"ART HAS BEEN A WELL OF STRENGTH AND HEALING."
Fotini Hamidieli (was born in 1957) in Northern Greece in the city of Veria, which is known since classical times as it is mentioned by Thucydides. When she was 12 years old, her family immigrated to the United States where she continued her schooling. Fotini Hamidieli got a bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island School of Design and spent her last year in college studying in Rome, Italy.
Fotini Hamidieli looks for her own essence, expressing her own voice and her unique way of understanding the world through beautiful human figures. Expressing harmonious colors of captivating beauty that come from anywhere and ideas that brew internally and usually surface unexpectedly. Fotini Hamideli has been exhibiting since 1978. Her artwork has been published in several art publications and she has participated in over 20 solo exhibitions, and 120 group exhibitions in Greece and abroad.
When you stand before Fotini Hamidieli’s art, it is almost possible to see how your own feelings are drained and then projected more intensely through her artwork. Before you is a powerful truth. Powerful because it is simply you the one reflected in her art. It’s an overflow of feelings that had the confidence to express themselves. She dares to express through her art, what many do not dare to say. What is most appreciated, is the honesty that is transpired in each of her works of art.
Q. Do you remember the first piece of art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. A small watercolor which I did it while looking at a photograph from National Geographic magazine and still hangs on my wall, is one of the first artworks I did at the age of 14.
Q. What's shaped your artistic journey since then?
A. What happens to us in life, you know, relationships, births, deaths, work, travel -this is what shaped me and influenced me to a great degree.
Q. Tell us about some of the highlights of your artistic career, such us memorable exhibitions?
A. Just last year a book about my work was published. Art historians, critics, curators, gallery directors, and fellow artist contributed articles and there are 30 color plates of my work included. As you can imagine, I was very happy about it. I have had the pleasure of working with the director of archaeology in the district where I live and we organized a solo show of my work, in the beautiful Byzantine Museum of Veria in 2017. My artwork has been published in several art publications. In Greece, I first exhibited in “Diagonios,” a gallery in Thessaloniki, directed by Dinos Christianopoulos, a famous Greek Poet. And last but not least, Deanna Piowaty directs the online magazine "Combustus" for which she interviewed me and has published my work on several other occasions also.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular? Are there any particular painting traditions or 'old masters' that have influenced your work?
A: As I studied in the US, I can say that American expressionism has been an influence, particularly the work of Arshile Gorky, Richard Diebenkorn and De Kooning. Early on, the work of Matisse and Bonnard taught and inspired me.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. Success for me is to feel the desire, the longing, the happiness, the strength to work, to be able to discover things as long as I live.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. Not for me because I have been able to share it with the people around me, I got them involved by talking about my work and art in general. Similar to art, I do not like to be kept away from people, something that only a few can understand, relay and enjoy.
Q. What does your work aim to say?
A. As time goes by, I become more conscious of what I want to say as opposed to an earlier time when I worked instinctively but this instinct was quite strong as it marked my path. My main subject and interest have always been the figure, the female figure in particular as through it I have been able to express emotions concerning the lives of women. I don't intend really to challenge the viewer but instead, I want to draw him in the work and get him thinking or identifying with the content.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. Keep it true, essential, use the power of art to communicate.
Q. Apart from making art, what do you love doing?
A. Talking with my friends, traveling, being a mother, enjoying having a coffee in the garden, watching kids playing, walking around the city of Thessaloniki which I love, living.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. I can't remember really but I remember the worst advice which was given to me by Lucas Samaras, a very famous artist of Greek descent but living in the US. He told me not to return to Greece as I would be buried artistically. But I did return and have not been buried.
Q. What advice would you give to the next art-generation?
A. Be true to yourself, just do what you are, learn from others but make your own way.