Graphic designer, illustrator, street artist or else Antio’s. His murals stand out in the center of Athens, making the gray walls a little more colorful and the city more positive as his cacti are always smiling…
What have you studied and what’s the story behind your name?
We started as Antios in 2008 as a team of 3. We all had graffiti backround at the beginning of 2000. That is when “A senor” or else Alfadakos created, a logo at Grexican style like someone of us said back then. We participated in the first urban art exhibition in Athens and then each of us took his own way. Since then I’ve passed through several creative stages and names. In 2012 I decided to revive the whole concept as it was something that fit me from the beginning. At that time, “LuchO”, the younger brother of Alfadakos came to life (based on luchador masks), I changed the name to ANTIO’S because I liked it more and remind me more of a brand name than a pseudonym and so I keep it to this day. My studies are in multimedia and graphics applications.
Where did you grow up and how do you think this has affected your work?
I was born and raised in Athens close to downtown so i was familiar with the culture around graffiti from a young age. I surely consider part of my work the landscape of the city as it can be much more marked out in the grey colors that the city prevails. Of course it can be assimilated or destroyed over time and that gives me another reason to continue to create new artworks as long as I can.
What are your most important influences? If you gave yourself a title related to your work on the streets, what would it be?
When i’ m out on the streets I’m an urban artist while at home I’m a creative designer. So i cover all my creative needs and sleep care free at night. I had plenty and various influences, primarily design and advertising from 30’s to 50’s adding current twists.
How did you start designing cacti on the streets? Is there a reason – idea behind this?
The cacti came naturally as I wanted something that corresponds as an image to ANTIO’S. When I thought about it the first thing that popped in my mind was sculls and cacti! I am no longer limited to cacti since plants in general are inspirational and have a natural movement that can bring something static to life.
Which is the uncovered need in a visual-artist’s life that street art fulfill?
If you take the same artwork and place it in a museum and on the road, it automatically changes your perception even though you see the same one. Honestly, my own need is the whole process from the exploration and the search of the spot that calls to you until the last flash of the camera when the project is finished. It is a ritual that I find difficult to meet elsewhere but I imagine everyone has his own. Of course, it is no coincidence that in recent years more and more painters / artists are turning to the road and murals. Everyone will soon find the way that suits them as long as they have patience and, of course, love for what they do.
It is almost legal to dye in the center of Athens. Should there be any restrictions? What’s your opinion on the habit of painting on top of each other while in the past that would be characterized as disrespectful?
Even if there were restrictions I don’t think that something would change. Unfortunately, Athens is now a very dirty city from the streets, up to the walls, so it needs a lot of work to recover. Respect in our years certainly does not exist, perhaps only by a few who know why they do what they do and they aren’t the writers of the season. In the old days there were very few people who knew each other, so the respect was mutual. Nowadays, the image that prevails on the streets I think that perfectly depicts the whole situation that defines our society. I’m trying as far as I can not to paint on others artists’ mural, but unfortunately it’s not always easy. When it happens thought it’s for aesthetic reasons, of course, not antipathy.
Your colaboration with Dreyk the pirate has marked you a lot. You have almost exclusively the area below the Acropolis on the side of Plaka. How did it start and why did you choose this area?
I believe that the word ‘’exclusively’’ is exaggerating but a majority of my works is undoubtedly in Plaka. We are both lovers of this district, each for his own reasons. We always spent time in Plaka because we stay close to the center so it was quite natural to create a lot there. The world is more uncomplicated and the fact that it has no cars makes it ideal. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to sketch under the Acropolis and then enjoy a cold coffee?
Other collaborations you’ve done or people you admire and wish to work with at the future?
From time to time I’ve worked with Greek and foreign like-minded people. Every time the collaboration is unique as stereotype as that might sounds. The people I admire for their work are mostly in other sectors and not street art, so a collaboration would certainly be more complicated, not unlikely to happen though.
You’ve created your own merchandise which you seem to like and which keeps you busy several hours of the day.
It’s a move that didn’t happen randomly, and that’s why I chose ANTIO’S to become my creative umbrella on and off road. I have always made various creative projects so I decided to develop it more. It surely needs a lot of hours from the stage of the idea to the implementation and promotion but it covers creative gaps that the road couldn’t. They are projects that vary as you will notice from the Canthora Spraycan to the en Deli t-shirt so they are not always connected to my work on the road but they certainly have common elements. I would like to thank Koumpaki in Psyrri area and Flaneur in Plaka who carry my creations at their stores and all the people who support me.
In ten years from now?
I would want to have another interview then and answer on this question! Thank you for having me.
When i’ m out on the streets I’m an urban artist while at home I’m a creative designer. So i cover all my creative needs and sleep care free at night
Unfortunately, Athens is now a very dirty city from the streets, up to the walls, so it needs a lot of work to recover