Interview 002: George Kanis
"Everything can be consider as art in a specific context and at the same time none if they don’t make any profit out of it. Art its not about money , it must have a soul , a cause and have an impact in our society."
What is your definition of ART, What does your work aim to say, ?
Currently, I’ve been involved in many projects with different subjects so it’s really hard to tell you what’s exactly but I’m focusing mostly on my “death to symbols” project which is about my interpretation of universal and socially constructed symbols/icons and stripping them from their traditional definitions and reinventing them. It’s like jungian analysis but through painting & photography, picking an archetype and play with it.
What does does being an Artist mean to you?
Hmm thats a tricky one ! Being an artist means being a human at the same time , I try to keep it really simply thats its not job ! I am who I am and I try to express myself first and then set some unanswered questions of whats happening around me. So what feels to me it feels like I am always naked and exposed to the world.
In regards to Inner and Outer, do you feel your outer reflects you authentically.
The most of my work I believe it does , of course as human being I had also my failures and the bad judge of trying to approach things in a way that industries orders you to do ( its an honest mistake I believe lots of artists do ) , but here I am . I made some mistakes I may do more in the future but at least ill be proud that my work reflects in its majority of who I am and what I Ama trying to say
What enabled you to be where you are currently as an artist?
My childhood played the major role on that . I have faced a really abusive background so I had to start actually work since I was 13 years old. I felt alone there was always a huge emotional gap in me that no one could actually make me feel whole . Arts sets my mind and my soul free makes me feel whole and I can dream again .No dream has a value if you can’t share it with other people or the whole world , so if you are a young artist the only thing I have to say to you don’t afraid to exposed yourself , be honest of who you are , honour your scars and keep showing who you are , people have to love you for who you really are and not who you pretend to be.
How have you developed your career, What gave you the desire and push to create and be an artist?
To be honest it was a primal instinct , I was paining non stop as a child and then at high school I start practising photography , then came the video art - installations , my studies in architecture and interior / product design. Ive successfully complete a mini circle of experiments and try to fit someplace found a proper work with a steady income etc but thats not who I am , therefore I returned to my roots . I can’t survive without expressing myself through painting . Both painting and photography gave me voice , a voice that I can use for a better world with no discrimination & racism and thats the only thing I am willing to put all my energy even that it means I may struggle economical for the rest of my life.
What does Art mean to you?
As a term ? Nothing at all ! Nowadays its not such a powerful word anymore. Everything can be consider as art in a specific context and at the same time none if they don’t make any profit out of it. Art its not about money , it must have a soul , a cause and have an impact in our society.
How do you feel your Art will evolve/ You envision your Artist directions will be?
I honestly don’t know , I always feel it as a living orgasm , the only thing I wish and I hope at the same time is to leaning towards the proper way for a better and brighter future .
Tell me how your creative process works?
They are 2 possibles scenarios on that , one is that I have already described above , me trying to finish a project thats heading nowhere and the see what went wrong and set me free to be direct on my approach in my next project . The other scenario is to see someone or maybe read the news or maybe something happens to my personal life that I want to express it in my own way , so mostly my work focus on an open dialogue towards anyone .
What is your thoughts on the Arts industry, both past present and future?.
Don’t get me started...Nowadays it's just another industry so rich people cam make more money . Bad to the old days it was a hobby for the intellectuals and the extremely rich ones but the were at least open to new ideas and promote the “different / unexpected “ in the Art world. Art industry was and still is the most unfair industry of all. When you are part of the industry it may give you some more possible ways of freedom to do your work but it becomes just a plain meaningless job . Money have the tendency to destroy everything in our capitalist system. Although I am negative towards to Art industry that doesn’t mean it has a lot of good things too , they just need to focus on supporting and promoting the right people , so there is a balance of creativity / talent and cause in this industry .
Who are your biggest influences?
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Willem de Kooning, Yayoi Kusama, Francis Bacon, Mark Rothko.
If you could ask the viewer anything, what would you ask them whilst looking at your work/coming across your work?
Try to focus on each brushstroke , try to read whats was happening in the process , I want them to cry with me , to laugh with me , to love with me and I really want to be connected with my viewer . If they can’t feel anything at all we can’t open a dialogue of whats actually happening .
How do you stay focused with each project, especially considering the recent pandemics?
I don’t some days I am struggling and pushing myself to go on , these days the output of my work its just a big laugh but at least I am keep practising . We all think we need to stick out from the rest we have to be the ones we have to create masterpieces and destroy the competition. Well when it comes to art there is no competition at all you only compete yourself and who you are so I try to love all and each of my failures , learn my lesson and keep doing whats makes me smile keep painting .
So although I had more bad days than good ones through the pandemic I didn’t quit I just tried to be honest , meaning , its a shitty situation its okay to do shitty things but at least you express yourself and thats really therapeutical . Although I was alone it didn’t felt like that through the process of creating so I definitely encouraging more people to try to be creative through difficult times no matter the output , just enjoy the journey .
