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A conversation with Christina Papaioannou

Updated: May 1


Vivid colors, fragments, digital essence, art, memory, and hybrid creations—how could they all seamlessly intertwine? Look no further than Christina Papaioannou's mesmerizing paintings! Christina, an emerging visual artist and graduate of the Athens School of Fine Arts, skillfully produces multi-layered works that ignite curiosity. Her vibrant palette captivates the eye, inviting viewers to explore the depths of her creations.


Joining us this week, Christina talks about her art, her inspiration and her unique artistic journey, which has taken her from Greece to the UK and Austria in just a few years.!

Come and dive with us into her art-world!



Live from the Moon 150 x 150cm Acrylics, oil pastels, solid marker, spray paint on canvas. 2024

How would you describe your art in just 5 words?


Dynamic. Fragmented. Alien-spirited. Playful. Whimsical.



In your works, we see a fusion of digital and traditional painting which results in the

creation of ‘’ hybrid compositions’’ as you described. How did this come about, what

was the process of creating this ‘’new form’’?


Well, this fusion emerged from my early experimentation in Photoshop during my

teenage years, which left a lasting impact on my aesthetic sensibilities. It also began with

my curiosity about the immediate access to diverse visual elements online, spanning

from historical art to contemporary pop culture. The digital tools provided a playful and

dynamic space for me to manipulate images, resulting in fragmented, layered, and

surreal visual outcomes.


The process involves a two-way journey, navigating both the virtual and physical realms.

As an image collector, I gather a diverse range of source materials, including pixels,

botanical motifs, animals, ancient Greek architecture, Renaissance engravings,

children's drawings, and even fragments of my own previous works. These images serve

as ready-mades, providing a foundation for the creation of hybrid compositions.


However, rather than solely existing in the digital realm, I reintroduce this processed data

back into material reality by manually applying it to the canvas.


Throughout this process, I insist on maintaining a commitment to traditional painting,

cherishing the time-intensive process and the physicality it brings to the artistic creation,

which I find exhilarating.



In 2023, you traveled to Vienna for your solo exhibition “Time Travels”.

Could you tell us about this experience?


With the exhibition 'Time Travels', I had the opportunity to showcase my work in a

wonderful location in the historic center of Vienna. It was my second solo exhibition

abroad, following 'Anorioton', in December 2019, in London (J/M Gallery, Notting Hill).

Essentially, the exhibition consisted of two solo shows, mine and that of my good friend,

the artist Cacao Rocks, both hosted in the two seperate spaces of the AG18 Gallery.


Vienna is a city steeped in history and has a vibrant arts scene, with numerous museums

and galleries. While I was there, I had the opportunity to visit Parallel Vienna, an art fair

that primarily serves as a platform for young and emerging artists. Such a refreshing

experience!



Could you share some specific influences or experiences that have significantly

shaped your artistic perspective? Has your artistic style evolved over time?


A crucial aspect of my artistic identity is rooted in my upbringing within an artistic

background. Growing up in the studio, surrounded by my mother's art -who's also a

painter- laid the foundation for my deep connection to the painting process. This

experience has not only influenced my artistic choices but has also instilled a sense of

ease and naturalness in pursuing a creative path.


My artistic evolution over the years is marked by a continuity in themes and patterns.

From abstract landscapes to alien interiors, and from historical references to scenes

reminiscent of video games, my compositions share a core value of balancing chaos and

extracting meaning from my life experiences.


A great example is my diploma painting series at the Athens School of Fine Arts. It

consisted of large abstract works, in which I used only one color: black on a white

surface. They had a sense of calligraphy and engraving simultaneously. While they did

not foreshadow the explosion of color that would follow, the fundamental conceptual and

intellectual axes were present; engagement with balance, order, and chaos was always a

prevalent theme. The introduction of color in my work came spontaneously, as an

internal necessity. I studied Matisse, for example, after I had already begun my first

series of colorful works.


In my early works after completing school, I focused on rendering interior spaces, viewed

through a highly personal lens and infused with memories. Following that, I transitioned

to works where the human form, although already fragmented, played a significant role in

shaping the composition. Gradually, the figure underwent further deconstruction, making

way for animal forms, architectural or botanical motifs, flying tables, explosive vases with

flowers, and lately, hybrid statue-like figures, pixels and 3D elements.






‘’These playful scenarios are articulated in an unencrypted language that invites the

viewer to interpret it from scratch, like a psychological test’’ - what is the role of

psychological engagement in your work and what do you hope viewers to take away

from experiencing your art?


The psychological engagement in my work plays a pivotal role as I invite viewers to

immerse themselves in a “magical” language within my paintings. I hope to evoke a

sense of connection between the viewer's individual experiences and the diverse

references embedded in my artwork. By leaving the interpretation open and embracing

the varied emotional and psychological states of individuals, my art becomes a mirror

reflecting the rich tapestry of human experiences. I aspire for viewers to take away a

unique and personal connection with the artwork, fostering a dialogue that transcends

the canvas and resonates with the complexity of their own lives.


I have my personal reasons to create an image, and if it is personal enough, it surely can

be universal.



What are your plans – set of goals- for 2024?


I am very happy to participate in "Coup de Coeur" exhibition, featuring 16 outstanding artists

from the new generation. The event will take place from the 14th to the 17th of February at Villa

Stella, Neo Iraklion area in Athens. Additionally, I am excited to share that there is another

upcoming group show/event in Athens for International Women's Day, details of which will be

announced soon. Also, some new collaborations are on the way ;)



Orderly Chaos 155 x 140cm Acrylics, oil pastels, solid marker, spray paint on canvas. 2023

We would like to thank Christina for this amazing discussion and her presence at Insistrum this week! Don't forget to follow her for more incredible art.



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Photographs copywrites belong to Christina Papageorgiou.


Christina Papaioannou

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