Waves of Inspiration by Greek visual artist Antonios Aspromourgos
His first solo exhibition, ‘‘Collected Memories’’ is taking place at ‘‘Syros - Culture 2023’’, from September 9th to September 26th, 2023.
Following his recent return in Greece from California, USA, Antonios Aspromourgos is presenting in Syros his colorful photorealistic images of fluid artistry.
Antonios Aspromourgos’ works reflect the diversity of emotions that are evoked by memories and experiences and can be found in museums and private collections in Europe, USA, Africa and Asia.
Having received awards and distinctions in international competitions from the Art Renewal Center, the American Portrait Society and the International Guild of Realism, he has also been featured on the covers of international art magazines.
How would you describe the transition from Greece to America and then back to Greece and indeed to the island of Syros?
The transition from Greece to America is never easy for anyone even if the destination is one of the most beautiful states of the USA such as California where I lived for several years. The culture and mentality are light years away from the Greek reality and it takes patience and courage to adapt accordingly, but in the end the reward is worth it! My return to Greece, which I imagined would be more difficult, was for family and practical reasons. A reconnection with the artistic community and a nostalgia for the wonderful sun and the endless blue of the Aegean Sea! I chose the island of Syros because I have always loved the Cyclades and Syros is one of the most majestic islands, rich in history and culture, and the ideal destination for privacy and creation. But when you want to get involved socially, the capital of Hermoupolis is buzzing with life all year round!
Is it easier to promote a visual artist’s career in California than in Greece?
California is a huge state. Three times the size of Greece and with a population of 39 million. It is much more difficult for an artist to be recognized because he has to compete with an international market and many very notable visual artists. That’s why awards and acknowledgements have a different weight. Behind every artist with a level of recognition and professional achievement there are endless hours of work and dedication, hard and difficult days. Hyperrealism art requires huge reserves of patience, excellent painting skills, technique, good physical condition and above all a sense of calmness. It’s a very difficult painting technique and for this reason, compared to other techniques, there are very few hyperrealist artists.
California is one of the birthplaces of Hyperrealism and so the standards are high! In Greece, there are not so many hyperrealist artists and so the market has only just begun to invest in this type of art. To answer the question more clearly, the opportunities for a strong visual artist are more in USA but they need to work hard and be confident of how they wish to express themselves.
Which of the two environments, Greece or America is a greater source of inspiration for you to design?
In Greece, as strange as it may sound, I am inspired by the winter, which especially in the Cyclades has a wild beauty, while during summer, I prefer to be inspired and work in California whenever I get the chance because the light is softer and the pastel colors add a romantic note to the environment.
Is there a painting that hides behind its color a strong story of your own?
Behind each of my works there is always a story but I will refer to a funny story about the painting of gummy bears with the title “Sweet Dreams”. We were on vacation in Seattle, Washington in November 2018 and we were walking through the streets of downtown. A colorful candy store caught my attention. We went inside to buy chocolates and I was surprised to find that there were large, square glass containers where you could buy – by the ounce (the American version of grams) – many of these candies that I had only previously seen in packages. These colorful jellies, that I have adored since I was little, caught my eye. I pulled out my phone, took a single shot in a hurry, and then we rushed out of the store to meet up with friends! I finished the painting one month later in the studio. It is my first painting on a wooden panel and the only still life I have made from a spontaneous photograph. It is in a private collection in California. You never know what might suddenly appear in front of you and inspire you!
What is your motto at this time or throughout time?
Live every moment! The most precious gift in the universe is time!
What message does your art convey about Greece?
My aim is to evoke in someone looking at paintings of mine with a Greek theme to feel that they are transported there, if only for a moment: to feel the rustling of the wind on the silver olive leaves, to hear the splash of the waves, to smell the thyme under the hot sun! I have heard this reaction about some of my paintings and I confess that it was the best review!
What are your next plans?
After completing my solo exhibition as part of “Syros Culture, 2023”, I plan to decompress a bit and travel back to California to see friends. I believe that life itself will direct me to the right place! I would like to work with compositions related to the element of water. I really like it. It is fluid, soft, seductive but also dangerous! The Mediterranean Sea in all its manifestations: wild, calm, colorful or sad! We have been intrinsically linked to the Aegean Sea for thousands of years and it deserves to be captured in all its glory!
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