By Foteini Vergidou.
Aristomenis Theodoropoulos is a Greek artist balancing elegantly for over a decade between painting and music. His body of work has a strong reference in Greek culture and his – often – large-scale paintings blend elements from Renaissance, post expressionism and realism. When it comes to his profile as a musician, Theodoropoulos has joined on stage many musicians from Greece and abroad, like Damo Suzuki, Blaine L. Reininger from Tuxedomoon and many more.
The artist’s new project titled FEF (ΦΕΥ) is an audio and visual project and Ferocious Urbanites spoke with him before the official release of the first chapter "FEF : HERE" (ΦΕΥ : ΕΔΩ) this Fall from B-Otherside Records. At the same time, an exhibition of the paintings will also take place.
F.U.: FEF (ΦΕΥ) in ancient Greek was used as an exclamation to express anguish and pain. In the announcement of your new project, you mention that you will sign your work from now on as FEF. What was your drive to make this turn on your artistic production?
A.T.: From the beginning I wanted the focus to be on the project itself instead of a person / creator, and it being a two-folded creature of music and image, I knew I had to unify it somehow, to make it whole. So I had to find a title to serve this purpose and chose this word because it evokes feelings, thoughts and, I think, images even. Plus it also serves as a connection to the past, with which I converse often, in my work, not in a backwards kind of way but rather with the intent of accepting the burden of what came before and moving on your own path.
It is more of a title rather than an alias, so when the exhibition of the paintings happens this October, it will be with my name used, I believe.
F.U.: How long have you been working on this project?
A.T.: It was a long process of discovering myself (still working on it) and re-discovering the way of working both on music and painting. Once I became more self aware of what exactly I was doing, it was a process that took two-years to complete, both for the paintings and record. Plus one more year, that I’ve been trying to find ways to release and present it.
Album teaser for FEF : HERE (ΦΕΥ : ΕΔΩ)
F.U.: Your first release from FEF is called "FEF : HERE" (ΦΕΥ : ΕΔΩ) and will consist of seven musical compositions and seven paintings. The title of this project has a direct link with the topical. How are the meanings of “FEF” and the topical connected?
A.T.: FEF was made in the period of 2015-2017, two years that where emotionally charged and intense for me and on the same time, socially. Both are reflected / included in this body of work. It includes a lot of “me” and a lot of what stands outside. So the title “HERE” stands as a representation of this connection. Here – inside, here – outside, Here- in this place, Here – in this time. Into this.
F.U.: Throughout your artistic practice, you work a lot with urban and national issues, from ancient history to contemporary life. What can we expect from your new body of work?
A.T.: I still have the same thoughts, interests and concerns that are all included in my work, in some pieces more apparent while perhaps more obscured in others, but they are still there.
FEF is definitely more abstract compared to the figurative and theatrical pieces that I did in the past, perhaps it is less literal and more open to each individual’s interpretations. My intention was to make of an experience rather than a statement.
F.U.: You live and work in Athens but you have also toured a lot as a musician. How has the local scene of Athens affected your artistic practice so far?
A.T.: Well, I can’t say that I’ve toured A LOT, but I’ve had my fair share of gigs in the past, meeting new people, new experiences – good and bad. Most of my friends are musicians and of course I have been influenced tremendously by each one of them, I believe there is a little piece of everyone inside me and in result, within my work. As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for Othon Mentis and Nikos Baskozos, I’d still be writing in English – which would be unfortunate.
Promo track for FEF - Now (Τώρα)
F.U.: You’ve been an active artist both in fine arts and in music for more than a decade. How is painting and music in FEF connected with each other?
A.T.: The idea is that they are both One. The musical compositions do not serve as a soundtrack to the paintings nor do the latter serve as illustrations to the music. I see them both as a continuation of one another, it is the mediums that are changing - the paint becomes sound, and so on.
F.U.: Final thoughts?
A.T.: Although a solo and personal effort was made, it could not have been realized without a great team of people. Sotiris Kotsopoulos with whom we designed the book and record, Lydia Athanasopoulou who coordinates the release and of course Dimitris Vasileiadis, of B-Otherside Records, who was mad enough to make the release happen.
"FEF : HERE" (ΦΕΥ : ΕΔΩ) will be released this Fall from B-Otherside Records and will be on the physical format of vinyl record and book.