You know how facebook gives you this, well, sometimes creepy feeling that you know a person even if you have never met them in the real world? Most of my research on who to shoot is based on facebook and social media alone. I know, it’s not my strong point, but in times of so little time, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I’ve been watching Teta for quite some time now. Translation: I was looking at her albums for fashion inspiration. So, I popped by and sent her a message asking her to do a photo shoot for imatiothiki, only to find out she lives in London. Fortunately, she made a quick trip to Greece, packed her suitcase with all her stylish apparel and posed for me. Here she is, miss Teta Kk, all smiles under the greek sun.
You are working at Sotheby’s, an auction house.
I don’t work at the auction section. I work at the Institute that belongs to Sotheby’s, which organizes several programs and sessions that have to do with Sotheby’s. I am currently working on a Master Class held there.
How did you end up in the art world?
I have no idea! If you see what I have studied, it’s miles apart from what I am currently working on. I was in London doing my masters on HR and from the first couple of months of school I knew I wanted to get involved in the HR section, but in the culture field and not the corporate field. So, when I finished my Masters I was hired for a 5 month curating program. I was curating exhibitions and then started working for several galleries. It was last July, that I got accepted at Shotheby’s . Yes, in the middle of July, I packed my bags, said goodbye to the greek summer I had been waiting for all year long and flew to London once more.
We tend to think that whatever goes on auction is supposed to be super old and boring.
Well, lately there’s been a shift on what we call art. You see many street art pieces being sold and even graffiti art pieces are expected to be sold soon.
Are you ok with the art being sold and bought? Do you think there should be a more democratic vision and handling of art in general?
I believe the whole process of buying art is addressed to a very small group of people, especially nowadays with the recession and all. Even when you have an auction for a philanthropic cause, in the end you get extra high prices for the art sold. In an action there are many factors that influence the price of whatever it is you are selling, but one can never know for sure the specific criteria that make something so expensive.
Don’t you feel like this whole process is not really about the love of art, but it’s more related to gambling?
Yes of course. The best wins. The best. Or the luckiest one.
Which object do you remember as being sold in a very high price?
I haven’t seen something very rare being sold so far. But I have seen vases bought for over 500.000 pounds. That was a bit of a shock for me. The prices of the wine bottles were a bit of a shock as well.
They put wine on auctions
And how much do you pay for them?
How can you know if the wine is good or not though?
You can’t. You know the vineyard it came from. Who cultivated the land. How many years it has been stored and kept until it is ready. But I have come to know many stories, where they opened the wine and the taste was not at all what they expected. But you know, when you pay so much for a bottle of wine, I guess it’s all about the showing off and not the wine itself.
Can you name a work of art that you would bid all your money to get?
Oh, that’s tough. I have no idea.
Do you think it would be a painting? A sculpture?
I think it would be a sculpture. Maybe like the ones Lappas makes.
What is it that makes people want to own works of art? Wouldn’t it be better if all art would be out on the street or in museums, so everyone can enjoy it?
I will tell you how it is in the UK, because that’s what I know best. There are so many works of arts that haven’t come out yet. People have kept them in places for years and recently BBC along with another company started making a catalog of all the works of art that haven’t been presented to the public yet. They will gradually upload this catalog online as well. But okay, I believe the people that buy the paintings, or the works of art, are people that really appreciate art. You should keep in mind that most of them are either interior designers or hired by very rich people to buy something for their clients. So, this means that although they appreciate art, it doesn’t necessarily mean they love it as well.
Speaking of museums, which would be your favorite in London.
I would have to say V&A. There are plenty of galleries and museums that are very supportive of performance artists or contemporary art, but I believe V&A is an architectural masterpiece, and that you cannot ignore. From time to time I might see a very good exhibition elsewhere, but the building and the whole structure of this museum makes it the best one London has to offer.
Do you recall an exhibition that you really enjoyed?
No, but I can tell you about an exhibition that left me a bit disappointed. I went to Tate to see Lichtenstein, and it was exactly how it expected it to be. Nothing new, nothing to make you rethink about Lichtenstein and his work. Such a pity. It’s not like every artist should have some unknown side to him that every exhibition should reveal. I just didn’t really feel the exhibition took Lichtenstein to the extent it should.
