Talking: The illustrator Christina Tsevis believes that ugly is the new beautiful

I met Christina Tsevis on a rainy day in Amsterdam. It was a delightful meeting and I was glad to meet the person behind these soulful illustrations. We talked about changing, Athens, antithesis and her dog. About the pain and negative things that can bring your creativity to the peak.

How did you start as an illustrator?

I have been drawing since I was a little girl. My brother was studying Graphic Designs when I was nine and I knew that I wanted to do the same thing when I would grow up. When I finished school I got into the university where I have studied Graphic Design and I learned about illustration. I was working as a designer and a few years later I realised that I should stick to the thing that led me there, which is drawing.

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Except for the technical skills, you really stick in the artistic part of this job. How did that happen?

I just needed to express myself because I was going through a hard time in my life. I didn’t have a job at that moment and I had to find something to keep me occupied. I just started painting and upload my work on my Flickr page and people began to notice it. It’s just happened.

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What connects you with Amsterdam?

My sister moved here ten years ago, and I’m visiting her two- three times a year. I find the country and the city magnificent, and I find it really inspiring in a picturesque way. The architecture, the canals and the bridges. It’s art. It’s very easy to be inspired here. I like also the antithesis of something old versus something new. Amsterdam has that. I really like this contrast.

The chaotic loneliness of modern life is reflected in some of your drawings with a glimpse of hope. Are these feelings familiar to you? 

It depends on who sees the work. It does not matter how I feel when I am creating something. But yes, it is definitely what I am thinking when I am creating. I was always an optimistic person. It is important to embrace the bad things that happened to you. That’s what makes you feel alive.

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You could be anywhere in this world. What holds you in Greece? 

The reason that I am in Greece is that I love it, and my family and friends are there. I feel very lucky that I was born in Greece. Of course, it has lots of problems lately but it is a unique country. You can see the history and it is not something that you can just read about it, but you can see it in front of you. I like the mixture and the contrast in Athens. The ugly neighbourhoods are so interesting that they are just standing to something so beautiful as Acropolis. I have found a way to appreciate all the aspects of the city. It’s so ugly that is beautiful.

“If you follow the same pattern every time in your art, you will get bored and people will get bored.”

A lot of people don’t know how it likes to be an illustrator or what an illustration is. Describe us what you do. 

Graphic design is equally creative but it doesn’t involve any painting or drawing. The illustration is painted with a specific message. For example, a poster for a movie, or for a music band, and it is combined with some lettering.

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In your illustration, there is a girl with closed eyes. What about her?

This is really old. I stopped drawing her three years ago. It was a big chapter. From when I first began she was my main subject but then it just stopped. I needed a change. That little girl was named Chloe and now I have a dog named Chloe. I had this thought about a girl that she was hurt by reality and she decided to be a part of it and this is why her eyes were closed. I think that my work changed very much in the last seven years. It’s very important for me not to be stucked and repeat yourself. If you follow the same pattern every time in your art, you will get bored and people will get bored.

“I never wanted to draw something that is perfect. In 2016 why you should draw a scenery? You can take a picture or somebody else could do it better than you.”

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What is an inspiration for you?

There are two types of inspiration for me. The message and the picture. The one has to do with emotional stuff and something that it comes into my head after an experience. Usually  bad things. Because if you are happy you just want to be happy. But negative things usually inspires you and makes you creative. Of course, it is easy to find something negative even if you are in a good place. I always have a message when I’m creating something. I find beauty everywhere. I never wanted to draw something that is perfect. In 2016 why you should draw a scenery? You can take a picture or somebody else could do it better than you.

 

 

*If you want to see more of Crosti check out her page