The secret life of an artist

Adoni Astrinakis art

It's been so long since my last blog post that I've almost forgotten how to do it! It freaks me out how fast time goes now, especially when Christmas is breathing down my neck! When did that happen? I've had a busy four months of fun projects that I can't wait to share, but firstly, I wanted to delve back into my blog with a very special post...

Four months ago, my fiancé picked up a paintbrush for the first time since he was 16 years old (he's now 30). I knew that he'd nailed art in high school, picking up top marks in pre-tertiary art class. So it wasn't that I was surprised by his renewed artistic flare, it has, over the years, surfaced on occasion... there was the Christmas he sketched his two grandfathers for his parent's, helping me with my rendering and perspective homework throughout design school, and more recently painstakingly hand scrawling the calligraphy on 130 invitations for our engagement party.

So yes, I've known that he had this ability to paint. But the end result of his first piece in 14 years, and on such a large scale, was to say the least, jaw dropping.

Bob Dylan by Adoni Astrinakis. Styling by Rebecca Ellie Studio

Dylan, 2013, by Adoni Astrinakis, acrylic on stretched canvas

It's hard to really grasp the impact of this piece from a photo. When you see it in real life it hits you square in face as you enter the room. A bold monochromatic presence commanding attention. Dylan's furrowed brow, the pursed lips, harmonica replaced by a limp cigarette, the wiry main of locks, and the arch of a bony hand... you almost get the sense he feels the weight of the world on his shoulders at this precise moment, contemplating his thoughts and actions into song lyrics in his head.

Adoni's next piece, Brigitte Bardot, was technically more complex, with many late nights agonising over every last strand of fly-away hair and the shadows that the hair cast on her face. But she was a special commission, and we were sad to see her go.

Brigitte Bardot by Adoni Astrinakis. Photography by Rachel Lewis. Styling by Rebecca Ellie Studio

Photography by Rachel Lewis | Styling by Rebecca Ellie Studio

Brigitte Bardot by Adoni Astrinakis

Bardot, 2013, by Adoni Astrinakis, acrylic on stretched canvas

The Gogo Girl I had commissioned for a client of mine. I had a lot of fun decorating her place and was looking for the right piece to complete her eclectic and colourful dining room. The marble dining table was delivered incased in a ply wood box, which almost made it to the tip, but was decided that it would make the perfect canvas for the dining room wall. The brief was fairly loose on this piece, the client had entrusted Adoni with the subject and style, so the ply casing was quite literally a blank canvas. My client (and I!!) was dumbfounded by the finished result, which has sparked a collection of neon pieces in the works and more experimentation with ply as a medium.

Photography by Rachel Lewis | Styling by Rebecca Ellie Studio

Gogo Girl by Adoni Astrinakis. Photography by Rachel Lewis. Styling by Rebecca Ellie Studio
Gogo Girl by Adoni Astrinakis. Photography by Rachel Lewis. Styling by Rebecca Ellie Studio

Gogo Girl, 2013, by Adoni Astrinakis, acrylic & oils on ply

Gogo Girl by Adoni Astrinakis

Adoni's latest foray has been experimenting with oils, and also marks his first time working properly with colour. The texture he's able to create with the oils added a sense of depth and softness to this nostalgic piece, and has taken his work to another level. The Corn Kid is for me, because I have a life long love of corn ;) and will sit proudly above our bed.

Corn Kid, 2013, by Adoni Astrinakis, oils and acrylic on stretched canvas

Corn Kid by Adoni Astrinakis
Corn Kid by Adoni Astrinakis
Corn Kid by Adoni Astrinakis

I guess the most extraordinary thing to come of this renewed passion for painting, is that by day Adoni leads a Clarke Kent-like existence. Managing multiple businesses countrywide, brokering deals, managing risk, employee dramas. Stressful, all consuming and corporate. His art became an outlet to unwind. But even as a way of relaxing, I see that entrepreneurial drive applied to each piece. His need for perfection and attention to detail often means he doesn't stop, no matter what time of the night, until it's just right. This persistence and relentlessness is often exhausting to watch, but also awe-inspiring and a very admirable trait, that shows in his work.

"A piece requires a certain X-factor, you just have to keep going until you find it. It's funny how it works out. It can be the smallest of things that mean the difference between it missing something or having something special", says Adoni of his organic approach to his work.

It's also important to note that music has a big impact on the creative process. Whilst painting the Dylan and Bardot he listened to a lot of Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Al Green, Janis Joplin, which helped him find the right tone. More recently with the neon series, the sounds of Chet Faker, Alt-J, Kayne West, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, and Lana Del Ray have been on a recurring playlist.  "Music seems to be the energy that fuels each piece."

I have to say, I feel very lucky. Our apartment is like an art gallery of ever evolving pieces. His works in progress sit on the side board in our lounge room, so it's always interesting for visitors to see what he's up to next. It's always sad to say goodbye to a piece, because they feel so much a part of the family, but there is always a constant stream of inspiration to begin the next one. The response to his work so far has been overwhelming and he's been flooded with requests for commission work. I'm looking forward to collaborating on bespoke pieces for Rebecca Ellie Studio, but most of all, it's exciting to see him doing something that spills out of him so naturally.

For commission pieces, originals or prints of his work, follow Adoni Astrinakis on Facebook.

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