How is your life in London?
I will quote what every Greek says. I miss the sun. Whoever says he doesn’t miss the sun, is a liar. What I also miss is tranquility. I love it there, but you know, in London I wake up exited. In Athens I wake up utterly happy. And that’s the difference. Also, it is hard to meet new people. Meaning that, in Greece, if you are out for drinks, it is quite common to overhear what the people next to you are saying and join their conversation and at the end of the night having had drinks and meeting people you didn’t know. That’s not really happening in the UK.
If you were to organise an exhibition in Greece, what would you showcase and where?
I think I would do an exhibition about documentaries that connect the past to the present. It would be held in a multi-use space for sure. I really love spaces like these, because I want the people attending the exhibition to have several options on how to spend their time there. I don’t want anyone feeling like: ok, I came to this exhibition and I should just stare at the work of art for a significant amount of time, otherwise someone might say I am ignorant and clueless. You need to give people a choice. So they can enjoy their drink and when they chose to look at the art you are exhibiting, it’s because they really like it and they really want to look at it.
Do you keep an eye on what’s happening in the art world in Greece?
The times we are going through are very strange. And you know, here in Greece it’s all about networking. Especially in the galleries, it’s all about who you know. There are so many Greeks trying to sell their art abroad. So many.
If I were to ask you to put a greek design object on auction, what would that be?
Probably a traditional musical instrument. Like a lyre or something.
The fact that you deal with art and artists all day long, doesn’t it make you want to produce art yourself?
No, not in the way the artist produce it.
Why? Does seeing all this art block you from trying it out yourself?
I just think I wouldn’t be able to produce that kind of art. I work with much simpler ingredients and tools. For example my library is made by me. I made a collage on it! I will also draw paintings, but in a much simpler way. Although I know I have it in me. Everyone in my family is a great painter; I haven’t reached that point just yet. I will though.
Let’s talk a little bit about fashion, since you’ve also gotten involved in this field in your career. Is London a style inspiration for you?
Not any more. And that’s very obvious if you look at the photos from fashion week. London fashion week is full of people with crazy outfits, trying to sell trashy looks and super extreme outfits. And then you see Paris, and you see so many elegant people. I think London style is like shouting: here I am, and I will establish my style right here, right now. But we shouldn’t leave Greece out of it. So many people think that we wear whatever was in style in the rest of the world with a three year delay, but that’s really not the case. You see so many good designers making an effort and gaining international respect about what they do.
Which garment would you exhibit in a museum?
I think something from the Middle Ages or the early 20s. Something elegant with lots of detail to it. I love nostalgic pieces. Some time ago there was this exhibition in London about the 100 years of fashion or something. I didn’t even spend that much time on the main halls where McQueen and all the other super stars were. I got stuck watching all the details from very old dresses. So inspiring!
You are going back to the UK in a couple of days. When will you visit Greece again?
I am going back keeping my options open about coming home. I am discussing with some people about working here, in the fashion industry.
Is the fashion world harder and harsher than the art world?
Even though people tend to believe that the world of fashion if very harsh, that is not the case. I have met so many artist that believe they are the best and only people in the whole world and won’t take your advice, and they will not let you decide where their work of art should be placed. It’s a very thin line though. Because it’s another person’s effort and work and what expressed him and who he is that’s reflected upon his art. On the other hand, the fashion industry is a tough place to be in, but the criteria are much more obvious and simple. The thinnest, tallest and most professional girl gets the job. And that’s it.
A few comments on the things pictured and said above:
The desert is an orange pie. Teta recently started cooking and whenever she’s making something sweet, she loves just wrapping it up and giving it as a gift to friends. You have to ask her for the recipe of the pie though. / By the time this imatiothiki session was published, she booked the deal in Greece and is soon going to return home after soaking up in the London rain. So you will be seeing a whole lot more of Teta in the days to come. / It is obvious the girl has a sense of style. But she claims never to have read a fashion magazine in her life. I’ll toast to that.