Perhaps one of the most distinctive Greek street artists this month in Greek street art – talks. Dimitris Ntokos studied graphic design since his attraction for visual arts was intense as he mentions, while almost in parallel he begins to create in public space. We’ll be talking about his work as it has been shaped so far.
How did you get involved with visual arts and which were your main influences?
I started getting involved with visual arts at the age of 20 when I had my first contact with graphic design. It was then when I realized that I was attracted by visual arts and drawing. That is why my works, at least up to this point, have deep inside the element of geometry. Meanwhile, I had already begun to do graffiti for some years, and while watching other artists, I was trying as much as I could to incorporate these two.
When do you start painting in the public space and what is the difference from the rest of the surfaces you have been painting until then?
First I started painting in public places, doing my first graffiti on the walls of the neighborhood and later on I felt the need to stay at home creating something on the canvas. These two have a very big difference in all respects. From the time you are given to complete a project, the selection of the technique and the materials you are going to use, up to the most basic which is the audience you are addressing.
Which are your favorite materials and with what else have you experimented?
I usually use gouache, acrylics and oil paints. But I have also experimented with other techniques such as using smoke and candle on canvas, processing iron, aluminum or other metal objects to finally incorporate them into a project. I find that there is no limit in materials. Each artist, depending on how he wants to express himself, can use anything.
You typically create beetle works, how did all this start and why? Is there any idea behind them?
In my first solo exhibition I made works with animal figures and some of them were beetles. I saw then that this shape or animal, however you put it, has something that inspires me. After that I began painting only beetles, embodying on every one whatever I wanted to communicate in each of my works.
The same well known and very characteristic are your artworks with symbols. Much detailed and extremely demanding in terms of time. Is it easy to do that in public place? Which are the reactions of the world?
The truth is that nothing is easy to be created in public space. Symbols require enough time and obsession with geometry and symmetry.
This series looks like serving an “obsession” of yours. Is there a story behind this that you want to communicate?
I don’t experience it as something different technically nor artistically from the beetles. However, I think that this language works somehow like a personal diary, whether you want to see it as a diary of my work, or as a journal of my artistic mood.
You recently made a personal exhibition at the blender gallery with the same visuals you create in the public space. How different is the same projects to enter on an interior space?
Having started by doing projects on the road, surely doing something which will get into a certain place changes the data. Not by changing what you already do, but by getting into the process that what you are doing will be judged by some people. This so immediate feedback you get from your works matures you more quickly in artistic terms.
How important is it for an artist to have a certain characteristic style so that he/she is easily recognizable?
I think that inevitably all artists have a personal style that they don’t use to be recognizable, but it’s what suits them naturally to do. After this point if an artist acquires recognition through a particular style, then it will clearly help him to be even more recognized if he continues to follow this personal style. However, I don’t think that there is an artist who won’t change his style over time.
Do you usually work alone? Do you have any cooperation that you have distinguish and why?
From my first steps until now I paint alone. I don’t exclude though working with other artists at some point.
In ten years from now?
I’ll be 43.