Yorgos Stamkopoulos


“I aim to reach moments, feelings, memories, inner balance and self reflection”

AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?

YS: I come from Katerini, a small city in northern Greece. Drawing on the walls of my room as a kid was the first step.


AT: When did it become serious?

YS: The instant moment my parents brought me more colored pencils and crayons to continue that endless drawing on the walls of my room.


AT: Are there any person who have been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?

YS: Plenty, mainly colleagues and friends that stood by me on the darkest moments of doubt


AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?

YS: I approach the canvas gestural without any preliminary drawing. The way I work is non reversible and every gesture is permanent as I paint on unprimed canvas. I need to take under consideration the quality of the fabric and the consistency of the color I will apply. Though a painter, my methodology and process are closer to a sculptor. I am switching between colors and casting material, until the whole surface is covered. I then scrape everything off the surface and forms that were hidden under the material come to light and make a bigger picture appear.  

Worlds Beneath, 2018, Installation view, Nathalie Halgand Gallery, Vienna, Photo by Julian Mullan

AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?

YS: Moments, feelings, memories, inner balance and self reflection


AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?

YS: Well other than oil colors I use oil bars and sometimes soft pastels. I apply the colors and the casting mediums with brushes, spatulas and sometimes also with airbrush as it gives another density.


AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?

YS: I want to be surprised by the formalism and the gestural freedom. The most important aspect is the act of painting at that instant. I can see the final results only when I remove everything from the canvas.


AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?

YS: There is an independency of the work that doesn’t require any more action from me. It has its own space and validity. It becomes an entity

Yorgos Stamkopoulos, Untitled, 2018, Oil on Raw Canvas, 200x300cm, Photo Julian Mullan

AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?

YS: Nature, light and sound


AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?

YS: I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the depth and the presence of light in Caravaggio’s works. Artists such as Mimo Rotella, Jacques Villegle, Morris Louis, Clyfford Still have been very significant towards my work. The gestural formalism each one of them developed has ignited and transformed in a way my approach towards painting.


AT: How important is the role of social media for you?

YS: It is a tool that can be very helpful as someone can discover and reach my work, but it can be very stressful too as there is a heavy load of images and information that may put pressure in different fields on the studio practice. My account on Instagram has been hacked recently and in that way I lost contact with a lot of people that are interested in my work.


AT: What is your opinion about NFTs and their impact on the art world?

YS: No comment

Trajectory, Installation View, 2017, Galeria Mario Iannelli, Photo Roberto Apa

AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?

YS: I find that it is moving too fast. Too many shows, art fairs, social media platforms, curated events and shows. There is no time to filter and contemplate what is on display and that does no good to the artist’s work and labour spent in it. It would be great if we all could learn something from the recent lockdowns that happened in society and slow down a bit.


AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?

YS: The constant development of the work is the biggest challenge and the ability to grasp a moment is the most rewarding part of what I do.


AT: What do you do besides art?

YS: I go to as many concerts as possible


AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?

YS: Travel more and share a bottle of wine with friends I haven’t seen for a long time.

Worlds Beneath, 2018, Installation view, Nathalie Halgand Gallery, Vienna, Photo by Julian Mullan
Yorgos Stamkopoulos (1983, Katerini) is a Greek visual artist currently living and working in Berlin, Germany.

His main inspiration is drawn from the abstract and altered colour that is to be found in music and nature. For him, painting is not an accumulation of pre-meditated gestures plotted out on a canvas, nor is it an expressive act. Painting is instead something that is removed from the canvas, while his art is that which remains; creation through deconstruction. Each work is the final trace of a thick ‘skin’ built up with casting material on canvas, over which layers of colour and paint are applied before the final dermis is peeled off, and the subtle imprint beneath is revealed. While his artistic approach appears to be aligned with the position of a traditional painter, his studio practice is closer to the methodology of a sculptor.