Friday, December 2, 2011

A Conversation With Christos Tsintsaris

"Last Look at Eden"

ChristosTsintsaris, an artist from Thessaloniki, Greece, creates artwork that embraces lovely vibrant colors and voluptuous forms. It is the colors that I find myself drawn to the most; they seem to be sharing an exciting, beautiful dialogue with my eyes.

You can find Tsintsaris’ artwork at the permanent collection of Thessaloniki's Municipal Gallery and in private art-collections in Greece, U.S.A., Australia & England. Tsintsaris spoke with ArtSeen about his artwork and his artistic inspirations.

Can you tell us a little about your artwork and your artistic process? What type of artistic materials do 
you use?

I grew up in Greece, but early on my parents sent me to an English speaking school and by the age of 16, went off to the US to finish high school and go to college. I guess you could say that I grew up exposed to American pop culture from a young age and that somewhere, emerged between MAD magazine, Star Trek and Garfield, I realized my cultural influences had somewhat departed from my Greek heritage.

My work tends to be anthropocentric and I paint as if to capture a specific moment within a story. It really is a thrill creating a “main character” and I believe it came about from reading too many comic books as a kid! (ha ha). I never realized how cartoonish my work was until people started pointing it out. For me it was something that came naturally because I started off as an illustrator. I still recall drawing my first thought-out comic strip when I was 9 years old! I think it was called “Pumkinheads”. It was such a fun time for me, when other kids would run around the playground, I’d be filling my notebooks with caricatures!

My artwork now, while still carrying the cartoon-like trait, pays closer attention to rendering and expressing emotion through the subjects I paint. It’s more about creating a surreal new world where anything and everything is possible. I draw a lot from combining actual memories with fictitious events and have them interact without restraint when I’m deciding on compositional values in a painting. The mental process of actually creating the composition, sketching it, revising, adding and subtracting elements is somehow done on autopilot. It’s as if my mind switches mode and I feel, think and express myself as a kid again.

I fell in love working with oil on canvas early on. There’s so much potential with this medium and is ideal for rendering a plethora of chromatic variations. Even though I’ve experimented with acrylics, tempera and aquarelles in the past, I’m now solely working with oils.

"Howards Girls"

What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?

I've never really given much thought into why I create art- it kinda finds me. For as long as I can remember, I always had a pencil in my hand and I'd scribble on any surface I could find. Drawing made me feel good and till this day it’s the main reason I paint. I paint to play and have fun. It’s a revitalizing and fun process that I just can’t do without. Art is a state of mind that makes an ordinary world come alive. It allows us to see things from a different perspective and realize the little things that are otherwise overlooked.

I read somewhere that if you can see beauty in everything, you are an artist! And I couldn’t agree more. The world around us is full of intriguing incentives, wonderful ideas and captivating emotions. Inspiration is all around us - I just need to remind myself from time to time to keep my eyes open!

Creating art is also a filtering practice for me. It helps eliminate all the unnecessary junk we’re forced to acknowledge in our everyday life. Whether this is advertising, politics or gossip, there’s way too much information out there now-a-days. Once you start thinking creatively, everything comes to focus and is categorized according to its true and sentimental value. I like to think of the human mind as a great big vault, where I store all my imaginary toys. Creative inspiration is merely the moment I revisit the vault and throw all these toys on the floor to play with. It’s a magic moment where there’s no right or wrong, just play.

What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within in your artwork?

Even though it’s hard for me to describe my ideas and concepts verbally, since the entire creative process is a visual one, I guess there is an attraction to certain common elements such as form and color. However, most of the time ideas arise autonomously and are rarely preplanned.

My upcoming solo exhibition, “The Bizzare & Luminous”, explores the juxtaposition of heterogeneous elements and focuses on tying them together in a way that makes sense, primarily to me. Some paintings have a humorous undertone, others use a caustic approach, but as a whole, the common denominator in all of them is color. There is a set value I work with on my latest pieces that can often be mistaken to acrylics. But in fact they’re all done with oils and they’re chromatic luminosity is a result of working in layers and glazes.

"Cows, Bees and Other Advances"

Are there any artists that inspire you? If so who would they be and why?

I only recently heard about the lowbrow art movement and realized how much my art had in common with other artists’ works. I guess that for a long time I was living in my own creative bubble and had no idea of what other artists were doing or trends out there. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing as it gave room for a personal style to evolve. Now, however, I try to keep up and discover as much art as possible as there are so many great artists around the world, too many to even begin mentioning. I believe that the internet and social media is a great tool for bringing the art community closer together, especially for someone like me who lives in a distant country.

For you, what do you think the role of the artist is?

I guess the role of an artist is simply to be himself, to do great art that comes from within and be independent as possible of frivolous suggestions. Beauty is in everything around us, especially the little things we often tend to overlook. As artists we are responsible for decoding and promoting this beautiful world to the public as we see it. We’re human meat-grinding machines that take in all sorts of visual information and spit out a unique mixture of possibilities. Our role is to be true and genuine to our own and very personal interpretation of the world instead of heeding to restrictions and criteria. Art is freedom. Artists are the messengers of this freedom.

"Tokyo Red"

What do you want viewers to walk away with when they view your artwork?

It is my belief that in Art there’s a distinct triangle of elements: the artist, his work and the audience. Without any one of these elements, art ceases to exist. The audience is the final receptor of the creative message and thus is vital to the artist. There is no use, for example, to text yourself a message, is there? In the same way, an artist visually creates a message, art, to say something to someone else, the audience. What is this message? It all depends on the particular artwork. Each art piece has its own personality and tells its own story as an independent entity.

"The Vegas Experience"

And finally, what advice would you give to other artists?

The ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, said that we learn for as long as we grow older. My advice, therefore, would be for them to seek, learn, discover and inquire. Every experience in life is valuable, whether it is good or bad; it can only enrich our soul and point us to the right direction.

Tsintsaris has an upcoming solo exhibition, “The Bizzare & Luminous”, Dec 17- Jan 7 at
ArtHouseGallery/bar in Thessaloniki, Greece. If you would like to learn more about his artwork visit his website and Facebook page for more details. You can also check out his recent additions to Catapult Art Mag.

All artwork provided by Christos Tsintsaris.


Unknown said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is
also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,

The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.

Shawn Daniell said...

Thank you so much for stopping by ArtSeen!

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