Dimitri Kolioussis, the Santorini icon painter whose do the job has been exhibited close to the earth, is a quirky fellow– intelligent, with a fast wit and some would say, a bit eccentric.
By Michael Ermogenis
Kolioussis performs 12 months round in his subterranean studio in the heart of Oia, a room that has an ambience completely suited to his artwork and identity. His work surrounds him along the cave partitions and the place is normally filled with the sound of the classical or Byzantine audio he loves.
Kolioussis was born in the stunningly attractive, but seldom visited region of Epirus in northwest Greece. His desire in drawing/portray begun in childhood — and he is solely self-taught.
As a youngster his experiences in the tiny remote churches in the mountains of Epirus produced a lasting perception on him. He admits to sensation mesmerized by the mix of imagery and audio when remaining inside some of the historic church buildings and little chapels in the distant aspect of Greece in which he was raised.
He grew to enjoy Byzantine art, tunes and architecture. He describes it as a fusion of historic Greek, Roman and Middle Japanese artwork kinds that has huge depth, background and indicating.
Painter can make Santorini dwelling
At the age of 21 he resolved that portray was to be his vocation in lifestyle, whilst he was continue to envisioned to lead toward sustaining his family. He managed to vacation as a result of Europe and ultimately visited Santorini by boat in 1978.
The island was then vastly distinct from its contemporary, cosmopolitan self that it is currently, and amenities have been quite standard. He was permit out of the ferry down below the village of Oia, on to a more compact boat which at the time brought readers to shore. From sea stage he looked up and noticed the cliffs of Oia for the very first time…. and he understood. This was the place!
Thirty a long time afterwards, the Santorini icon painter even now life and performs in Oia, developing some of the most effective artwork in the earth in his hugely specialized area. He will work with materials that, in his phrases, have “history and character.” These include things like previous doors, previous picket window shutters and parts of timber that he treats & prepares by himself, prior to utilizing them as his canvas.
When requested if he has an impression in intellect first, and then appears to be for the appropriate piece of timber, he pauses. “Not always…sometimes the aged timber tells me what need to be on it.”
Looking around his studio one will get the sensation that there is a good deal of discussion that goes on involving artist and old timber. The photos appear to in good shape the character of his wooden canvases completely.
Although he has painted with oils he favors the classical approach of egg tempera. It is the approach of implementing egg yolk (with out the membrane) and powder pigments. It’s a painstaking procedure, but coupled with the exquisite gold & silver leaf gilding and the meticulous preparation of the aged timber surfaces, it creates gorgeous results.
Every single of the archangels he painted not too long ago is portrayed on a different outdated door. The element (specified the medium on which it is painted) is exquisite.
Function exhibited all in excess of the environment
The Santorini icon painter’s do the job has been exhibited all over the planet, and Covid allowing, he will quickly start out once more. But a whole lot of his specific work is even now hidden, at least from public check out. Around the several years he has been commissioned to paint some of the most excellent non-public chapels in Greece and other nations, as perfectly as frescos for villas.
He is also commissioned by church buildings as nicely as worldwide collectors.
Obtaining put in fairly a handful of winters in Oia the artist and I have generally sat more than coffee or an ouzo (or each) and philosophized about the point out of nations, metropolitan areas, geopolitics, the world overall economy and any individual else we believed had a dilemma that demanded our priceless input.
His brain is brief, his understanding wide and his concepts highly innovative, as one would hope. I often puzzled what he does in wintertime when there is no one to talk to and then I recognized these:
Parts of his cave wall are coated in pencil-written rates, suggestions, ideas and opinions. It is a own graffiti of kinds. I have asked him about the writings, and he shrugged: “just random thoughts” he reported.
But these are not just random drivel. They are pretty personal thoughts, poetry and viewpoints held at the time. Something but random. The wall just happened to be his companion on the day.
I have constantly thought that fantastic/good artists are children at heart. Some openly declare it (Steven Spielberg) and other folks disguise it.
I asked Kolioussis what he beloved in the arts. He described modern artwork, architecture, tunes and all the good painters. Then he sat again and explained: “But what provides me the most satisfaction are the drawings of small children.” Extravagant that…
I did not want to intrude any more time so I advised the Santorini icon painter that I required to ask him a few of concerns I have been inquiring people for years. If I were to make a movie about you…who would you like to engage in YOU? DK: “Hm…. a country peasant,” he replied.
When questioned ‘What’s a single detail you consider to be definitely genuine, but just can’t show it?’ he replies “A fourth dimension.”
So, pricey reader. Picture this. It’s wintertime, and there is no person in the village other than me and this quirky man who paints icons. Just so occurs that he paints quite, really perfectly, is a printed “wall-author,” he’s modest (at least often) and he can perception the fourth dimension.
I really do not know about you, but he does not seem like a poor man or woman to have coffee with or an ouzo, or both. In any order…
Michael Ermogenis is a administration consultant and strategic advisor to the Santorini Chamber of Commerce. He lived in Oia for twelve many years and is the founding member of the “Save Oia” Campaign. He is also the founding member of the Mediterranean Alliance, which involves the localities of Venice, Oia, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Rhodes & Crete.