The design community of Greece as a whole “hits a card” at the first illustration festival that opens its doors from September 3 at the Melina Cultural Center (Iraklidon 66, Thiseio, 21 0345 2150). For a full ten days (until 12/9), designs, colors and ideas come alive in the analog and digital canvases of artists, who, like a pulsating beehive, finding a first-class opportunity to share their talent and passion, to define new creators , but also to talk to the audience of an art that is all around us but does not receive as much recognition as it deserves.
“We started without knowing exactly what audience we will find in Greece, apart from people like us, who really liked to see all this. In a few months, he discovers people who were waiting for him, how and how “, he explains Anastasia Terzidou, a founding member of the Hundred Worlds team behind the festival. Her professional collaboration with Rafaela Karagianni, four years earlier, brought to the surface their common interest in illustration and, after a first exhibition in Larissa, the project began to take on (two-dimensional) flesh and blood.
In 2018, the third member of the company was found. “THE Sebastiano Mion is an Italian businessman by the way, who lived for many years in Venice, near the village where “Le immagini della fantasia” takes place, the exhibition he brings to the festival. He had, in fact, made a smaller attempt at an exhibition, “Illustrasyros”, as part of Animasyros in 2018, where we met. Somehow, from ’18, we started talking about what is happening in this industry in our country and how we could connect artists we know abroad with actions in Greece, until “Illustradays” was born in the first quarantine“, Rafaella narrates.
Leaving aside the difficulties of starting a new event through the pandemic (from funding to “policing” certificates), the big question was whether there is a “community” concept for Greek illustration, given that the majority of the world thinks first as products of children’s book covers and advertising campaigns, with a more useful than exhibition character. Indeed, illustration applications can start in children’s literature, but extend to adults as well, such as the new Icarus series, and reach to e-shops with posters and prints, fabric prints and publishing fashion – the latest, of course, mainly abroad.
Observed, in fact, a wider tendency of “adulthood” of all animated forms, coming out of the narrow mold of… “mickey mouse”. Whether it’s cinematic textbooks like Animasyros with its fanatical audience that it meets every year in Ermoupolis, or more specialized events like ComicDom, which has taken on the role of “big brothers” for Illustradays, design, animated or not, is now recognized as an equal art form.
“In Greece, when you say illustration, the other person thinks of these fairy tales, there are so many possibilities that it is a pity that they are so limited”, Anastasia agrees. “That is one of the purposes of the festival: to open it, to discuss what these applications are and how many we do not even have to think about.” “When we started,” adds Rafaela, “I had a sense of community in Greece, with the help and our artistic director, Fotini Tikkou, who works in the field and knows many illustrators. The most important, however, were the open call applications. It is our first festival, it has no built social media, image or name, and it was a big surprise all these participations we received “.
Was it the quarantine that lit up the house of creativity or did the open call simply offer the channel for its channeling? Anastasia bets on the second. “Many of the messages they received wrote that the creators, similarly, wanted to show their work, they did not have a similar festival. This was evident from the diversity of the participations, both in terms of the practices and the previous works of the illustrators: it was a mixture of people, well-known and rising, who lacked a voice. The issue of quarantine played a key role in the conception of this year’s theme “How do you imagine the next day”, even though he did not think about the need after the pandemic. ”
The original idea of the organizers was to look optimistically at the next day of humanity, not just the future after Covid. That is why we see in the poster of Fotini Tikkou, which adorns our cover, so many happy, unique people, crowded, doing “everyday” things: a scene both familiar and foreign in the last year. In a way, the poster is a preview of the live hive that will be created next week at the festival grounds.
Divided into four sections, the program is aimed at both professionals and children, adults and children, attempting in his first version to map the vast waters of domestic illustration and to survey the public’s preferences for future actions. In the Ilustrastories section, we will see three exhibitions: “Le immagini della fantasia” with the participation of 21 international artists and honorary offering Éric Puybare, author and illustrator of favorite children’s books such as “Moon Cover” and “Red Stilts”, next day with which emerged from the open result and were selected from the critical repetition of that of Fotini Tikkou entitled “How many colors do people come in?”. At the same time, there is an open library with works signed by festival participants.
Meeting and creation corners are important for the event. As part of the Illustraclub section, an artist corner will be hosted in collaboration with Moleskine, where the artists will be drawn on stories given to them by the audience., while the Illustratalents wall will result in a networking point between professionals and creators. Of course, I could not miss the workshops (especially for children) and the lectures. Imaginary Rooms will be created with doodle art and character design, Iris Samartzi will make books from pizza boxes and Babis Alexiadis will guide the little illustrators in the field of animation.
Adults will have the opportunity to learn from Clotilde Perrin her technique of “putting our personality on paper” and by the illustrator Honda Hadadi the art of collageFinally, within Illustratalks, illustrators from different fields will take the microphone, presented from publishing illustrations and the lack of Greece or networking through a comic book festival (Elias Katirtzigianoglou) to textile design (Thanos)) and utilitarian information for the development of e-shop and social media account (Fotini Tikkou).
They said about the festival
“Such a festival can be an important point of inspiration for artists, bring them in contact with colleagues and act as a means of status for those who would like to work professionally in the field.” Fotini Tikkou, art director of the festival
“For me, as an illustrator living in France, this festival is an amazing opportunity to step out of my studio and meet new, passionate artists.” Eric Puybaret, illustrator and author
“Illustradays is an opportunity to visualize our common world, through the special eye of every illustrator.” Iris Samartzi, illustrator
“What offers a colorful and creative celebration, a meeting of artists in order to inspire and not to be inspired.” Filippos Avramidis, illustrator