Kerrie (Kyriaki) Theodorikakos is a fourth generation Greek born outside of her country of origin. She grew up in the heavily populated migrant Greek/Italian suburbs of Coburg and Brunswick, where she completed her primary and tertiary education with the accompaniment of Greek language schooling.

Kerrie is a Bachelor of Fine Arts student at RMIT, however, she already has a few exhibitions on her resume with the latest having been the 2018 Antipodean Palette where she received the People’s Choice Award.

“When I received the People’s Choice Award, I felt absolutely surprised and thrilled,” Kerrie tells Neos Kosmos.

“I didn’t expect to win by a long shot as most of my exhibiting peers where established artists and/or had ample experience exhibiting behind them in comparison to my humble start up. All I could think of in the moment of accepting the award was that my voice was heard, people can and did connect with my work”.

In a sense, it also felt karmic for Kerrie and a reminder that good can prevail, “as my works subject was focusing on the Greece within all of us, its current state, and the prosperous future it can achieve”.

“The sponsorship by Deans Arts Supplies was also thrilling to receive, as it acted as an enabling sign and support for me to continue to make more art,” she explains.

Apart from the audiences connecting with the vibrancy and message of hope that transcends her work, it is also this respect she nurtures for other artists and her humility as a creative that sets her apart.

Within her close-knit community, she learned the importance of respect for all cultures, the importance of education. She still recalls her mother saying, “knowledge is your greatest weapon in life” and there she gained a passionate curiosity for discovering what interconnects all.

“My curiosity grew greater as the years went on into my teens and I began to challenge social norms within my artwork, my ‘education’ and within my identity,” she says.

For two of those years Kerrie also lived in Greece which also contributed to her inquisitive curiosity to discover what constructs her individual identity; “it’s important to know where you came from and to know where you’re going in order to, most importantly, avoid repeating past mistakes, to break that cycle and to prevent history from repeating itself”.

It is knowledge she seeks more than anything and as many opportunities to be immersed in other cultures and the creative product of different artists as she can get. She feels privileged that from a young age, she was able to visit art galleries and theatrical shows and museums with her family becoming curious of the behind the scenes ‘action’, what it took to craft each piece and performance. She was fascinated as to how the messages sent by established artists where so clear and, above all, unique from one another.

“They made me fall in love with the power of the arts, they inspired me to produce my own meaning; paintings, and drawings, dance ensembles, the list is endless,” she muses.

“I continued to pursue my hunger for a voice through the arts throughout my education leading me into my current pursuit.”

It was, however, Kerrie’s short stay in Greece that truly opened her horizons to the arts world; Europe taught her that Australia’s multiculturalism and richness of artistic activity comes from lively lands in which theatrical plays, art exhibition and festivals occur on a daily basis. Her artworks primarily showcase and are inspired by her internal dialogue in relation to her Greek Australian heritage and the social and political issues that it faces.

“It was the puzzle piece to my life that enabled me to understand the importance that history and education had in my life in Australia; […] open to all who wish to reminisce on the past and challenge the future. Whilst living in Greece I also gained my appreciation for my heritage’s history and the tools to challenge my artworks and concept of society respectfully.

“Additionally, my works also challenge social constructs and the power of humanity, particularly on the topic of their path of self-enlightenment. Each individual artwork of mine carries its own style at the moment, as their themes are so diverse yet styles such as Classicism, Pop art, and Surrealism can be seen from the viewers’ first glance.”

The mediums she uses in her current practice fall into two categories: traditional and ‘modern industrial’.

“I predominately use traditional mediums such as oil paint, gold leaf and gouache for my painterly artworks as I try to replicate many traditional art techniques in my work, used and created by great artists before me that I highly value. To create my sculptural work, I use industrial grade materials; resin, cement, metals and traditional mediums, mod rock, plaster and clay.”

Kerrie’s artistic footprint is not limited to creating works of art but also using this rather complex journey into the world of artistic creation as a means to connect with people with disabilities and help them connect to the outside world. She is currently part of the Arts Access Victoria team working alongside a group of creatures, to structure a program to enhance artists’ journey in and around the professional arts scene, especially honouring people who face barriers due to mental illness/health recovery.

“As we speak, we are creating artist care programs that will empower their creativity both personally and professionally, whilst also facilitating them with tools they can use when wanting to overcome possible challenges. I am heavily interested in producing equal art opportunities for all and supporting my Melburnian community and Arts Access has done just that for us all,” she emphasises.

Her dreams for the future are quite solid; she wishes to take small but crucial steps that will solidify her identity as an artist after finishing her Fine Arts degree with the hope to see herself apply her knowledge and energy within a valued organisation in her community.

Being a relentless creative spirit, Kerrie has much to look forward to as part of a project that will introduce her art to a much larger and diverse audience.

“I am very excited to be part of the Melbourne art showcase HORIZON for 2018, in which I will exhibit in October,” she enthuses.

“It is run by RAW Melbourne and its focus is to showcase independent talent to the public. There will be approximately 70 participating artists in fashion, hair and makeup, visual art, photography, performing art and music, for a one-night creative explosion! I couldn’t be more proud!”