This week, we talked to the talented artist, Adoni Astrinakis.
BYMG: How did you get started?
AA: Well, it definitely wasn’t by design!
I’m untrained. I hadn’t painted for 14 years (since High School). I completed my business studies at University, then ran my own company; although ultimately successful, it went through some pretty intense cycles. I took to painting again almost subconsciously. I guess I was pushing it below the surface all those years, and one day it just came out.
I began posting my work on social media and was fortunate enough that when people started seeing the work, they related to it. I trusted in that and now I’m painting full time.
I feel like it’s what I’m meant to be doing.
BYMG: Who or what influences your work?
AA: When I was really little, I was searching for dinosaur books on the bookshelf and instead found a book on Michelangelo. It contained all of his sketches and works. I was completely infatuated. His works are incredible, and he never even considered himself a painter! Can you believe that?
I love Warhol’s use of pop imagery. I was always taken by that.
Chuck Close’s stunning portraits are also an influence. He was introduced to me after I began painting again, such an incredible talent.
I also love the work of photographer’s Jerry Schatzberg, Richard Avedon and Martin Schoeller.
BYMG: What’s the big message you want readers to take away from your work?
AA: There’s a tendency to want to overcomplicate things and I try to stay away from that.
Some might find the work simple, others complex. I just hope they’re captivating in some way—that there’s an essence, or a spirit that resonates. Something that makes you just stop for a moment, that’s all I can ask for.
BYMG: Do you have a particular time of day that feels the best for you to create? A specific space? Or do you just get to it when and where the mood strikes?
AA: Well, I work in my home/studio so the pieces are constantly staring at me! Problem is I can’t stop staring back so I’m always tinkering with something. A lot of the time it’s a balancing act between feeling the right mood and meeting a deadline.
The most important thing for me is to always feel inspired to do the best work I can, even if I have to dig for it sometimes.
BYMG: What is your process like? Do you typically finish a piece in one day, or take breaks and come back to it?
AA: It happens in bursts.
I work free-hand without the aid of projection or grinding techniques so the concentration is intense. I kind of go at it at full pace until I tire out, take a breather and then go at it again. Works can take up to 2 or 3 weeks.
My only rule when I paint is that once I’ve finished a piece, it has to be an artwork I’d want to keep myself. If that standard isn’t met, it isn’t finished.
BYMG: Favorite creation so far this year?
AA: Tough question, that’s like choosing your favourite child! I’ve just completed a piece of Paul Newman, that’s probably the one.