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3 Artists You'll Love If You Like Nikos Gyftakis
Get inspired 03 Oct 2022

3 Artists You'll Love If You Like Nikos Gyftakis

Color, curved lines, perception, expression and identity are all at play in the enigmatic works of Nikos Gyftakis. The faces he paints are composed of swirling forms that transform harsh edges and skin into fluid matter. Having undoubtedly left his mark on the art world, Gyftakis’ portraits show us that the boundaries of this genre are not fixed, but fluid. Join us today as we explore the works of three artists expanding the limits of portraiture who you’ll love if you like Nikos Gyftakis!

1. Sophie Derrick

Nikos Gyftakis, Self Portrait V, Sophie Derrick, Close to nothing (Pink), portraiture
On the left: Nikos Gyftakis, Self Portrait V, 2005, available on Artsper, on the right: Sophie Derrick, Close to nothing (Pink), 2015, available on Artsper

Combining practices, British artist Sophie Derrick applies paint directly to her body before taking photographs and retouching them again afterwards. Her style is characterized by layers of colors, mediums, and techniques. 

Like Gyftakis’ portraits, Derrick’s works prompt us to reconsider our preconceptions about the genre. Often shown with closed eyes, or obscured with blur and paint, the viewer is denied direct access to the subject. Instead the focus is shifted to the textures and colors of the paint, the composition of the image, or the motion blur that indicates movement. The work rejects the traditional notion of the portrait, and becomes an abstract image that blends the boundaries between oil painting and photography, and abstraction and figuration. 

2. Stefano Mazzolini

On the left: Nikos Gyftakis, Self Portrait VI, 2006, on the right: Stefano Mazzolini, Macman, 2004, available on Artsper

These works by Nikos Gyftakis and Stefano Mazzolini both display a controlled kind of disorder. Body parts blend into their surroundings and one another, recognizable but not clearly identifiable. Stefano Mazzolini represents the human form in diverse mediums and techniques, often distorting and obscuring his subjects. His works emphasize volume, form and atmosphere, appropriating elements of reality to create strange and fantastic worlds.  

3. Christa David

Nikos Gyftakis, My precious…, Christa David, The elements gathered in the evening
On the left: Nikos Gyftakis, My precious…, 2013, on the right: Christa David, The elements gathered in the evening, 2022, available on Artsper

Gyftakis’ mixed-media works embody a different side to his practice. Using found objects from flea markets in his home country and abroad, he mixes collage, painting and assemblage. This technique allows Gyftakis to explore the notions of past, present, society and identity. 

Similar in technique and style, the collage works of NYC-based artist Christa David juxtapose materials from historical and contemporary sources to produce other-worldly compositions. Through this medium, David addresses the history of Black and Brown people in the United States through a subjective lens. Talking about her work, she stated that her art provides a way to express her thoughts about “the complex and enduring mark of structural racism in the United States and its impact on my life and body, and the lives and bodies of those who look like me.”

The evolving art of portraiture…

Portraiture has come a long way in the last century. A genre that once consisted mainly of idealized representations of wealthy patrons, it now covers a wide range of techniques. Nikos Gyftakis is one of the contemporary artists shaping the genre, bringing out the particularity of each face he paints. We selected three artists that are also exploring the boundaries of portraiture in innovative ways. You’re sure to love them if you like Nikos Gyftakis – which was your favorite?