And a redhead
Greek Australian artist Kaliopy talks to Neos Kosmos about creating art by mood, feel and imagination
"I've always been creative," says Kaliopy starting our conversation. From her early days of singing and dancing, Greek Australian artist Kaliopy has picked a new medium to entertain, and is now focusing her energy into her artwork. It may be a hard industry, but one that feeds her creativity and allows her to explore many things from the way she's feeling, to expressing it all on canvass.
A self-taught artist, Kaliopy prefers it that way. She feels free to explore her art and also hone her craft without the strict regiment that comes with study. All her paint strokes are her own, her colours hand-picked and talent on the canvas is there for all to see.
"For me, I've never felt comfortable going to study art because for me I feel that it takes away the fun of expressing yourself," she tells Neos Kosmos.
"I learn being hands on and it's allowed me to express myself and build my technique. And it's fun."
Kaliopy began painting as a by-product from a costume design course where she turned her fashion design sketching into artwork. She creates what she calls her "visual diary" by tapping into her moods, feelings and imagination.
"There are definitely different layers going on there in my work," she explains.
"Sometimes my works have several emotions and expressions, and when I look at something it is like a diary - you know why you were painting it at the time."
Kaliopy admits that there is a story behind each painting, but instead of explaining it for the viewer, she prefers to allow people have their own perception sing true to them, she wants the viewer to analyse her artwork and try to find out why she may have created each piece. But having your heart literally on your sleeve through artwork, you have to wonder how exposing it is for the artist and whether or not she feels vulnerable?
"It's not as daunting as I thought," she admits.
"At the start I thought it was but I do it because I wanted to be an entertainer when I was younger, so I want to entertain on canvass and sometimes you have to bring in raw emotions - trauma, joy, your own experiences - to be able to do that and that may evoke other emotions in some people. They may like it they might not, they might be offended, but that's art. And that's entertainment."
Kaliopy is not one to have labels on her artwork and prefers to stick with modern contemporary artist to describe her style, but says her style is always constantly changing, from abstract figurative work to work embracing feminism and sexuality to the current collection of quirky abstract almost art deco style pieces. By keeping away from rigid labels, Kaliopy is able to explore different ways with her craft and different styles.
When asked if she's ever explored her Hellenism through her art, she says she did once, subconsciously. As a child, Kaliopy said she was fascinated by the Greek coffee cups that would depict scenes of Ancient Greek men and women. She remembers in one of her first collections - as she was being reviewed - many commented on the fact that she used ancient Greek shapes and colours in her art, something that she didn't consciously do. That is something that has fascinated her to no end: the way your subconscious can allow you to create, and what it is able to create if you just let it.
"I usually paint through mood, feeling and imagination so it will process as a picture in my mind first and because there are metaphors involved, the artwork comes out in so many different layers - I am not painting just one feeling," she says.
She adds that she combines fantasy into her artwork as a way to escape reality. She allows her imagination to run off with the artwork, to create a visual escapism for everyone.
And now, Kaliopy is exhibiting her work in a curated exhibition entitled Three Men and a Red Head, with three other internationally renowned artists. Her work will stand alongside that of artists: Otto Boron, Thomas Delohery and Patrick Jennings Brady in a month-long event.
The exhibition will run until 22 July at 69 Smith Street Gallery, 69 Smith Street, Fitzroy Victoria. For more information on Kaliopy visit www.kaliopy.com.au
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