Έγινε ενημέρωση: 30 Απρ 2020
A few words about my first ever exhibition.
"Spiros Gelekas presents for the first time to the public of Corfu his works entitled "Fantasy Landscapes". A project that justifiably ranks him among the surrealists of the genre! Freedom of expression, the release of imagination with the absence of any control over logic, the absolute opposition to non-conformism, are the elements that move the artist's hand, without any element of self-censorship or moral and aesthetic limitation, thus achieving the creation of irrational and imaginary images, without necessarily a logical connection between them.
The exhibition will run from Thursday 1 to Tuesday 13 December and will be open to the public daily from 10:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 21:00. The Association of Vraganiotika, which supports the whole project, invites the people of Corfu to honor with their presence the remarkable effort, which promises much more in the near future."
“There always will be distant places you feel the need to search. Only then will you realize that you have reached somewhere and then the distance will be a sweet memory”
Spiros Gelekas 2016
My first appearance in television on CorfuTv and Start Channel:
During the exhibition more than 1000 guests visited, including very known artists, journalists, collectors, gallery owners and art lovers.
It was early 2015. I had already started painting various paintings, basically commercial. Cowardly through the internet I started selling the first paintings. I had already prepared the painting workshop with as much equipment as I could to work with. The heating and partial insulation were still missing, but with a portable radiator next to me and hot coffee in a thermos, they helped the situation. Especially in the evenings, since in the morning I was still working on decoration projects.
I had already decided to quit this job; I was just waiting for the right moment. However, whatever I earned, I spent everything in the lab, to buy materials to paint and materials to renovate the place. I have been patient for almost a year, waiting to see if there is any material left over from the constructions I was making, so that I can make some progress in my studio. Plasterboards, plasters, paint, etc.
If I was lucky I would load the car and spend the whole winter building. I added with that much money that they needed, but again, the personal work was so much and so difficult, especially with so much cold. In the morning I was forced to go to work and all I could think about was when I would continue the workshop.
2016 came and I decided to start what I loved from a young age. Make my leaving only by art. Of course I didn't have the experience or the techniques, and I knew it would take me a long time. So I gradually began to reduce my morning work, until after two months, I made the final decision to quit my job and risk taking up art. I started doing a lot of works on Fantastic and Surrealism. I had already filled several walls. I suddenly started to feel free. I may have made less money, but I also spent less. I didn't have to drive that often, I had stopped going out for coffee or food, I saved as much as I could to have materials and add things to the studio. Within a year I managed to get a refrigerator, put aluminum everywhere, a kitchen counter and finally the missing bathroom. I was wondering how I managed all this only with paintings.
In the coming November, I already had a huge collection of surrealist works. I just knew that in the winter it would be difficult. At one point, Nikos Perros, secretary of the Vraganiotika Association, visited the studio and suggested that we have an exhibition to highlight my work and the village.
I accepted with enthusiasm, but I knew nothing of all that was needed to make an exhibition. Fortunately, the Cultural Association covered a lot of the expenses, but I also put my last money literally so that the exhibition could take place.
Before I start writing about the exhibition, I want to first write a few lines about the difficulties that arose before and during it.
One very rainy day in May I was going to southern Corfu to see a new project. There was a narrow path driving inside a village, on the turn, I saw a car driving in my lane. I maneuvered at the last minute to avoid crashing. However, the car slipped with the water and fell on a wall, with the result that the damage was very great. The other driver did not stop nor did I manage to get his details. So I was left without a car for too long, until I raised the money to repair it. As I wrote above, I was now living only from art, so I didn't have a steady income and I couldn't fix that right away. So I was without a car for almost seven months. My travels are limited. Only by bike where I could cover some distances.
This also had an impact on the exhibition, because I had nothing to go and come back to, late at night as bus routes were limited. I was served by a co-worker, to carry all the works and hang them. The exhibition took part in the Municipal Theater. I had never been to the foyer before. As an idea, it seemed like something very big, for the first time, of course.
