Marilia Stagouraki: Anti-artist

Marilia is a painter. Now 31, she has left Athens behind and lives in London where she does her work. Her creations are dark, subversive, disturbingly erotic, challenging, constantly trying to connect imagery and life itself through her installations. A positive personality herself, she creates contrasts through her work, often subverting the very nature of art itself.

How long have you been involved with art? Your work seems to combine painting and illustration.
As a kid I liked to doodle and play with colors. After a post graduate course in the Chelsea College of Art and a degree from the Fine Arts School in Athens, I’m still playing the art game. My work is a combination of raw and anarchic truths emanating from the soul that might morph into a variety of things in the future.

Why did you leave Greece? Do you think there are more opportunities abroad?

My trip to London was the result of a one way ticket, that I got with a friend of mine. It’s already been two years now and I haven’t returned. I love and miss Greece, but I’m constantly discovering new things here. London is a place where I observe and get inspired. More opportunities? Yes, there are more here for sure, not that that means that you are handed anything on a plate. Nothing is easy and everything is possible. The competition is fierce. You need to constantly chase after what you do, you need luck, but most of all it takes hard graft.

What’s your work Dark Space Number 8 all about?
To put it simply. It’s about man and power. Power and magic. Dehumanization and nihilism. I created an installation of paintings, sculptures and sculpted items.

How would you describe your style? Which trends and artists have influenced you?
My work is always colored by anarchy and a sense of freedom. You could class it as raw, anti-artistic. What I’m interested in is creating and sharing vibrations. For the time being, I’m hooked on horror films, I listen to a lot of disco and I’m into second hand clothes. My favorite sources of inspiration are Ηieronymous Bosch, Daniel Richter, Laure Prouvost, Clunie Reid, Lars Von Trier, David Lynch,
Deaf center, The downlow radio, Alexander McQueen and if I keep on I’ll never stop.

You often break the boundaries of what we regard as “nice” or “beautiful”, with images of violence or sexual symbols. What’s the message you’re trying to convey?
Through my work I’m asking questions about who we are and where we are heading. What we want as creatures and how we move based upon our wishes. Violence is everywhere, the world we live in is wild and harsh, while sexuality itself is wounded to some extent. I don’t try and make things look nice. My work either intrigues or disgusts.

What suffocates you? What can sap your strength and what fills you with energy?
I feel suffocated by people-demons-usurpers of others. I lose my strength when I don’t follow the sun. I’m filled with energy when I’m close to nature and the people that I love.

How would you describe your creative process? Do you work in a coherent manner?

Do you have a central idea and build your work around it? A song says “I don’t know nothing, I just got the blues”. I start everything with an idea and an emotion and a myriad of questions form along the way. Everything is a game, in which everything is created magically.

Interview: Nelly Skoufatoglou
Translation: Gerard Papasimakopoulos
Photo by: Nikolas Ventourakis