Vangelis Pliarides
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  1. Sensitivity magnifies the pain that we have; sensibility leads to more creativity, so very often the most creative people also have the most pain, which is why so many creative people escape from their pain through all kinds of dysfunctions like addictions or overworking themselves. There is a link between creativity and sensibility as well as sensibility and suffering at the same time. What is your view on that?

I think that creativity is our need to fill our internal emptiness, to escape numerous times from reality or to react to things that make us sensitive. The artist is a being that suffers and creativity is the only way out. When he or she finds peace and serenity within themselves and the world, then there is no need to make art.

 

  1. Could you describe what your painting is about? Is it about pain, struggle and difficult love?

It is all of the above. I think it touches me to see people suffer from falling in love, and the troubles and difficulties of life. My work talks about people who fate has thrown to the sideline. I can see a greatness in these people when they fight against it all. Views, prejudices, old age, being overweight, sickness, rejection. My heroes are the losers and the outcasts of this society.

 

  1. What does it mean to “perform” in your opinion? They say that to perform is to put on a show meaning that you are a successful artist, painter, as well as you have a successful career, performing at a high level, but what is inside you that is not often seen by others? What is it that inspires you to be a painter?

What drove me to become an artist is the indescribable feeling I experience while painting. It is addictive. I don’t think it is different from the addiction one might have for money, drugs, sex, food or anything else.

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  1. Do you think that people who perform well are actually deeply troubled inside? Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley were high-performing people and even from themselves they hid their own suffering.

Do you think that artists should deliberately suffer to perform their best in the art world?

I think that by creating art, it suggests that something is not going well inside you. If everything is perfect, I don’t see any reason to make art.

 

  1. You paint on paper. Your recent solo exhibition in New York at Christine Park Gallery contains works on paper. How did you decide on what to show in this exhibition? Is it just an introduction for your oil paintings?

They are watercolors on paper that are done during my travels. I would say it comprises 90% of my work. The idea is captured and showcased there. And some of these may be transferred to large canvases later in the studio but I try to carry the aura of the original work. I don’t know if I manage to do so and to what degree. On the other hand, this exhibition is also an introduction to a future exhibition with oil paintings.

 

  1. Could you talk about the painting techniques you use? What makes it different from other watercolors and oil paintings?

I work on handmade cotton paper which allows me to apply many layers of watercolor. In a sense, I approach watercolor as I do with oils, mainly at its last stages. I also work oil like watercolor. I think both of these approaches affect each other.

 

  1. You graduated from Royal College of Art in London. How do you think that influenced your work? Would you be the same painter if you wouldn’t have graduated from RCA?

RCA in the 90s was the right spot to be as a painter. I feel lucky to have studied there for three years among many talented peers. We also had exceptional professors and visitor professors. I don’t think I would be the artist that I am if I hadn’t studied there. I thank them with all my heart.

 

  1. How has the economic situation in Greece influenced your work? How do you deal with the situation in Greece? Is it an additional motivator for you to the push boundaries of your work?

The crisis in Greece was first cultural and then financial. It has deeply affected me as well as every citizen of the country. I think that everyone has perceived that the only thing left is hard work. I am willing to do what I can.

 

  1. What is happiness in your opinion?

Happiness in Greek, eudaemonia, means “blessedness” and is not associated with the extreme of joy or achievement but rather, with the capacity to maintain a calm disposition no matter what. How does it reflect in your life and painting?

Happiness is the feeling that you have created something and haven’t wasted your time in meaningless things. Mainly that you have tried to make it worthwhile. Everyone has the obligation, besides the right to enjoy a comfortable and exciting life full of motivation, to create something.

 

  1. What are the figures in your paintings?

As I’ve mentioned before they are people that suffer. I like to observe life, and one of the reasons that I travel is because it makes me feel as if I am in the front, sitting and watching an incredible performance.

 

  1. What is contemporary art?

I think whatever touches you and makes you have  strong feelings is good contemporary art. On the other hand, it might be only contemporary and not necessarily good art.

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  1. What would you change in the art world?

This is an interesting question. I would like more meritocracy. I wouldn’t like to see artists kissing asses, and instead would like  to see more exhibitions curated by artists;  to see Schools of Fine Arts where things could be spoken by their names and tutors would not be afraid that they might be fired.

 

  1. How do you feel about your work being exhibited internationally?

I feel very good about it. I feel I am a citizen of the world and this world is the physical environment for my work to be seen.

 

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