An Interview With: Timis Stamatiadis
Who are you and where did you study?
My name is Timis Stamatiadis, I come from Greece and I studied at Edinburgh College in Ediburgh-Scotland from the course BA in Professional Photography.
What is your artist statement for this body of work?
The project is called "Phenomena" and is a project with social and political context with the ultimate purpose of describing, informing and raising awareness about emerging behaviours and social trends in the world today, through my own prism and twist.
The substance/matter of subject and focus of this project is people and society and as such my ambition was to create a visual socioeconomic study of the world, by recreating visual representations of behaviours using symbols and allegories.
The foundation or better the central idea of the project “Phenomena” is the questioning of the modern individual’s value system of the world he/she lives in and the respective behaviours as a result of it. However, the principal aim of this project is to present a certain problematic, raise awareness and offer a visual reconstruction of behaviours that will serve as a starting point for the viewer’s self-reflection and questioning.
The vehicle, however, to achieve those aims is a narrative where strong visual elements present a story and create a conceptual structure that serve as a mirror where the viewer will be able to identify him/herself and thus redefine and question certain behaviours.
What genre would you class this series to be?
The majority of my work can be characterised as conceptual still life photography although someone has to be very careful with the use of those words as a lot of debate has been raised lately about the fluid borders of genres, both artistic and commercial.
A lot of your imagery use vibrant colours, how do you think this promotes your aim?
Indeed, I am a big fun of the movement of Fauvism and their bold use of colour.However in photography and specifically in my work I do want to experiment with primary colours and try to find creative ways in matching my colour palette. On the other hand I do believe that in my case the colour compliments the context of my messages and I believe it works as a threshold in capturing the viewers attention before exploring the content of the image. So, yes colour for me is as important as the content and in the project "Phenomena" colour is an important factor.
Your work must take a lot of preparation, how do you prepare to make an image like these?
Still life photography requires a meticulous planning and execution. Every object used must be as flawless as possible but at the same time there is a lot of time spent on composing and experimenting with angles and light set-ups. Sometimes an elaborate scaffolding must be created that can take up to several hours. As an example the work of "Beef Tomatoes" took 5 kgs of minced meat in order to create 4 visually appealing meatballs. Not to mention the amount of hours spent in post-production to correct all the imperfections. It is a painful and time-consuming process but very rewarding at the same time. In conclusion, patience, persistence and experimentation are 3 basic ingredients of my work.
Where do you find your inspiration for your images?
Inspiration is everywhere, especially if you observe people and their habits in my case their consuming habits. I am very interested in the globalised market our world has become and how hyper-consumerism has defined the way we treat the globe but also the way that industry responds to hyper-consumerism. I want to recreate behaviours, criticise them and offer them back to the viewer. Politics is also a big source of inspiration.
Who inspired you style?
Oddly enough Barbara Kruger has played an important role in shaping my style. Her conceptual art and the way she forms her messages offered me a platform to create a different, purely visual manner in criticising the world through photography. Through research and studying the science of semiotics I try to redefine the meaning of visual elements in constructing an image and advertising is the place to look. Soviet era propaganda posters are also a great source of inspiration in terms of composition and use of colour. Definitely though, Edward Burtynski and Andreas Gursky are two artists that I keep a close eye on.
Is the project finished or is it ongoing?
The project 'Phenomena" is an ongoing project for me since technology and hyper-consumerism seem to escalate with new thirsty middle-class people from emerging economies seem to adopt the frenzy of the failed Western World function of markets. So, yes I believe this project will perpetually evolve.
What is the best piece of advice you could give the viewers of The Pupil Sphere?
As a recent graduate myself I have only one piece of advice to give to all fellow graduates out there: Chase your dream and feed your soul with whatever makes you breathe artistically. It is hard, we all know that, but doing your art makes life easier and can potentially change the world by inspiring change!