Born and raised in Greece, George Grekas completed his Fine Arts degree at Vakalo School of Art and Design in Athens before relocating to London where he is currently based. Inspired by expressionist, surrealist and metaphysical styles, his mixed-media artworks boast an emotive and darkly comic aesthetic, with a wonderfully sombre and dreamlike quality. Incorporating thought-provoking themes, and using mixed materials including carbon paint blended with soy sauce, George’s work is conceptually challenging as it is technically accomplished, presenting intriguing new worlds for the viewer to contemplate.
You’ve been creating artwork for many years now. Was there anyone or anything in particular that inspired you to become an artist?
I had a supportive background. My father was an art collector with lots of friends in the arts, and my mother was an amateur artist. I was also very creative as a child. I had a vivid imagination, and I suppose everything started with me drawing cartoons during my classes at school.
What do you enjoy about printmaking over other mediums?
I do love printmaking, especially working on copper. I think what excites me the most is the fact that you might be working for a long time on a piece, but you never know the result for sure until it’s printed. In a way you’re working in uncertainty, and this takes the procedure of creation one step further.
And in what ways has your experience of Greece and the UK influenced your work?
Greece was a shit hole, but life there is easier and more relaxed if you’re an artist. I travelled a lot and lived in different places before I moved to London accidentally. The most inspiring place was Prague; I think I created my best works there. London has killed my creativity. I’ve had to work extreme hours to survive, and there is never enough space for art in the bedsits. Anyway, I’m thinking of my next destination at the moment.
Your work boasts an intriguing aesthetic. Can you tell us about any specific techniques that you’ve adopted?
There is not such a thing as a typical creative process for me, it’s always a different approach. But it definitely can’t happen anytime. Unfortunately I need extreme doses of inspiration and motivation to start working. In terms of technique, I’ve recently started painting with soy sauce. It’s a lovely product to work with on paper, and combined with charcoal it gives excellent results.
Is there anything in particular that inspires you to create?
Many things inspire me: voodoo rituals and voodoobilly. Stuff I find in the bin. Mouldy fruits, decay, deformed bodies…
Are there any common themes or concepts that run through your portfolio?
Yes there are. I’ve spotted a few. One of them is an animal. It’s not clear what it is. It looks like a dog, sometimes like a donkey or a pony. Most of the time it’s smoking a pipe, and looks like a kind and naive creature. But I have a feeling it might be an evil spirit.
Your style has a very dark and surreal feel to it. How did this develop?
I was always attracted to dark and grotesque things, so I suppose it happened naturally.
Can you tell us a little about any projects you’re working on at the moment?
I recently started a new series based on children’s books illustrations, which failed and I was really unhappy. I then bought a vintage synthesizer and started creating minimal synth tunes and soundscapes for previous works, kind of atmospheric and horror stuff. Very amusing.
And finally, what will your next artistic move entail?
I think I’d like to release a vinyl with all these sounds. That would be interesting.
To view more of George’s artwork, visit his online portfolio.
About the Artist
George Gkrekas studied printmaking at the Athens School of Fine Arts and his work has been awarded and exhibited in numerous galleries throughout Europe. Currently, he lives and works in London.