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10 Things To Know About Nikos Gyftakis
Get inspired 27 Oct 2022

10 Things To Know About Nikos Gyftakis

Nikos Gyftakis
Somewhere In Lipsi island, 2020

Greek artist, Nikos Gyftakis, was born in Athens in 1981. Despite his international fame, he continues to live and create in the city of his birth. With the tip of his brush, he offers us a universal painting, in which fluidity and assertions are intertwined. Curious to discover more? Here are 10 things to know about Nikos Gyftakis and his incredible work!

1. The importance of music in the work of Nikos Gyftakis

Nikos Gyftakis simultaneously started piano and painting lessons. From the age of 6, he discovered his passion for art.  It is not by chance that his paintings are so musical. For him, there is no difference between a visual work and an audible work. The notes of pianos become, in contact with the canvas, the tones of oil paint.

Self portait VIII, between 2004 et 2008
Self portait VIII, between 2004 and 2008

2. An art that brings people together

Like musical art, Nikos Gyftakis’ portraits easily cross borders. Using the power of facial expressions – a language shared by all – Gyftakis creates a universal art. Similarly, he draws inspiration from body parts common to all human beings. His hands, ears and eyes are his favorite creative tools. The result is an art that combines similarities and differences.

Nikos Gyftakis
Haroula, between 2008 and 2010

3. Nikos Gyftakis, a young and already famous artist

Despite his young age, Gyftakis already has an impressive career. Having studied artistic research, painting and scenography, as well as music, he has become a very versatile artist. In his forties, he has held numerous group and solo exhibitions in Greece and internationally. He has also directed and painted the sets of several films and plays. Selected as a finalist in the “Surrealism Showdown” competition, he is also a member of the Greek Chamber of Fine Arts. His fame is now well-known, both abroad and in his home country.

Self Portrait V, 2005
Self Portrait V, 2005, available on Artsper

4. Sociological and philosophical works

Gyftakis likes to mix the individual and the collective. In many of his works, he questions the concept of identity and interrogates social norms in parallel. He asks – “What is the influence of my experience in my life choices?” And “how does my country, its history, its culture and my social standing all fit in?” Between social and personal, the work of Nikos Gyftakis sometimes takes a profoundly sociological turn.

Nikos Gyftakis
I just went surfing, between 2012 and 2015

5. In search of lost time

Between 2011 and 2015, Gyftakis explored his love for the old through a series of interrogative nostalgia. He uses old frames, tapestries, old toys, vinyl, black and white photography all from another era.  Through the use of these materials with an apparence of life, he was able to visually honor all things vintage.

Midsommar (Homage 2 Bow wow wow & Manet), between 2011-2015
Midsommar (Homage 2 Bow wow wow & Manet), between 2011 and 2015

6. Art as an escape and social criticism

For Nikos Gyftakis, art is all the more important from a personal and collective point of view in times of crisis. Individually, it serves as an escape where everything is possible and nothing is forbidden. On a social level, art becomes a means of expression and denunciation whose political value is powerful.

Nikos Gyftakis
Silicone dreams, The World as Meditation – Pafos European Capital of Culture, 2017

7. Nikos Gyftakis and the loss of reference

Gyftakis likes to erase the lines, and he never tires of making us turn our heads! On the one hand, his portraits using curves instead of lines destabilize our representation of reality. On the other hand, he produces entire series in which time and space are deliberately blurred, even incoherent. A fascinating loss of reference!

Self portrait, between 2008 et 2010
Self portrait, between 2008 and 2010

8. Nikos Gyftakis and his unique approach to portraiture

But where does this fluidity come from in Gyftakis’ liquid portraits? Unique in its kind, it responds precisely to his need for authenticity. During his studies at the Fine Arts School of Thessaloniki, Nikos Gyftakis searched for his identity. Following numerous philosophical readings, this atypical mixture, this chaotic and liquid harmony, was born.

Nikos Gyftakis
Edwige, between 2015 and 2020

9. He uses mediums as varied as unusual

Nikos Gyftakis is an artist who experiments. Above all, he fuses different mediums that are truly atypical, even improbable. In his works, oil paint rubs shoulders with collage, embroidery, and even neon lights or puzzles. A profusion of materials that makes his works even more bewitching!

ΠέηAttention - The Balkan Epos ,the Biennale of Western Balkans, mixed media, 2018
ΠέηAttention – The Balkan Epos ,the Biennale of Western Balkans, mixed media, 2018

10. Nikos Gyftakis, a resolutely surrealist artist

Both in form, distortion of reality, mixture of materials, and in content, introspective and provocative themes, Gyftakis is a surrealist. His works plunge us into a hypnotic universe, mixing the dream, the intimate and the political.

Nikos Gyftakis
Truth or deer, 2017

Gyftakis’ art: unclassifiable and universal

Painter, scenographer, collagist and musician, Nikos Gyftakis is a contemporary surrealist artist for whom the individual merges with the collective. He offers us a unifying art, made of social demands and introspective questioning, of order and chaos. But more than that, Gyftakis’ work impacts us all as a universal language.