Taking care of nature and looking after gardens are often mentioned with your work. Are you a gardener?
No. I reference the life and routine of gardeners in a group of works. The gardening process seems to be somewhere close to the process of life sometimes. And this was a starting point of thought, which developed into a painting concept.
On average, how long do you spend on a piece?
Usually it takes about one month if everything goes well, but a painting may be re-worked on after a while if necessary.
How important to you is selling your work for you to make more work?
All artists are always making new work, regardless. Exhibiting is important, because it is the only way that your work can relate to other people. When a painting is acquired by a collector, it’s a way to know it’s appreciated, it’s a great way to support the practice of an emerging artist, and it’s equally positive for the artwork itself, as in this way it takes an independent course.
What’s more satisfying, the process or the final product?
The practice of painting most of the times consists of several intervals of process and result, making and viewing, until it stops, and you have a final product. Sometimes a final product is still work in progress, and it’s just a matter of judgement, whether it should stop or not. The satisfaction is somewhere in there definitely, but you can’t say really.
How important is the title of a piece?
The title is part of a piece, so its purpose is not to describe it. It’s a word or phrase, which adds itself to the image, works independently and is a different piece of information that the viewer may consider.
What do you think the classical references add to the work?
References to the history of painting, in particular, are an inherent part of the visual language of these works, rather than an addition. It’s their structure in a sense.
‘The human mark and the passing of time’ was in a past press release. Is one of your objectives to make the viewer more environmentally aware? Is this something you feel strongly about?
Environmental issues or ecology are not directly within the content of the work. I do support the idea of taking care of nature of course, but it’s not expressed through these paintings that way. When they refer to the human mark, it is more about the human agony to leave humanity’s mark on time and life. It is expressed through architecture in this case, which is the most permanent transfiguration of a landscape, that alters its identity and transforms it into a place. It’s not seen in a negative or positive way.
Do you see the large figures as alive looking down on the caretakers or as some kind of fossilized monuments covered in foliage?
This is an interesting question that someone might think about, when looking at one of these paintings. Different questions and assumptions of this kind come to mind, when looking at painting in general, and that’s what painting does, hopefully. But I wouldn’t want to try and interpret, or even demystify it. I think it would take away a lot of its substance.
Do you imagine sounds or movements taking place in the scenes that help you to create a narrative?
These locations usually seem to be quiet and still. But it sounds like a good idea to think of sound or movement in some cases.
Green is a color almost always used in your work. Could you see the work taking place in other environments? Underwater/coral type scenery perhaps?
At the moment it is very tied to the landscape painting tradition of Europe. This is such a strong element and influence.
What’s the one thing you would save from your studio if it was about to be destroyed?
I can’t think of something. But I’d certainly try to save the art.
How do you find new challenges in your work?
Like with most artists, this is a very creative, personal and complicated part of the work. And only a while after you think you might have resolved it, you realize it’s still not resolved.
What is the biggest distraction in your studio?
I try to minimize visual distractions as much as I can. I keep walls white and clean, and I try not to have several paintings hanging. The only thing on the wall is the painting I’m working on at a given moment.
If time and money were not an issue, what scale and medium would you use and what would you make?
For now, based on my current concerns, not much would change really. The size and medium of the paintings is a conscious decision. There is a kind of intimacy with small scale. Most of my favorite paintings at certain museums happen to be small scale and made with oil as well, and these have become my current research material. I also find a sense of condensed quality in these museum paintings, that is fascinating, and I am always happy to experience this when I find it.
Vasilis Avramidis’ paintings will be on show in The Art Circus’ first group show ‘The Last Man’ in collaboration with the James Freeman Gallery Opening on the Thursday 3 July, 6:30 – 8:30 and the continues till the 2nd August 2014.