Tags: creative director
After what it feels like forever, after moving continents and returning back home, it only seemed right to ask someone who truly loves Athens to pose for imatiothiki. Even though Constantine did not grow up here, I have always admired the way he captures the essence of the city and found myself relating to his romantic / ironic illustrations more than once. I was lucky enough to get a proper apartment tour by him and his lovely dog Lou, got to discover his love of blue shirts and spied a bit on his neighbours – oh the blessings of the polykatoikia! I always try to host people I find cool, one way or the other, on this website and Constantine is that person for me, not because of his successful career path, but because he is under 30 and has achieved so much, is beaming with creativity and is so full of ideas you sort of miss the line of what is his work, what is his personal work and what’s his hobby. He just keeps on going, keeps on creating, keeps on evolving. And that’s a neat way to start off the return of imatiothiki’s posts in Athens.
Hi Constantine! You have a pretty amazing background for someone under 30. What are you up to these days?
After working for digital agencies all these years, now I feel it’s just the right time to do something of my own. As a designer, I find challenging being responsible of your own work, having to present it and stand for it. It is just you and your skills in the free market. That’s the new adventure I am going to take and sure I’ll have fellows for this journey. Great Hall of Fame for designers, here I come!
What are the challenges working from home and working as a freelancer?
Besides the proper discipline you have to get, the biggest challenge is to try not to be distracted from anything – nor from the dog, the uncontrolled internet use, the household things you feel you should do – and so much more. If you manage to stay focused you get one step closer for this freelance flow to work. Then, it is like being a small company, where there is the client service, the creative team, the logistics, the new-business department etc, all in one slow-as-a-sloth person. Yeah. Much fun. But companies can’t be great in everything, right? so am I (self-pity thoughts) but keeping your creative spirit up, is more achievable when working beyond four walls. I guess “work hard from everywhere” is the new black.
You mentioned you are in a process of de-ikea-ing your apartment. What’s the strategy behind arranging your personal space?
Yeah, too much IKEA stuff makes your space looks like a student condo and we are kinda getting old for that. I believe that your furniture and the rest of the homeware should get more personal as you grow up. As your place starts to absorb moments and feelings, it deserves to be unique. However, I am not really into “designers” stuff, just a “aw-thats-so-cute-I-NEED-IT” works for me. I think that defines my personal space, not giving it a specific identity (or I just convince myself that’s what I do).
Your work has a sort of simplicity and is easy to comprehend. But at the same time you work and express yourself through a variety of mediums. Where would you say you feel more comfortable and how easy is it to take a stream of thoughts and turn it into a simple phrase and an image?
Simplicity is something you end up with through years of experimentation on ways to express your self. I think it is important to be concise in the social media era, as your “digital friends” get exposed to tons of information daily. i started by writing my WordPress blog, years ago, but I was not good at it. Then I started talking pictures, but that didn’t feel complete either. So I started combining them. Making the words less, and getting photos work in additional way, I started my Tumblr page. Then it went on my Facebook page, then on my Instagram, and people seem like they were pretty enjoying it. I saw my work in many profiles, from people I didn’t even know. It’s always satisfying when you see others express theirselves through your work.
I became familiar with your work through the melancholic images / illustrations of Athens, that ended up on everyone’s Facebook cover photo. So in my mind you sort of an ambassador to the city. And you are promoting your neighbourhood, Pagrati, with great zeal. What is it that makes Pagrati so special?
Athens is a city that you are going to fall for, or hate. I belong in the first case where this city inspires me. I don’t know for how much yet, but I sure saw myself gets lost in it. If you let yourself free and open, it’s a great city. Its versatile personality gives you an opportunity to capture the side that expresses you more. So this is what I did. I started talking pictures of places and buildings that were consider ugly or indifferent by the most, and tried to make them look scenographic.That’s was also the challenge with Pagrati, a neighbourhood without points of photographic interest. A middle class district trying to find its “hipster” side of the city and also being so close to downtown, makes me wanna love it, make fun of it, make it my neighbourhood.
In such a densely populated city where you can see the apartment across the street so clearly, would you say spying on neighbours is a hobby or a necessity?
I would just call it a “social observatory”. Living in the densely populated streets of Athens is like having an all day performance/art installation just outside your window. You just observe and get observed – and that is fine by me. I don’t mind being in my undies at the balcony watering my plants or watch the crazy lady across the street talking to her self. Living so close to others and having a more “flexible” privacy is part of our mediterranean temperament I guess!
Lou, your 10-minute hyperactive but then totally chilled dog, is becoming quite famous through your social media posts. What made you decide to adopt her?
They say that we take pictures of things that we are afraid more to lose. That made me take pictures of her and social media did the rest! I come from a family that always had a dog. A dog that is part of the family, your best friend,. When you are living on your own, you get to a point where you feel that you have to offer, that you want to share your personal space with something that you want to take care of, it’s the time to get dog – kids cost more and we are living in desperate times. I think I got really lucky, Lou is a great company.
What’s with the blue tone Hawaiian shirts? Have you secretly sworn to buy the same kind of shirt again and again?
I sure enjoy floral patterned shirts in the summer and as blue is my favorite color, all my shirts look the same. I had never realised it before, till this photoshoot. You can easily tell that I am not really paying attention to what I wear – though I have set a target that by my 30′s I’ll have a blazing style. And an amazing body. Let’s take that as a public commitment!
You mentioned you have a sweet tooth, so I am not going to ask you to recommend a nice place to hang out in the city. Instead I will ask you where you satisfy your guilty sugary pleasures?
I’ve got a little secret called NTEMONTE hidden in somewhere in Kolonaki, at a semi-basement cozy place of Charitos street. In it’s a magical place they prepare your sweet sugary pleasure the moment you order it! – don’t miss the orgasmic passion-fruit tart-
A few comments on the things pictured above:
Constantine has this thing for anchors. The large anchor light was constructed by his dad. So is the dining room table, which is a door. / Constantine really hates the fact that Apple is now making quiet keyboards, so he held on to his ancient one which makes a distinctive sound. I wouldn’t want to work next to someone operating that keyboard – I’ll tell you that. / Upon entering his building you have two surprises: the first is the elevator is playing music – like a mall elevator, and the second is he has a perfume and a chair outside his apartment, just to extend his living space a bit. It kind of felt like a doctors waiting room, or a common space living room. / Most, if not all, of the art in his apartment is done by friends of his. Apart from his work, that is.