So I found myself back in Athens, but I had already done the ancient ruins, complete with the obligatory Parthenon tourist shots (no selfies for me, thank you!). Here’s a funny story: back in the 60s, the Greek National Tourism Organization thought it would be a great idea to invite Hollywood celebrities to pose at different archaeological sites in order to promote the country. So instead of the Parthenon taking center stage, it was Yul Brynner, Claudia Cardinale and Elizabeth Taylor! This unheard-of concept of importing Hollywood lifestyle to elevate local culture, marked the beginning of celebrity-mania in Greece and hasn’t ceased ever since.
Looking through these shots, reprinted on silver scrap leather by visual artist Dimitrios Antonitsis for his “Lost & Found - Soul Substitutes ΙI” show, revealed a different side of Athens I’d never imagined - not even in my wildest dreams! We met up at St. Irinis Square for an intimate tour of the city through the eyes of an artist. This tiny little square, now milling with hipster crowds, was the location of his original studio that proved a little too popular for his own good. “Friends were always dropping by for coffee!” he admits. Plus, it was virtually impossible to transport larger works between the studio and the designated gallery space, what with St. Irinis Square located in the heat of the downtown shopping district, with guaranteed traffic 24/7. I asked him if he’d mind walking all the way to his new work space, in noticeably more urban Kypseli. Not because I needed the exercise, but because I was dead set on experiencing a set of very different artists in their natural habitat.
Graphic design duo Blaqk (Greg Papagrigoriou and Chris Tzaferos) dabble at monochromatic street art that’s oddly reminiscent of calligraphy. Endlessly enamoured with typography, they’ve taken to the streets, looking for natural textures for their unique brand of geometry. The beautifully obscure language they’ve used to adorn some very unexpected nooks & crannies was quite the revelation. Suddenly, peeling back the artful layers of the city felt like an urgency. “Athens is almost bipolar and that’s why I love it,” explained Antonitsis back at his Kypseli studio, while I was nosing around his work. “I love working in the midst of this chaotic neighborhood, but at the same time it feels almost isolated and quiet. Plus, nearby St. George Square has the best souvlaki in town!”
Courtesy The Breeder Gallery
Take Me There
Fill in the form: