Takeover Tuesday with Athena Anastasiou

Affordable Art Fair
Oct 13, 2020
Takeover Tuesday with Athena Anastasiou
She creates paintings that are expressions of different grades of emotions based on a personal viewpoint and the current cultural take on it.
The paintings are also character depictions of friends and images drawn from things that make them feel free and their ideal style of living. The collage of imagery symbolises this constant pull and push of the everyday and the ideal. The painting, "Free", which fear is fed daily through the news and is juxtaposed against her friend Dan's ideal way of living: off the grid and in nature. It is also layered with how she personally chose to see fear - as merely "Future Events Appearing Real".

1) What messages do you explore within your artwork, and are you drawn to a particular style, subject matter, or medium?


My work aims to raise consciousness, by asking questions like; who do I choose to be in this world and what is my purpose? I create empowering portraits that speak of this authenticity. I do this by getting to know the sitters lives and their powerful life intentions and do my best to translate that through a photo first and then a painted portrait. 

My work is also inspired by the book “Letting Go - The Pathway Of Surrender” by David R. Hawkins which talks about mindfulness and provides effective tools to let go of lower grade emotions that do not serve you. I create paintings that are expressions of different grades of emotions based on a personal viewpoint and the current cultural take on it. 


2) Tell us a little more about the process you use to create your contemporary mixed media portraits. How do you combine oil, acrylic, spray paint and charcoal?


I start by taking numerous photographs of my sitter in the studio which I then edit down to the final one. I will then transfer this image into a painting app on my ipad, where I can overlay and collage pictoral images with digital painting until I find a composition I like. Once I am happy, I will use this to paint from, it won’t be exact most of the time but it is a pretty good guide. 

Material wise, I enjoy working on exposed linen, emphasising the collage element to the work. I tend to mix mediums too, using oil paint for portraits (as you can get more detail and depth), whilst using acrylic and spray for more gestural layers. I find acrylic useful for collage as the drying time is so quick, enabling you to work faster and more instinctively rather than waiting for the oil paint to dry!

3) Describe your daily routine for us. How do you balance making artwork with life admin, and has this routine had to adapt over the past few months?


My routine is constantly changing and adapting to what is more effective…it’s a constant learning curve! I find doing creative work first thing in the mornings most productive and then doing admin after that. It is a balancing act, one which most artists have to do at the beginning until you can employ people to support you!

Over the last few months, I have had to learn how to work from home….I used to feel horrible about working at home, (feeling trapped and getting distracted!), however, I have learnt to really enjoy it and find my groove in its simplicity.

4) Do you have any exciting projects coming up in 2021 that you can tell us about now? Until then, have you shifted your focus towards selling art online for the autumn? 


My plan is to create a solo show in NYC next year, showcasing a new body of work that explores my own personal mythology through colour, language and expression. 

This autumn I will be participating in The Other Art Fair in Brooklyn and will be continuing to sell my art on online platforms which seems to be the easiest way during this current climate!

5) Do you have a network of fellow creatives from Central St. Martins, and how are they supporting each other during these unprecedented times?


I have a load of artist friends I made from Central St Martins whom we have supported each other during these times, via group zoom calls. We have been a sound board for each other on a personal level and an artistic level. Always sharing ideas and supporting each other with shows. For example, last week, my friend in London dropped my work off at the Royal Academy for the summer exhibition, and I did the very same thing for her when she got accepted a few years ago!


6) What advice would you give to fellow creatives as we strive to emerge stronger from lockdown? 

Keep creating, whatever the weather. Don’t let your situation stop you from creating, utilise the materials you have available and see what comes of it, it might well inspire you down a new path of working. Also, look into innovative ways of supporting yourself financially during these times, try the artist support pledge via Instagram and find new online platforms and virtual galleries to showcase in.

7) And lastly any good socially distanced exhibition recommendations for those craving a bit of culture? What art show is first on your checklist?  

Well, I am going to say the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition which is actually going to be the first ever autumn one! It starts October 6th 2020. Definitely worth checking out if your in London.


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