Greece as Art

Interview by Despoina Sampson

When it comes to her passion, conceptual artist and designer Caroline Rovithi wears her heart on her sleeve, never shying away from an opportunity to express her profound love for Greece and its inimitable, vibrant spirit. For the past 20 years, she has been channelling this passion into her art, building on a background in advertising and publishing to create unique pieces that bring together elements of pop art, illustration, street style and iconic Greek symbolism. Caroline has exhibited in Europe and the United States, has taken on commissions from major global brands, and has published six books. Her first short film, available online, was filmed on the shores of the Aegean Sea, while her second short film was filmed on the slopes of the majestic Mount Olympus.

Your love for Greece is at the heart of everything you do. What message does your art communicate about the country that we live in, love and are inspired by?

Greece is a work of art, a masterpiece that I am blessed and privileged to experience every day. It is an ideal place in every sense. This country has everything! Beauty, colour, history, culture, people, feeling, soul. The message that I want to convey is simple and I believe in it wholeheartedly… All you need is Greece!

What are the challenges for female artists in Greece? How hard is it to get your work shown, express yourself and keep up with obligations while also finding inspiration and creating?

Daily life is anyway demanding enough for every woman who works and is a mother, partner, friend, daughter. So many women face truly challenging conditions, and I am deeply grateful that I get to do what I love, that my job lets me express myself, helps me evolve, fulfils me. No matter how many hours I put in, how demanding my day-to-day is — because I’m also mother to a six-year-old girl — when everything quiets down and I sit in front of my canvas, dozens of images emerge as if by magic and take shape through my brushes. To me, every day is an inspiration.

Greece is a work of art, a masterpiece that i am blessed and privileged to experience every day

With bold motifs and bright colours, your work evokes feelings of happiness, yet you’re not afraid to address some of the difficult subjects facing the world. How do you do this through your art?

These are unprecedented times and things are changing constantly and at a staggering speed. I’m always thinking about how I can contribute. So I take to my canvas and create images that incorporate empowering symbols, images that evoke strong feelings of optimism and faith. Some of my favourite symbols, that I keep coming back to, are the thunderbolt and the Greek flag.

This country has everything! Beauty, colour, history, culture, people, feeling, soul.

When Greece was in the throes of its crisis, I painted the “Crying Greek Flag,” with our flag’s iconic blue and white stripes weeping. The idea was to show the flag standing strong and proud, despite the pain and tears. And those very same attributes, that strength and resolve, are shared by Greece and the Greek people. We have the power within us. We just have to believe.

What is it about Greece, as a country but also as specific areas and destinations, that inspires you most?

The Greek Sea, the sun, the light in the Cyclades, the traditional whitewashed houses, the ancient temples, the winding paths of Mount Olympus, the sunsets, which are so incredibly different from place to place across the country. Living in Greece and raising my child here gives me the strength and the motivation to continue using my brushes and my paint to make art that inspires and rouses and showcases the beauty of my country. / /



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