From the moment you lay your eyes on Adrianne Dimitrakakis’ vibrant and bold work, you’re instantly transported to a kafenion in Greece or trattoria in Italy.
Combining forces with artist Salvatore Dibartolo for their show, Odissea, their shared European heritage and affinity for colour and line engages with identity, place, pop culture and diaspora.
Your collection has come together beautifully. Is there one piece in particular that stands out to you and why?
Thank you! Was a lot of fun to create. It’s hard to say for one, there’s a couple that stand out for different reasons.
If I had to nail it down to one, I think is the Kalamata Olives as it’s linked to my family. They used to have an olive grove in Greece where they’re from and they’d get processed for olive oil. My aunty still has their olive grove, and the olive oil is the best you’ve ever tasted.
76cm x 102cm
Acrylic and Plaster on Canvas - Unframed
Although, Yiayia’s Watermelon is pretty special too, I love how the colours have come out in this one and how bold it feels on that size, plus of course it reminds me of my grandmother.
What do you hope people will feel or take away when experiencing your work, particularly this exhibition?
I love that feeling you get when you arrive somewhere new or a familiar place you’ve travelled far to get to - and that’s the feeling I’m trying to capture in the viewer. These pieces are inspired by old wall art, signage, old postcards etc of Greece and Italy. I love those old signs you come across that are worn over time.
Last year when walking in Hydra, I was exploring the back path which had all the older rustic buildings and there was one house that had a hole with the paint peeled back right to the stone layer. I must have counted 20 layers that I could see, and I just loved that and wanted to bring that element into my paintings.
What can you share about your creative process and how you go about starting a new body of work?
I like to try and immerse myself in the place. I was in Greece for six weeks last year, for the first time in seven years, so it was a great refresh. I went through 10 rolls of film and documented everything from different textures, places/scenes, and little moments I loved. Going back through all the images and my sketchbook from while I was there, I remembered different ideas of things I wanted to draw. I also take photos of different signages and food labels of different places I go.
I go through all the imagery and videos and notes and start sketching this up. I also like watching movies different films that might have places in it too. Sometimes it can bring about that same feeling or spark inside of when you went somewhere or help inspire a thought or idea.
Then I note all these ideas and sketch them up, sit with them for a little bit and explore different fonts and words I want to include. I like to draw them all out if planning for an exhibition to help visualise what they will look like holistically and if any will interlink with each other. I love leaving little hidden messages or a connection between paintings or places.
You’re one of the latest artists we’ve welcomed to the Fenton & Fenton family. Tell us more about how you developed your art style and how it has evolved over time.
Very excited to join the Fenton and Fenton family! My art style has evolved from intricate and detailed maps and tropical travel scenes to a much looser, and free style while using a lot of colours and texture. For some people looking on the outside, it might seem quite different but for a couple of years now I’ve wanted to move back into this style.
I loved creating maps and over the years. I love the idea of discovery, hidden little icons and talking to people about different places through maps and travels. Yet after illustrating 75 maps of different places I had travelled to and client commissions, I felt like I wanted to push the boundaries a bit more and explore painting different elements of travel.
As I experimented with screen printing maps, I loved playing with the ‘worn’ looking texture and wanted to paint directly on the linen. I thought about what I would want in my home, and I had the idea of an old vintage mural stuck on my wall – and that’s exactly the vision I’m going for. I put also more of myself into them like fun quirky sayings or hidden messages that are a bit tongue-in-cheek, or I find amusing.
The people that have known me for a long time have all commented on my latest work, saying how much of me is in these paintings which I love as it feels really free, fun, authentic and exciting to explore and not be bound by exact locations on a map.
What's next for you?
A few things on the go, exciting new projects I’m working on. I have plans to go back to Europe this year, immerse myself there and feel inspired and create new artwork when I get back home.
Odissea is an exhibition combining the art practices of Salvatore Dibartolo and Adrianne Dimitrakakis, artists who share European heritage and an affinity for colour and line.
Odissea will be exhibited at the Fenton & Fenton Gallery from Thursday 23 February to Saturday 4 March.
View the exhibition here
View the collection here