Giannis Mamoutzis is one of those emerging artists that fascinate you with the vividness and originality of his work. Shy and passionate, he creates some amazing pieces that question the limits between pottery and sculpture.
The organic forms and prominent curves of his work invite you to touch his pieces, to feel and caress them. Most of his creations give you the impression that they are really alive. Mamoutzis really loves what he is doing and puts a lot of persistence and imagination to his pieces, following a demanding process to get to the result that he wants.
We visited him in his studio and had a long discussion about everything that surrounds him, exclusively for the readers of Yatzer!
How did everything start?
I must say that eight years ago I was desperately looking for a way that would help me express myself. When I first laid my hands on clay and experienced its working process I felt relieved. It’s been a long time since then but its memory is quite vivid.
What do you enjoy the most about ceramics as an artistic medium?
Pottery can actually give you the chance to experiment in many levels with colors, forms, texture and you always know there is something new waiting to be discovered. Clay constantly urges you to explore its substance and keeps challenging you. I find quite interesting the way soil, water and fire are combined in order to achieve the final result. It’s pure magic!
What does working with clay bring to you, as a person?
The two things that stand out are the joy of creativity and the disappointment of failure. In between stands my connection with clay which includes a big part of who I am, the way I think and the way I express myself. What I have surely gained is a lot of patience and the belief that everything is possible if done at the right moment and in the right way.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on some free-structured forms. I’m really concerned about the relationship between sculpture and space. I am interested in the idea of a sculpture surpassing its own structure so that the spectator will be urged to observe it as a whole. This is really fascinating, considering the fact that nowadays we are surrounded by things that demand our attention.
How would you characterize your technique? Could you describe us the process behind the creation of your work?
It’s a personal process that has a lot to do with the final result and needs a lot of concentration. Pieces are gradually fired up to 1000 °C, then vitrified with two completely different kinds of glazes and finally fired again up to 1080 °C.
From where do you get the inspiration to create your objects?
It’s a combination of so many things… Nature, daily routine, city life and people have always been an endless source of inspiration. I am attracted by the extraordinary and sea is the place where I identify this feeling. The gravity there has a totally different effect on both materials and life forms.
What else do you need in your studio in order to work?
Clear mind and spare time that sometimes is so difficult to find. A little bit of music and luck are always of some help. One way or another, I always try to meet the needs.
How do you think art can change people or their perceptions?
Art expresses thoughts, beliefs, stories and situations that can touch people in a very personal and deep way, given the fact that they are open to such stimulations. I believe that art helps people’s harmonic transition and reformation through time.
What do you do outside of the studio?
I try to rest, spend time with my beloved ones, walk through the city, attend exhibitions and be informed about anything new and creative. I also try to travel as much as possible, in Greece and abroad.
Tell us something about your future plans.
I’m currently concentrated on promoting my work and achieve financial stability. At the same time, I would like to curry out my plans and expand my horizons. I still feel that I have a long way ahead of me and a lot of work to do, but this really pleases me.