Stamatis is responsible for the gigantic wheat paste with the children figures in the center of Athens. He is a well-known Greek street artist despite his young age. This month he is talking to us about his work in the streets and his experience so far.
Have you studied? How old are you and where do you come from?
I am currently studying at the Athens University of Fine Arts. I am 22 years old and I grew up in Athens.
Which are you main influences?
Life, society, music, art, problems and humanity’s issues in general.
How did you begin drawing in outdoor spaces and why did you do it?
I began in 2012, I liked the art in public spaces and its direct contact with the people. Generally, I always liked the streets and the city.
Which is the process that you follow and what time do you go out to create a piece?
I start by drawing several sketches until I end up with something I like, then I adjust it to the wall that I want. I don’t have a specific time, it depends on the circumstances.
During the time that you draw, which are the reactions of the people passing by? Have you been chased by the police?
Mostly they just stare curiously. Almost everyone likes it. I have rarely heard something negative from someone passing by. The first time I was drawing my first piece, the police came but they didn’t do anything and they let me go on.
Your pieces are quite large and detailed. How do you succeed that?
I like the size in general in terms of detail. If you really want it and you practice you succeed.
Is there a story behind the pieces of art in the streets? Are your characters connected somehow from one place to another?
Yes there is a connections amongst the characters, it is like a story; through the children I am able to describe, monk and criticize life in general. Every drawing carries its own meaning regarding life and the era in which we live in.
Street artists have public speech. Do you feel a responsibility or is this something that does not influence you?
Yes it is like a form of public speech. Of course this influences me and I have a responsibility for what I am doing to the public space since it is not mine.
Which is you favorite collaboration and why?
I have many, but one of my latest that I was really honored by and this I can distinguish, was the collaboration with the collection of pieces of art of Alpha Bank. They organized a large retroactive exhibition for the great Greek carver/ artist Tasso Alevizo (1914- 1985) at Benaki Museum and I was invited as the young artist to create a piece tribute to him which was also a part of the exhibition. It is a great honor for me to exhibit next to artists who I admire and who have passed on leaving behind their own legacy.
In ten years from now?
I don’t know, the only certainty is that I will be drawing endlessly. Apart from that whatever happens.
The first time I was drawing my first piece, the police came but they didn’t do anything and they let me go on
Source: Greek Street Art – Talks