Balkan Art Scene
Lex Pan (Alexandra Panagiotidou) — Emotions Are Headlights That Lead Us to Understanding Ourselves
Author: Hana Tiro
How did your visual arts journey start?
I have been drawing as long as I can remember myself, I have always used drawing and painting as a form of self therapy even when I was younger I remember that I was always producing very emotional work, feelings, ideas that I couldn’t really express in any other way, it had always been my getaway, however I never really thought I would be doing this for a living; my dream was to become an actress, that is why my studies were solely based in Theatre.
My professional art journey began in the beginning of the pandemic, it was a very interesting time for me as suddenly there were a lot of big changes in my life and I felt the need to express myself and all of the emotions I was going through at the time. I really couldn’t stop painting, new ideas would come to me constantly and the whole process for me was so healing - I think that is how I got through this tough time for me. I realised how important art is for me and my well being and decided to give it a go, I quit my job, moved to my home country and decided to drop everything and focus primarily on my art, it’s worked successfully so far.
What messages are you communicating through your art?
I am really just trying to communicate and promote expression of emotions, I feel most of the characters depicted in my art are creatures that are struggling to come to terms with their own emotions and how they are feeling. Usually the characters depicted are feeling something I have felt in the past and wanted to express it in some way, this helps me understand this emotion; Its one thing feeling something and something completely different seeing in front of you, letting that emotion become a substance. It all becomes clearer, why it appeared in the first place and it helps with my own healing and understanding of difficult emotions. I really don’t have any other way of dealing with difficult situations and emotions and also grow from them. I think that is something people put on the side and forget when it comes to personal growth, you really just have to have a magnifying glass on top of all your emotions to really understand them and what they mean to you.
So I guess my main message is to express your emotions, to feel them, to live them, not to suppress them, because that’s what they are there for; they are small headlights that lead us to understanding ourselves better and the people around us.
In which direction do you see your style developing?
I am working really hard to developing my Illustrations as well as my oil paintings, I believe I can exert more intensity in my work if I develop my technical skills. I have a lot of ideas regarding my illustrations, I want to turn them into animations, I often get visualisations of my creatures running around and doing different things and I think that would be amazing to do. I am a huge fan of Pollynor, Oh De Laval and Miranda Makaroff and I am very much inspired by their illustrations, I feel like I could create a whole world with my designs and that’s something I would really want to do. For my oil paintings, I have a lot of ideas of where my style could develop to, and I have a feeling that it will move towards a more sensitive but realistic depiction of my creatures, I am very much influenced by Bottero, and I really enjoy the intensity of inflated shapes and shifts in sizes & scales, so this is what I am working towards.
As a self-taught artist, did you have any particular hardships in your career development? Do you have an advice for other self-taught artists?
I think being a self taught artist is a blessing and a curse, I think sometimes going to art school can limit your creativity because you are encouraged to create something in a specific way, if you have your own specific style already it is a bit hard to create along someone else’s “rules”. However I think one needs to work really hard, to learn, to read, to create so they can feel confident to compete with people who have dedicated a certain amount of time on their studies. I think talent is important and really good to have but I don’t think any talent can get you very far if it is not nurtured, worked on, developed. So my advice would be to read, to learn to be influenced by other artists and to learn from your mistakes. It is such a cliche, but the truth is good things really do take a lot of time, so be patient with yourselves, we are always constantly learning and developing into the best versions of ourselves.
Check out Alexandra's Instagram account.