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Meet the artist | Dimitra Gkoutzou

This week Insistrum greets Dimitra Gkoutzou, a young visual artist, based in Greece and a soon-to-be Insistrum writer. Her studies include one degree in Visual and Applied Arts and another in Philosophy of Art, fields that have evidently influenced her art.

At a first glance, Dimitra's almost monochromatic canvases seem quite minimal. At further exploration, one can easily uncover her mystical world, a universe influenced by fantasy and mysticism, with alien and bizzare creatures, inviting you over to examine their peculiar existence. Even her works that do not use a certain palette of a single color's hues, still retain an aetheric blur - a veil between the real and the dream-state. It' s like a glimpse to other dimensions through the thinnests of cloths. You have to remain on thios side of the veil, or you might lose your mind...

We had a wonderful discussion with Dimitra during which she uncovered her creative process and her artistic struggles with us. Read ahead to get to know one more extraordinary artist:

1. In what ways do you feel your personal experiences and emotions influence your art, and how do you navigate the balance between self-expression and audience reception in your work?

I believe that personal experiences are really important because they help us understand our emotions better. These emotions appear on facial expressions, body postures, gestures, voice tone and help us identify the emotional states that arise when interacting with the Other. The Other as stated in Levinas theory of Alterity allows us to connect in infinite ways with the experience of the Other in order to see their Faces aka their true selves. For me, the Face serves as a framework that I use to conceptualize and depict the emotional spaces hidden in the Other as a way of transcending the the features of the Face.In that way, I want to show how our emotional states shape our perspectives on identities, spatial space and material objects, serving as a mirror for personal reflection. In order to create that “mirror” I employ colour palettes and craft narratives such as in my ongoing Medusa series. Particularly, in this series I use dark hues and contrasting ideas as metaphors in order to settle the mood and make the audience resonate with her states of anger or sadness. At last, this resonance presupposes an emotional engagement which balances out my self-expression while creating interpretive gaps that are solely filled through the viewer’s reflection.

2. Are there any unconventional or unexpected sources of inspiration that have influenced your work?

Well, I don’t think there are any unconventional sources for inspiration, therefore I think that we can find it in the ordinary interactions that reveal unexpected emotions. These emotions lead me to contextualize them through philosophical ideas, literary narratives or psychological theories. For instance, in my "Colourbinds" theme, I draw on concepts like Levinasian Other, Eric Fromm's idea of authenticity and particular themes of American Literature like the contrast between inner and outer worlds to reflect on everyday life.

3. How do you approach the process of creating a new piece? Do you have a specific routine or ritual that helps you get into the flow state?

For me it all begins with intuition. I like being present in the moment and understanding what triggers my feelings. Instead of relying on rituals or routines, I focus on questioning myself to read between my emotions and turn them into ideas. These ideas act as a sort of brainstorming tool that afterwards help me map out my emotions. This emotional mapping serves as a starting point for crafting narratives that explore philosophical, literary, or psychological concepts that resonate with my feelings. My feelings are conceptualized as an emotional portrayal that is narrated through “chromatic mists”, otherworldly and self sufficient forms, aiming to transcend physical boundaries and explore the metaphysical realm through bonds that unravel the spiritual aspect of the forms. As a result, it invites viewers to reflect on unknown narratives and possibilities, imagining alternative narratives or uncover hidden stories found in the ordinary.

4. Are there any techniques or materials that you particularly enjoy working with?

As an artist I like experimenting with all kind of oil painting techniques through different layers enjoying the variety of colours, luminosities and textures that each time settle up a different atmosphere in the artwork. In my more recent work, I have also experimented with oil pastel, colourpencil and pen techniques which have really helped me to upgrade my oil painting techniques!

5. What strategies have you found successful in promoting your work, securing exhibitions, and networking with other professionals in the field?

What has really helped me until now includes firstly the process of refining yours ideas through studying, secondly using art platforms for visibility while cultivating supportive relationships and navigating professional connections wisely.

6. What lies ahead in your artistic career in the near future?

Looking ahead, I would like to refer to ProjectVGallery’s ongoing group show ”Person, Place or Thing” in which I’m gladly taking part along with very talented artists! Additionally, in a few weeks my Colourbinds theme will be featured in DaysofArtinGreece magazine’s Vol.17th! As for the rest, for the moment talking, I can't predict what lies ahead of my artistic career. But surely, I know I can control my actions in the present that could define my future. Saying that, I do believe in the power of hard work, so I'll remain committed to my vision and surround myself with supportive people.

We would like to thank Dimitra for sharing her thoughts with us! If you want ot find out more about this week's featuring artist, make sure to follow her, @ambi_blue_tamashi , on Instagram!

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