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SPRING 2014 • $4.95

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2 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2014


Awakening Sun, Acrylic on canvas, 48”x 48”

GARSOT SPEAKS

“STAY OPTIMISTIC” INTERVIEW BY JAMIE ELLIN FORBES 3 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2014


Space Symphony, Acrylics on canvas, 48” x 48”

“My work is designed to create an environment for the viewer to expand their mind, to put their thoughts into my work, to explore and communicate with me.”

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cclaimed globally as a master of creativity, Sotirios Gardiakos, who paints under the name “GARSOT,” never strays far from his Greek heritage and love for the history and mythology of his native land. His artistic career began there when, at the tender age of three, he was so taken by his father’s drawing of a goat at a cafe table in his native village of Valta near Filliatra (a most scenic locale between sea and mountains that produces luscious fruit for export to all of Europe), that he knew then and there the direction his life would take. Shortly thereafter, in a kindergarten classroom, the teacher could not believe that what Sotirios handed in was not traced from a book and insisted the lad stand before the class and recreate the work live for all to see on the blackboard. Needless to say, his second rendering was every bit as good as the first and he was on his way. Art has taken him around the world and while he is currently headquartered in Chicago’s Greek Town (320 S. Halsted Ave.), he has recently become a well-recognized personality and exhibitor on the Art Fair circuit from Manhattan to Miami with many future stops planned. His current tour began in 2013 at New York City’s just4 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2014

opened beautiful north wing of the Javits Center where his engaging energy and smile lit up a drab convention hall with the creative force of a solar flare. Later in the season, in South Florida at the Spectrum Miami show, his work shone as brightly as the tropical sun, resulting in major sales. His latest paintings are displayed at Booth #103 at the New York Artexpo April 4, 2014 and more stops on the tour will soon be announced. Fine Art Magazine publisher Jamie Ellin Forbes met Garsot in Miami where she conducted, an in-depth video interview in which the artist discusses his paintings with inimitable charm and earnest concerns for major topics of the day. Style and form, content and message are delivered in a series of paintings developed over a lifetime of love and respect for art and the philosophical and mystical heritage of his homeland. Garsot is an artist who paints from the heart. His work is timeless and could fit in any era of art history. Regardless of subject matter, each of his paintings is masterfully rendered with wit, depth and a nod not only to his own heritage, but to that of his untold ancestors from Dali and Picasso to the cave painters of ancient times, whose work he will re-visit on his next visit to Greece. He brings

it all into the now with a consummate professionalism and genuineness rare in today’s culture of instant gratification and hit and run commerce. “As observers peel away layer after layer of his dramatically engineered paintings, conversations between artist and viewer – whether in person or through the art itself – are wonderfully engaged,” commented John Apostolou, Garsot’s agent and publisher. “The ensuing dialog has created an ever-expanding collector base that anxiously awaits Garsot’s next artistic statement. Multiple Garsots hanging in a home are the rule, rather than the exception.” While poets have written limitless stanzas about Prometheus, Adonis, Aphrodite, et al, Garsot stands as the eternal artist whose imagery could easily decorate an ancient vase, one that has withstood the test of time, immortalized by Keats in these timeless stanzas from Ode On A Grecian Urn. When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Following is Fine Art Magazine publisher Jamie Ellin Forbes’ interview with Garsot. —VBF


Aphrodite’s Dream, Acrylic on canvas, 36” x 48”

“I do not have any boundaries that say to me ‘I can’t do this!’ That’s why I try to do something new every time. This is very important..my statement is that Beauty and Truth will be forever victorious through the Arts for the glory of humanity. Nothing can beat the arts! The rest is the darker side…money, politics, conflict, control. GARSOT: My real name is Gardiakos Sotirios. I created a new name for the people to remember because anything easy works better. JEF: You started painting at a very early age… GARSOT: I was about three when I started to have feelings about art. My father and his friend were having an Ouzo in my home village,Valta. He was drawing something on the top of a table and when he was finished he picked me up and said, “Look what I did!” When I saw the finished work — it was a goat — that was a very special moment for me. I thought this a was a great kind of way to do whatever I had to do in my life and then I started drawing all the time just to become like my father. J: What did you study at the university? G: Fine Arts in Greece and then I went to south Africa to study sculpture. J: Your paintings reflect not only the colors of Greece but of South Africa and beyond. G: I get something from anywhere and everywhere I have been. JEF: You weave in the culture. Many of 5 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2014

