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Nikos Gyftakis: The Swirling Flow of Color

Nothing Stays Still

Nikos Gyftakis uses surreal hypnotic lines and colors with oil paint and pastel to create a unique and strange beauty, laced with questioning and provocative themes. His swirling, dreamy works stem from a deeply philosophical, traditional and introspective root; relativity and movement weigh heavily upon Nikos’ symbolism, which is best described with the words of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “Everything gives way and nothing stays fixed. Everything flows; nothing remains. All is flux, nothing is stationary. All is flux, nothing stays still.

"Self Portrait 7" by Nikos Gyftakis, oil and pastel on canvas, 2004-2005

Nikos’ understanding and respect for the continual passage of time can be traced with the journeys of the hundreds of color-rich lines and connections that flow and combine to achieve wholesome and thoughtful imagery.

"Self Portrait 5" by Nikos Gyftakis, oil and pastel on canvas, 2004-2005

“I started art lessons (piano and painting) at the age of 6. I graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Thessaloniki, Greece as a painter and stage-setting designer at the age of 24 and that was when I ended up using swirling lines as a structural element in my portraits.”

"Self Portrait 6" by Nikos Gyftakis, oil and pastel on canvas, 2004-2005

The artist has always considered the arts as his “safe place”, and drawing his “best friend” as he moved through childhood. The kinship he shared with art continued into Nikos’ early life and education. He went on to study Artistic Research in Konstfack University (Stockholm, Sweden) where he focused on his collage and assemblage works. Currently living and working in Athens, Greece, Nikos continues to explore oil and collage mediums, always keeping them rooted in the philosophical inspiration he draws from his environment.

"Edwige" by Nikos Gyftakis, oil on canvas, recent

“Every piece I create raises more questions that I have to answer when I create the next one. I get inspired from my everyday life, from faces, places, and sounds that intrigue me.”

"Self Portrait 1" by Nikos Gyftakis, oil and pastel on canvas, 2004-2005

Nikos states that his favorite creative tools are his hands, eyes, and ears, which work together to create works that “raise or answer to philosophical and aesthetic questions via an international “visual language” and shake up conventions and traditions.” Nikos hopes to appeal to the universal and inherent understanding that resides within us all, unconstrained by barriers such as language or culture. His suggestive pieces shake perception at their undiluted core and call to appreciate the incomprehensible force that is time, change and the powerful beauty of the movements that happen within them.

Nikos Gyftakis creates the rare opportunity to capture the endless movement of passing time in a still image, his tactile and pulsing, yet still and observable lines allow us to step back, as if we can pause time itself, to observe its magnificence for just a moment.

All images copyright of Nikos Gyftakis

You can view more work by Nikos on his Instagram and website.

Article written by Kate Smith

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