In my work, the body is presented and shaped through colour - a visual language that has the ability to express a unique mood and give new meaning.
Rendered in a highly individual color palette, Georgia Theologou's paintings center around the processes and experiences of the human psyche such as trauma, sexuality, or the phenomenon of ''synesthesia”. Fascinated by the exuberance of colour and the immersive quality of ambiguity, her pieces do not depict a specific person, but the essence of some experiential being - a fragile memory expressed in colour.
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
Q. Did you always want to become an artist?
A. I started painting at a really young age. Back when I was a kid and during my teenage years, I experimented with many different artistic techniques like collage art, comics, abstract art, and digital illustration. I was always creating, so the decision to attend art school at the age of 18 came naturally.
Q. How did you arrive at your extremely vibrant colour palette?
A. When I was 10 years old, my parents bought me a watercolour set and I created dozens of abstract images with these colours. The most exciting part for me was finding the different colour combinations and the feeling that creating a unique colour palette would evoke. Vibrant colours were always my favourites, like emerald green, magenta and orange. I also have a strong love for all greens and blues. I remember I used to observe my mother's and grandmother's paintings which all had an impressionistic aesthetic that I love to this day.
Q. Are your subjects drawn from real life or images? - Are they meant to represent an actual person or rather an anonymous being?
A. I paint from photo references that I personally create or from old photos of people I don’t know. So my models are either people I know well, like my friends and family, or just random people that I haven't met but I really want to paint for some reason. My intention is not to represent that specific person or to realistically render their facial features, but rather to portray the sense of them in colour.
Q. You have stated that themes such as psychological trauma and sexuality are central to your work, how do you aim to give form to such complex themes?
A. Sexuality and even personal traumas are the most natural thing in every human life and each of us have our own. I always have the need to paint portraits, nudes or other human-centered images with a focus on sentimentality. In my work, the body is presented and shaped through colour - a visual language that has the ability to express a unique mood and give new meaning.
Q. Do the psychological and emotional elements that find their expression in your work have an autobiographical element to them?
A. I express myself a lot through my work but I am an observer as well. So I could say that my paintings are the filter I use for the world around me. I project my personal feelings onto the paintings, but my themes and the final composition come from the outside. I basically create a diode between me and my subject.
Q. You have also said that the subject of synesthesia plays a significant role in your work, how does this inspire you?
A. Creating an image means to sense that moment. I sense how the light flows, the feelings of my model, the sounds, and the colours of the image. Every single moment consists of different combinations of sensory experiences, so when I paint I revive that moment. Focusing on the senses gives me countless possibilities to tell a unique story. Music always plays an important role in my process of creation, as I choose the appropriate music to paint a corresponding work. Sometimes, the music itself even leads me to new ideas.
Q. Does memory play a role in your work?
A. For me, memories are the most sacred thing in the human mind; our memories make us who we are. All of my memories are precious to me, even the darkest ones. I am very much inspired by the idea of having a library of experienced scenes and images inside the mind and then to combine that with the imagination, leading to countless choices and possibilities. However, I was never interested in complex images or surrealistic concepts but rather in images that look like memories that I have never experienced personally, yet seem very familiar.
Q. Your work often features young women, what makes you gravitate to them as subject matter?
A. Having younger sisters and painting them since they were little is maybe a habit that has continued over the years. This subject became really familiar to me and I find beauty and truth in female characters. Painting male characters can also be a very expressive process for me and I find it interesting that my colour palette is always very dependent on who I paint.
Q. What do you think are some of the main challenges facing artists today?
A. The age we live in now is a good time for artists in comparison with the past. The internet and social media platforms make it easier to showcase your work to a wider audience and to be discovered. However, being an artist still means having many challenges to face. For example to find and create your own style or to believe in your potential despite a fear of the future. You’ll never know real stability and there is a need for constant development. I believe that every artist has their own unique path and their personal challenges.
Q. What would you like your work to evoke in the viewer?
A. When I was younger, I was always fascinated by the work of other artists. Sometimes, I would form a strong emotional connection with paintings and they spoke to me in ways I could not really explain. I really want to communicate through my work in that way and evoke emotions and personal thoughts in the viewer by means of a relatively simple image.
Q. Could you describe your work in three words?
A. Colours - Senses - Fragility