your paintings have classical Greek mythology and you also bring in animal Pantheism as a force of nature. G: My work is also about the celebration of Women. I like to depict the image of woman from classic to modern to surreal and any other form of expression to express my feelings that the woman should be in the center of the stage and all the lights and all the eyes of the world should be watching her and appreciating her appearance. That, I am convinced, is very important for humanity J: What I notice most about your paintings is that there is a dichotomy between fluid lines and figurative representation and then you abstract to tell your story. It’s the composition of molding or joining the abstraction with the figurative pieces to lend plane and spatial concept, inviting people into an idea that makes the work so special. You are conveying an inner vision. G: My goal is to catch the interest of the viewer by expressing my inner feelings so that the people, when they see how it is finally going to look catch the entirety of my

artistic statement. Then I know I am doing it right. J: So it is a state of the art statement as in, for example, Celestial Celebration where she is rising out of the celestial primordial mix. G: She is a dancer, but she doesn’t need to be a dancer. The feeling is there. She is not just a dancer, she is smart enough to get forward in the future, expressed with a mask and gloves. Independent always she doesn’t give herself to just anyone. She is also making an environmental statement in that she doesn’t want to touch the water because she feels the water should be a clean. J: So it is an environmental statement also. In Aphrodite’s Dream, the goddess of beauty and love is portrayed with roses, a waterfall, perfume… G: You know what? I think I know a little bit about women and so I believe every woman is an Aphrodite and I believe she wants to show off this idea. That is why when I talk about Woman, and paint them, I don’t complete her face so that every woman can say ‘Ah, This is me.’


J: In The Dance of Earth and Sky… G: … you can see the galaxy of the stars. Symbolically of course. It is a big story — the mythology of creation in my style. J: Gorgons, is a Miami kind of painting with mermaids playing music over waves, Miami. Space Symphony is another beautiful piece. G: I imagine actors coming to perform with an orchestra. The planets are placed like notes, the musicians take the harmony of the notes, playing amidst all the lighting effects specially created for this event: Space Symphony. J: Here is Genesis. G: Yes, Genesis, a sign of life. Life starts from the most smallest particle of matter, Then we have expansion. I express it with different colors and depths. J: How about Labyrinth? G: I call this one The Circuits of Life. In life, whatever we do is a labyrinth. We go here, there and everywhere to find solutions. I depict the ideas with colors and shapes. J: In your fantasy works, you are presenting us with very definite themes, as in The Last Day of the Demon. G: Yes, here is something that is very common to every one of us. My message is that everybody has something that is bothering them. It could be personal or political and you want to go away from this difficulty and find a solution. So this is the last day of something that is negative. J: You slay your own demons. G: Yes, yes, yes. Everybody has the chance one day to have a great opportunity to be out of this problem. J: You have a moment in life where any day could be your greatest when you slay your last demon and make a great life change. G: Bravo. J: How about Eternal Youth. Here you sign with your given name. G: Yes, my real name. This was done in 1994, the last year I used Sotirios Gardiokos. J: In Aphrodite Today you portray a very liberated version of the goddess. G: Yes, you can see she is colorful, she is moving and has many interests in life, especially the environment. She likes to have pristine seas and pristine waters, and this is very important. The woman of today does this. J: You continue your environmental message with Galloping on Water. G: Yes. I can’t stress this enough: this is one of the most important

paintings for the environment and I want people to understand,to really pay attention. If we have pollution on the water, sea, lakes or rivers all this (marine) life is going to go away. We have to pay for that. If we have pollution in the air we are breathing, the same thing will happen, and then if we have pollution in space with chemicals or bombs this is also no good so we are galloping on the water. What do we have to do? Find the best solutions and make the environment the best we can and then we will enjoy the ride

Aphrodite Today, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 48”

Mermaids, Raised acrylics on canvas, 32” x 32”

6 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2014

Celestial Celebration #2, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 36”