Other problems arose there. Almost half of the lights were missing and the lighting was not the best. At one point, in fact, the roof was dripping! As for heating, I was already used to the cold. For a year, I told you, I was working with a radiator hug. Working with a jacket, scarf and hat on, in a freeze studio every day, was so much used to. I remember during my paintings, I was shivering a few times more and some lines came out randomly and correctly. But now all this had been forgotten. The works were ready for the world to see. Nothing stopped me anymore. The only thing that worried me was during the exhibition, the hours when the Theater will close, where I will go without money in the rain and how I will return home late at night.
So the big day has arrived. My first solo exhibition is a fact. I had no idea how and what is the set up for an exhibition but my experience as a decorator led me to set up as appropriate as I could in the space. I had set up speakers everywhere to play the soundtrack from Lord of the Rings; I had ordered catering, wines, soft drinks, posters, new business cards, a large banner at the entrance to the Municipal Theater. I was out in the yard smoking a cigarette and looking at the banner. What business do I have here out of nowhere? No resume no experience. I remembered the interviews I gave on local television a few days ago. How did I end up with all this?
The opening time was seven in the afternoon, the first day of December. I was waiting for my friends to come. Around half past seven, ten of my guests came inside for a while and left. Somehow I thought it would go all night. I had no idea.
Within an hour the room was filled with guests, many strangers and some friends who kept me from fainting from anxiety and distress. At some point I also prepared to be a visitor and discreetly left the room, I went out in the rain trembling and smoke. There were about 250 people inside at the time. I recognized almost 50 of them. I realized that most people came to see who came to the Theater to exhibit, where did he come from and what is Fantasy? Some because they didn't believe in decorating after so many years, I would do that. Of course my friends came because it was just me. Because they knew I wanted them there with me.
I remember a few months ago, I had a discussion with my best friend about the decision to quit my old job. She told me that it would be difficult; it requires acquaintances in such a business like art. I had told her that I would not have to knock on any door. They will all come to me by their own will. At the opening that night we looked at each other from a distance, we both smiled without saying anything. We just remembered that conversation.
I just believed in myself a lot. I was sure of the theme. It was the first time that an art exhibition was held exclusively on the subject of the Fantastic. I bet on that. The people accepted it and immediately embraced it. I received many congratulations that night and during the exhibition. What I couldn't manage until that moment was that everyone was dealing with me, asking questions that I didn't have the answer to. Especially from people I had never seen before.
During the ten-day exhibition, painters, collectors and journalists from all over the island visited the lobby with great enthusiasm. In all, I had more than a thousand visitors. Each time, I wondered, did they all come for me? Why do they write about me in the newspapers? Why do they ask me for an appointment after the exhibition? And I had to deal with all this with a smile even though my legs had been suffering from the second day on wards.
Standing twelve hours a day, walking around the city for the three hours the room was closed, and the stress of someone coming home to take me home at night caught me in the grip. Some nights my father would come to pick me up and some other friends would come to visit the exhibition.
In the exhibition I met several well-known people that I had the honor to visit. Like the well-known painter Dimitris Miliotis, Michael Angelos Vradis from the Corfu Art Gallery, to which I became a member a few days later. Well-known businessmen, politicians and the then local government of the Region also came to see.
To my surprise, I gave twelve of the thirty works. So with the advance I was able to go out to lunch, or be able to have coffee during the day. I started to have hopes; especially as in the end of the exhibition was approaching. The management of the Municipal Theater helped a lot in its conduct, as much as possible, and I had the opportunity to be allowed to open on Saturdays, since they were closed as public.
With the money I made from the exhibition, I started a profession immediately, repaired the car and placed a large order of painting materials and of course renewed the workshop in the second phase. I started taking orders and I can finally prove 100% to those who said there was no way I could live on art alone. But we'll talk about that in a future blog. This first collection was a success. Not the success it had abroad, but for me it was my personal victory. I officially opened the studio and thought, after so much fatigue, difficulties that I was justified. I didn't care when I did an exhibition again. I didn't think about it at all. The only thirst I had was to learn more. Learn more techniques. I had a lot of projects on my mind. I was waiting for the moment when I would learn techniques to convey a hidden passion of mine: To create the Middle-Earth. And so I was locked in for the next six months, even though I was estranged from friends, or they were estranged, I lost a lot of relationships, erotic and not, but I had gained 30 years of "lost time"…