Five questions to Kostas Papakostas

Five questions to Kostas Papakostas

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Kostas Papakostas is a London based multidisciplinary artist, working predominantly in painting and video. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design and he is an award winning Creative Director. In 2019, he became a full-time artist, and he’s never looked back.

How did you get into art?

I believe that art got into me, rather than the other way around. As a child, being left alone making stuff has always felt a safe and exciting place to be. And it still does.

Painting, writing, sculpting, taking pictures or making videos has always been a way for me to make sense of the world and the essence of life.

How would you describe your style? What makes your art special?

My work is a result of visceral body movements. Our bodies carry our memories, our traumas, our love, our history and our ancestors' history. My work is an endless flow, trace, move and stir made by single or multiple gestures of monochromatic brushstrokes. My work does not intend to offer resolutions or proclaim conclusions but to remain in a constant flux, sparking an emotional cue that brings the viewer ‘home’.
To me, every painting is a story in its most intimate and truthful form.

How do you go about developing your work?

I don’t plan my paintings in advance. They are the result of an intuitive process. I make my own brushes and I like working with monochromatic shades. During my process I try to minimise any decision making. I work on the floor and I move continuously around the surface creating layers with intuitive gestures until the painting breaks free from my control and starts to develop its own destiny. This is when it all happens.

I never go back to make corrections or changes.

Each work is a statement of a particular moment in time. One can find similarities of my process with the Chinese abstract calligraphic expression and the Zen asemic writing tradition that bypass formal representation and arise from the state of "no-mind," in which thought, emotions, and expectations do not matter.

Who or what influences you? 

Nature and the human condition influence me. The continuous motion of the sea, an old man sitting alone on a bench at Hackney Marshes, a single mother pushing a buggy through the traffic on a rainy day in Walthamstow, my 2 year old son looking at something for the first time, my Japanese maple tree that dies and is reborn year after year. Love, time and impermanence influence me. My own mortality inspires me and devastates me all at once.

What are you planning to do next?

I’ve just wrapped up a solo show in Seoul and am currently working on a new series for a show in the US.

This winter I am planning on taking a residency in Indonesia to learn about traditional painting techniques and about making my own pigments.

In terms of where my practice takes me next, to be honest I have very little control of it. I’m curious to see and I hope you are too!