Whale and Dolphins, Acrylic on canvas, 50” x 30”

before it is too late. J: Excellent. Very nice. How about the still life, Flowers? G: I have done many different Flowers, I love flowers and so do the people J: The sun is also an important theme for you. G: You want to expand your curiosity, your way of thinking, and of course I like to put some kind of action in to make it more interesting, at least visually, and people are quite excited about this. J: So It’s a expanding your vision, a mental explosion. How about Secret Tryst? G: In 1988 I showed with Picasso, Miro, Erté and Dali on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. Everybody is influenced by somebody else and this is my tribute to the styles of Picasso and Dali. J: Hypnotic Moon is another important piece. G: This is about the moon when it is full, when everybody is really excited. In the village, the people are at the peak of expression. They see the moon, they are warming up. J: You have the circle in the square for the moon, what does that represent to you? G: I like to modernize ancient ideas. The moon is always round, round, round. Let’s make it at least square with soft corners. This is how I feel. People see the moon, they have ideas of getting together, female and male, come to the point that everything

Melodica, Acrylic on canvas, 48”x 36” 7 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2014

The Genesis, Acrylic and resins on canvas, 48” x 48”

Galloping On Water, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 60”


Backstage Model, 36” x 48” Acrylic on canvas

Flowers, Acrylic on canvas, 36” x 36”

Eternal Youth, Acrylic on canvas, 42” x 42” 8 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2014

is coming together in some kind of energy. J: How many years have you been painting? G: All my life. When I was seven years old at school, the teacher said ‘Now we have an hour to draw something, anything you want.’ I wanted to make something to impress everybody. I didn’t know what to do until I saw a book with a graceful horse and said to myself, ‘This is the image that I have to make.’ I made it


Hypnotic Moon, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 48”

What are you planning to create next? My goal is to create “Back to the Caves”, which will become the greatest art project ever produced in modern Greece. It will take place in the miles of caves hidden away in the mountains of my village, a vision that my father instilled into me from childhood stories. I envision hundreds of artists working there, depicting Greek mythology, the Olympic spirit and fantasy works that will be constantly worked on through expansion, conservation and historic preservation.My vision is for monolithic sized paintings using cave walls as the canvas. This is my dream and will become my biggest work. and the time came when the teacher had all the artwork from everybody When she saw my work she said, ‘Sotirios don’t do that again.’ ‘What did I do wrong?’ I responded in a very timid voice because at that time they could beat you, not like today. I was 9 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2014

scared. She said, ‘You know what you did.’ She thought I traced it. I said, ‘No I didn’t do anything like that.’ She said, ‘Just go and stay there in your place because I don’t want you to lie to me.’ ‘No I didn’t lie,” I replied. ‘If you want to prove to me that you really

did it, you will have to come to the blackboard and draw it again.’ I said, ‘Yes I will come.’ I took a long look at the book and started drawing on the blackboard. When I finished, all the students applauded. That was really something special. Then and


John Apostolou (Garsot’s agent & publisher), Artblend Gallery owners Michael and Elaine Joseph with Garsot at his recent opening in Fort Lauderdale

GARSOT Artblend Exhibition Opening

Collectors Tony and Alina Gonzalez “I want to extend a very special thanks to John, Eva and Joanna Apostolou; my special thanks to Fred Porro, Tony and Alina Gonzalez, William and Beverly Sioutis, Bob & Stella who are new collectors of my work in 2014. Eric Smith, Rick Barnett and Geoff Fox from Redwood Media Group, Christopher Primbas my dedicated historian for 20 years, Michael and Elaine Joseph from Artblend in Ft. Lauderdale and Jamie Forbes and Victor Forbes from Fine Art Magazine and to all our friends, art collectors and supporters. Please visit me this year at Art Expo NY, April 4-6 at Pier 94, booth 103. Stay forever optimistic!” – Garsot 10 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2014

PHOTOS BY JAMIE ELLIN FORBES

Interview with GARSOT, Artexpo New York 2014  

Fine Art Magazine publisher Jamie Ellin Forbes conducts an in-depth interview with the marvelously eloquent artist Garsot, discussing his li...

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