- Your sketches have their own unconventional aesthetic. What was your influence and your inspiration?
When I first started drawing with this specific aesthetic I had an extremely narrow knowledge about visual arts and art history in general. The surrealist movement might have been one of my first influence. But, If I could say what was my biggest inspiration in the start, that would be the aesthetics of victorian photography from which I borrow many elements like architecture, home decoration, clothing style, the body postures, the “seriousness” and the moody/ mysterious/ dark/ creepy/ macabre atmosphere in general. Victorian era represents a time in history of Western civilization when everything was so binary and strict when it came to gender roles and female sexuality. By borrowing this aesthetic I try to create an oppressive reality from which my feminine protagonists try to escape. A big influence was also poetry, especially confessional poetry. For example, I realized that what I do is create personas after reading Sylvia Plath’s poetry. I feel very closely connected to the way she creates a battle between a true self and false selves. Later influences were symbolism, the decadent movement, “absurd” cinema like the greek weird wave or David Lynch and many other stuff.
- During 2020 two of your artworks have been combined with the art of poetry through two beautiful collaborations, with Patricia Kolaiti and Orfeas Apergis. Would you like to talk a little bit about this experience?
I am very happy with these collaborations as I admire the work of both of them. The last book of Orfeas Apergis called “like debt” covers many themes related to gender and the oppression connected to female labor: working class and and immigrant women’s labor, unpaid household chores, emotional labor and carework. Similarly to what I do, he created an atmosphere filled with oppressive narratives from which women try to escape and that’s exactly why my work connected in a very beautiful way. On the other hand, Patricia Kolaiti’s collection of poems named “The Lithopedion” (Nefeli Publishings, 2016) has at its center the mother wound and codependency in a mother-daughter relationship. She also covers some issues related to food and embodiment. Both are themes to which I very often return in my work too. I am very interested in portraying how absence of maternal affection can by imprinted in a daughter’s body or in her relationship with food: craving maternal affection – craving food, rejecting maternal affection – rejecting food. I was very touched when I read her poetry because I could identify in many ways with her book’s heroine daughters. The drawing I made inspired by her work is very confessional and one of my favourite.
- Moreover, you chose to accompany your sketches with references of other forms of art: poems, music, movies, plays. Is it another type of conversation between arts? How do you see this interaction?
This conversation between arts -especially between visual art and poetry- is my biggest interest. I almost always work on two dimensions and start making a drawing inspired by somebody else’ s work.. In my mind any visual artwork I create is not “complete” when being seen alone. The poem/ movie/ play/ music comes to fill the absent pieces. They are so connected that I feel like you can’t “see” the drawing without reading the poem etc. I am interested in helping the viewer create a meaning by connecting the puzzles of both of them. Since language also has limits in its ability to portray the depth of human experience, I feel like I try to “complete” the poem and at the same time the poem “completes” my drawing.
- One of your sketches is accompanied by Constantine P. Cavafy’ s poem “To sensual Pleasure”. Constantine P. Cavafy’ s poems can be divided into three categories: philosophical, erotic and (pseudo)historical. What would be a tripartite division of your thematology?
I would say confessional, erotic, macabre
- You have drawn a selfportait, a drawing that reminds of the myth of Prometheus and is accompanied by a very intense poem, “The Jailor” of Sylvia Path. Would you like to discuss about this artwork?
I feel like this poem is “complete” on its own and there’s nothing I could ever draw to accompany it in a satisfying -for me- way. I have never read before something as powerful about how it feels being “trapped” in an abusive relationship or about having a sense of constant threat from which you are unable to protect yourself. It’s not the only self portrait I have made, but it’s the only one I openly chose to tell that this is my body. Back then, I didn’t know why I was feeling such a deep connection with this poem or whom/what does the vulture represent for me. Today I can understand. It is not only specific people I had in my life but also this constant feeling I have as a femininity living in a patriarchal society. I very often feel like I am prey. I have felt it ever since I was a child. I still try to figure out how I can feel safe in my body, in my relationships and in my daily life.
- Kafkaesque: What is the connection between your sketches “The plague” and “The milk” and Franz Kafka’s work?
There is a connection in how I wanted to show the feeling of being “doomed” and “trapped” in one’s body, the feeling of being maybe a social outcast, feeling estranged from other people and unable to connect with them. More importantly I think it connects with Kafka’s work in conveying the feeling of being unwanted (who would love a cockroach?). What I like about these drawings is that many people with completely different backgrounds can identify with the cockroach for very different reasons. Besides these two drawings, one of the biggest compliments I have received about my work is that it is kafkaesque, meaning that there’s an atmosphere in which you don’t really understand what’s going on but something is terribly wrong and you have no idea how to escape.
- Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s most popular ballet, “Swan Lake” have inspired many artists. We see that you have drawn your own version of the four Acts of “Swan Lake”, while –your- Act II is inspired by Darren Aronofsky’s film “Black Swan”, which also revolves around Tchaikovsky’s ballet. What does this artistic dialogue mean to you?
“Black Swan” was one of my favourite movies back when I was an adolescent girl and I still relate to it in many ways. The version of Swan Lake I created is more connected to this movie than to Tchaikovsky’s ballet. Like in the “Black Swan” I wanted to make a series in which white swan and black swan are different sides of the same person even though they are completely opposites. Also, the third act is inspired by the song “Fuck me” by Mary and the boy. To me all the series is a tale about vulnerability and power, both connected to femininity and female sexuality. It’s about the struggle of finding power in femininity. I continue this dualism in many other drawings too. My personas are very often either extremely vulnerable or extremely sexual.
- You have created sketches with political meaning, too. There is an antifascist/anti-racist and a feminist drawing of yours. Is art another form of political activism? What do you believe about the connection between (your) art and politics?
As I am interested in political activism in my daily life, my drawings are also informed by my ideas. But, I am not interested in talking about the “big” things. I am interested in portraying everyday human experience. And as we know from feminism “the personal is political”. I almost always start from my own experience and the struggles I’ve been having being raised as a woman. So, more than anything I think my work is feminist.
- Your art has a sex/body/BDSM positive vibe. What do the (naked) human body and the sexuality mean to your art?
Sex positivity is a very important element for me. The BDSM positive vibe comes together. Expressing my sexuality in my work went hand in hand with a journey of self-discovery. I want to explore a female gaze in naked female body, one that doesn’t objectify nor fetishize, one that doesn’t “talk over” it, but pauses in order to listen. As for body positivity, I am afraid that my work doesn’t really have that element. The bodies I create are usually very skinny and this is something related to my personal history. Thus, until now, I haven’t attempted to break some beauty standards. That’s a thing I really want to work on in the future. I’d like to go a little bit beyond my own experience and make drawings that are not so strictly self-referential.
- Any future work plans or collaborations? How do you imagine the progression of your art? In which concept would you like to see your sketches in the future?
I will soon be a part of a group exhibition for the first time and I’m really excited about it. I’m also having some private talks about future collaborations. I’m interested in doing more illustrations of poetry/literature texts and later I would like to try accompanying my drawings with my own writings, even though I don’t really have a big confidence in my writing skills yet. I’d also like to try colour. More importantly, I would like to draw more often and dare to express my self the way I want without being afraid of people’s reactions.