'Concept is My God' with Panos Antonopoulos

'Concept is My God' with Panos Antonopoulos

October 08, 2019

Born in 1981, Panos is an emerging artist, from Thessaloniki, Greece. Originally being formed as an engineer, having a civil engineering degree at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and an MSc title in Environmental Protection and Management from the University of Edinburgh, his art flair and life itself have transformed him into a conceptual artist. Panos spent some time of his life studying writers like Henry Miller, Jack London, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, among others, charmed by the decadence of their writings.


What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?

My parents were always into art, as my father had one of the most contemporary galleries in Greece when I was a kid. As such, visiting art museums was a quite often phenomenon. Then, when I moved to Paris in 2012 not sure what I would do with my life I saw it as a great opportunity to turn the numerous concepts I had in my mind into art pieces.

How would you describe your own personal style?

Concept is my god and then comes the medium. I have an art concept in my mind, mainly related to sociopolitical issues, which defines the medium to be used to be depicted in the best possible way

What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?

From day 1 I had multiple concepts and ideas for art pieces. Some of them I managed to transfer them into canvas or as a installation successfully, while others still remain ideas. I started more with oil painting, but then when i found out about the directness and the edginess of spray paint I went more into this direction.


What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?

Sociopolitical phenomena and stereotypes of our society

Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?

As said, my father was much into art, a former gallerist and collector himself thus in the beginning I was often asking for feedback regarding my ideas/executions. A street artist friend of mine (SYD street art in London) was the one who showed me the great potential of spray paint and street art

When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?

As said, the concept defines the medium, but lately spray paint is my hero. I love installations but unfortunately you usually need high budget/sponsors for large scale ones.

When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?

Whenever I have an idea that I think it can be well converted into an impactful artwork. This is the reason that I do not produce many artworks per year. Every art piece needs to have a background behind it.


Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?

More or less already mention it above. Once I have the idea in my mind I try to think ways to convert it into an artwork experimenting with various mediums. Sometimes it works, sometimes not

Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?

I do not have a routine as an artist as I may not produce something for a long time or vice versa.

When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?

Mainly one work at a time, or at least one series of works.

How has your art evolved to be where it is today?

Started more with oil paintings and collages and then moved to bigger pieces with spray as the main medium.


Which of your artworks are you most proud off?

The concept behind The Ego and His Own painting defines me as a person and as an artist (based on Max Stirner's homonymous book where he explains that by nature we are unique egos and nothing else). In terms of my best pieces, I consider the God Bless series as my artworks of the highest quality to-date, in terms of concept, execution and impact.

Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?

I really admire Banksy and Ai Weiwei mainly because they are proper contemporary artists (especially the second one), having put themselves into the public scene, quite often with high personal risk and danger.

If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?

The Duchamp era, when art started to coming out of the canvas.

What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?

A lot, actually. Social media is quite dangerous as they support in a way very commercial art that has nothing to say. It is a bit sad in my opinion to see art being done with the same way as decades ago. This is not contemporary art (although it is by definition :-). Another issue is that the art world nowadays is over-saturated, in terms of ideas and number of artists. Unfortunately it is very tricky to suggest a new way of art in all meanings. Finally, galleries have become mainly a way of taking money from artists and not vice versa (so many examples from galleries, space, exhibitions that they ask from artists to pay).


What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?

Accept everything that happens in their life (e.g. multiple rejections from galleries, minimum income) is part of the being an artist process.

Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?

As said, I love installations. I think they can be very impactful and of the few mediums that can propose new things in the art world. I will always admire street art (but mainly the illegal one, not commissioned pieces).

We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?

This is true. A painting can be improved forever. However, you need to step up and realize that the potential defects you see as an artist, you are probably the only one to notice them.


Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?

For me art is very personal and apparently cannot change nothing in society (history can easily prove that). However, it can make you think something that skipped your mind or see another approach on a topic. Then it is 100% up to the viewer of how he/she will deal with it. This is at least what I try to achieve as an artist.

What are you working on at the moment?

I had an idea about evolving my God Bless series and add an installation to the project, but still working on it. Plus, I am seriously thinking of producing some street art pieces.

Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?

I am the founder of 9th Art Wave group, uniting artists from all over the world with whom we share the same concept of contemporary art. You can check our manifesto here and our limited edition catalogue here. My involvement in the group was highly beneficial as I learned a lot from fellow artists and helped to open more my mind.


When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?

Nothing planned yet :-). I will keep you posted for updates. I am mainly looking for art opportunities in Barcelona and in Spain in general as this is where I am currently based.

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