Do you eel the same? If so why do you feel this is so, and if not how do you stay confident with each works you put out?
Okay lets keep this simply lets say we go out to bar and nobody flirt with me that day although I was looking at my best , what does this mean ? That I have no value ? Cetain not ! Its the place - the crowd - the time. Success is so random and sometimes pure luck ! At the same example lest say we had attend the bar next to the one we went and there I met the love of my life and lived my fairytale ever since , does that makes me special or better than others? Not at all again, it just happened me being in the right
place the right time. So we all have to stop worrying so much about success because we may never meet it ! Who can quarantine you a career ? Maybe after you are dead all your work may end up at the museums . If you are in this industry for the fame and the cocktails parties you picked up the worst industry of all for that cause its pure luck the most times.
How has the pandemic impacted your creativity.
In a bad and in a good way at the same time . Being in a lockdown its not the ideal environment to feel creative , but leaving with the constant fear of something bad would may happen the next day made be more productive and try to do more projects in order to express my current emotional state.
What is your future plans as an Artist?
There is none . I always try to be up to date by this I mean the
future is uncertain and so am I . I always try to have also a cause in the most of ongoing projects . Show me the future and I can tell you my plans. Always the world we are leaving at has a huge impact - influence on us.
What do you feel needs to change most about the Arts industry?
Well our world its not a fair place to live , if not society changes first I don’t see any industry changing anytime soon. Especially the art industry that they already making tons of money.. It's a successful business so why changing ? If we are talking about the ideal is really simply : equality ! Equal opportunities for everyone.
Where do you envision your art to be in future? What are your future plans with your work and how does it feel to par ways with your work?
Artist always have a similar idea of not feeling as if their work is as magnificent as the viewer, the concept of being hard on oneself is a familiar pre judgement of artist.
How do you stay motivated considering the Art’s industry having its own conforming issues?
They will always be the right people that you can do something together , you don’t need the whole industry by your side just few people that you can trust and sharing the same values . I always feel motivated cause I do believe if you are fighting with the right people even if you lose its worthing the effort . Everything we do or say has an impact to the world ,maybe the industry will never change that doesn’t mean we have to step back but the right opposite we have to do everything we can so we can gain voice.
What is your method to stay inspired / completing projects?
Well I always have to push me to do things , I can give 2 million reasons why I should stay on bed all day rather than working and at the same time I feel guilty of none doing anything , so you see am not a role model for things like this. There is no method at all I know although maybe I don’t have the energy or the will to be productive that if I push myself and do it then ill be happier than I was before. So I always try to complete my projects even if I see there are heading anywhere because I am bored. That exactly moment that I have finished and I don’t like it it already a past for
me , I see what went wrong and beginning my new project instantly that I now know what exactly I want to do. I never believed that inspiration will pay me a random visit so I always try to be productive no matter what and then you come with and idea after trying many times .
Do you wish your work embody/narrate anything in particular to the viewer? If so why and what?
Yes of course first of all to take the shame away ! We are all different we have to accept it and embrace it and at the same time to accept and respect the rest of the people who are also different as weselves are. I proudly explore questions of class, gender and race. I dream a world of no discrimination where we are all equals .
How does it feel being apart of a movement naturally, as an artist that doesn't conform to suit society?
Being part of something unique, different and so supportive is an amazing feeling. Being invited to create something unique is liberating. Having such trust and support, and encouragement to be whatever you want to be is exactly what we all need.
Where would you like to see your works hanging ?
Everywhere even to the places I dislike ! We always think becoming commercial its not the “good” success . Well when it comes to art you can’t to people what to like and why , it personal ! Everyone like what they like , simply as that . If its a museum obviously it would be the ideal place to be since its dedicated to arts. If its a fast food place it would be again the same pleasure for me seeing my art hanging there . We are all people and art must be for everyone and not for the “elite”.
After reflecting on 2020, how do you feel 2021 will impact your creative process?
If my viewers feel any connection with my work most possible we will be crying together in the 2021 when we review my projects. I will try to be more creative / productive and accurate of what I am trying to say . We need a change , everything that happening
around us leaning backwards and in a bad way , I feel like I need to react and head the opposite direction.
If you could ask the viewer anything, what would you ask them whilst looking at your work/coming across your work?
I prefer for a viewer to open up, so my question probably is something like: How are you feeling?
"I want them to cry with me , to laugh with me , to love with me and I really want to be connected with my viewer.."
"Being invited to create something unique is liberating. Having such trust and support, and encouragement to be whatever you want to be is exactly what we all need. "
"Don’t forget we are all able to paint to dance to sing whatever since we were kids , so focus in the primal feeling and enjoy it. You don’t need to be a pro to be creative , the only difference is that a pro put tons of hour of work and practise other than just practising as a hobby and of course lots of time, creating a pure talent ."
" We always think becoming commercial its not the “good” success . Well when it comes to art you can’t to people what to like and why , it personal ! Everyone like what they like , simply as that. "
See George Kanis work online...