An Interview with Martha Zmpounou.
Who and where are you from?
I am a London based, Greek visual artist and Illustrator. I have been living and working in London for the last 8 years. Besides being a practicing artist I am also a Lecturer at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, and a Visiting Lecturer at De Montfort University. I often find myself joggling between working as an artist and teaching drawing and illustration. I enjoy both equally and one practice feeds into the other creatively.
How you got into this?
I was into drawing, painting and anything creative for as far as I remember. I studied Fine arts and Painting at Aristotle University in Greece and Illustration at Central Saint Martins in London. Since then, I have exhibited widely my work in the UK and Greece.
What is your driving force?
What inspires me to draw and paint is whatever happens when my imagination clashes with my everyday life; It’s the cross breed of these two that urges me to create my images.
What kind of work you do and why?
My style of working changes according to the theme I have in mind; however, the common thread that connects different groups of my works is the figure.
In my recent works, I use the idea of the portrait as a means and space of exposure, a way to communicate identity. Drawing from the fashion and pop culture or from found vintage imagery I want to create fragmented and grotesque portraits that touch upon the misinterpretation of the human figure in media. Playing with the stereotypes of the ideal beauty they balance between beauty and repulsion.
I use masking and layering techniques and a colourful mix of water based media, mostly ink and watercolour. I often start without a figure in mind;by exploringand reacting to the media’s properties I create a series of abstract ‘episodes’ on various papers that afterword’s will inspire or lead to more representational/realistic outcomes. Working in this ‘inverted’ way has always being exciting to me as I could never predict the final outcome.I would discover it gradually throughout the process of making.I enjoy experimenting a lot with media and new ideas.
In some other group of works, my work process could involve cutting and reassembling drawings, sketches, fragments of paintings and found imagery, to create a body of visual elements that when brought together will create a new story about the depicted figure.The figure in this case is developed as a construct of fragments and spaces, an assemblage of elements disparate and connected at once.
I am really interested in the modalities of hiding and revealing and I like to combine or juxtapose realistically depicted elements with more abstract/expressive ones in one piece of work.
For more of Martha Zmpounou Check the links below:
Website :- http://marthazmpounou.com/
Instagram :- https://www.instagram.com/marthazmpounou/
All Images are copyright by: Martha Zmpounou