpoint. When something bothers me persistently, I intervene and I try to correct it. The biggest profit I have gained is not to hesitate for a moment, to change something in a painting, even after a long time. In my case, it is an exercise of balance and maybe it can be implemented not only in painting.
-What is an artist's journey?
There shouldn't be one. He has to be prepared for the best and the worst, and also be free from selfishness. Through knowledge, which acts as a sieve, he can keep whatever seems useful, and this can help him develop his work. I greatly admire artists whose work clearly shows the consistency of their progress.
-If you turned back time, is there something you would change?
This is a question-thought we often ask ourselves, I think. No, I wouldn't, because, everything has probably contributed, more or less, to the formation of a life. So, the question is: Are you pleased with your life? All the answers are available, I guess.
-Is "beautiful" or "pleasant" what matters in painting?
No, in no way. There are devastatingly beautiful nightmares and intolerably boring beauties. What matters, or part of it, is the thought leading to the activation of other thoughts that unfold other truths on the same subject. Painting is mostly a game of the mind. Craftmanship, aesthetics are essential parts of the puzzle which ultimately motivates and makes people feel. And that is the difficult part, because during this procedure, there is always the danger of entrapping yourself in what others expect of you, and not listening to your intuition and the voices of your soul.
-What is the role of art in the human soul?
It's the food of the soul and the need for expression. What made the cave people carve on the rocks? It's a mystery. Many people feel uncomfortable because they think they somehow have to explain what they are looking at, and that is just a fallacy. It's futile and pointless. It can't be explained, you either love or not. Art gives the opportunity to everyone that clearly sees it, to feel what it means to be truly free. It's like being in love, without an expiration date, though.
-Is there a future for Arts in Greece?
Yes. It's a very difficult time, and the audience is limited but any other answer is unthinkable.
-Taking the crisis into account, where do you see yourself in the future?
I aim at consistency and progress in my work, characteristics I admire, as I said. I hope I'll make some good paintings. That's all.
-Can you name a foreign and a Greek artist of the last decade whose works are special for you?
It's difficult to name just two, I've been touched and enlightened by important and very distinct artists.
-Finally, I would like you to give a title to today's tribute.
"Following the Apache, I may meet you again", a verse of my father, Manolis.