Greece (b. 1939)
As the artist Paul Giovanopoulos himself states, his artwork can be defined as "a complex study of simple objects, where appropriation of iconic images from art or pop culture, as well as repetition, play an important role.” Many of his paintings, especially the earlier ones, involve a repetitive grid of panels that serves as a base for several smaller iconlike panels of the same theme which he paints individually, in diverse styles, with each panel bearing the feel of sacred art so commonly found in his childhood environment. Giovanopoulos views this method as an opportunity to serve simultaneously as "creator, collector, and curator of each canvas."
Born in Kastoria, a city of dignified beauty that sits at the feet of some of Greece’s most majestic mountains and reflects on the waters of a tranquil lake, Giovanopoulos grew up in the midst of an ever-shifting canvas of brilliantly nuanced colors that make their way into his art.
In Annunciation I-IV, he appropriates both Da Vinci and Andy Warhol. Aptly titled Annunciation, this work features the Virgin Mary appropriated from Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation, which the old master painted at the age of 23, and which depicts archangel Gabriel, sent by God to announce to Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus. Further appropriating Andy Warhol’s style of repetitive images, Giovanopoulos takes a different direction than Warhol by making each square a different image, reflecting the styles of a variety of artists.
About the Author
Paul Giovanopoulos was born in Kastoria, Greece, a city with a long history as a multicultural and artistic hub dating back to Byzantine times, along with a strong tradition in sacred art. In the aftermath of World War II and a brutal civil war, which had a devastating impact on Greece and the Greek people, Giovanopoulos and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 16 years old, becoming a US citizen in 1961 at the age of 22.
The move to the US initially deprived Giovanopoulos of the most fundamental ability, that of being able to communicate in words, as he did not speak English, a most disconcerting feeling for all those who are uprooted to a new land. Confronted with this challenge, the clearly imaginative and resourceful Giovanopoulos resorted to using images to convey meaning and facilitate communication, proving the value of art and image as universal languages.
Giovanopoulos studied at New York University and The School of Visual Arts in New York, while a fellowship allowed him to work and study abroad for several years, subsequently teaching art at the School of Visual Arts and at other schools in New York. Initially, his desire to create his own art was put on hold as he found himself in a position of having not only to fend for himself, but also for his mother after his father’s tragic death. He took a position in the advertising industry as illustrator, a career in which he excelled. He illustrated Time, New York Magazine, Newsweek, Ladies Home Journal, and Redbook among many others.
After years of success in the advertising field and still at the top of his game, Giovanopoulos left the world of advertising to pursue his own individual artistic career, in which he also excelled. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States, and Europe and is collected by such people as James Cameron, Sylvester Stallone, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It can also be found in more than fifty collections, including those of the New York Public Library and Harvard's JFK School of Government. His corporate clients include Random House, Rosenthal China, United Airlines, Playboy Magazine, Del Rey Books, Warner Books, and Ritzenhoff AG, among others. He has also designed covers for at least five novels, and has illustrated children’s books, novels, as well as textbooks.