Myrto Giotakou

By CREAM ATHENS   |   January 2021 


Myrto Giotakou © courtesy of the artist

What we need to know about you? 

I am a visual thinker based in my hometown Athens, Greece. Passionate about intriguing art and design, I usually spend my time creating pictures and looking for art and music as inspiration. Some fields of interest are comics, painting, animation, motion graphics, typography, branding, web design. I studied Fine Art - Painting & Printmaking at the Glasgow School of Art (2007-11), where I grew interest in abstract art, organic forms and colorful geometric compositions. I also created a body of work around video and sound art.

 Some years later, I took up a Web Design & Development diploma (2016) after deciding to learn to code. Developing websites can be a very satisfying experience indeed, but what grabbed my attention was the web design aspect. Wanting to broaden both technical and conceptual skills in the ever-so-exciting world of Visual Communication, I enrolled in the Bachelor's degree of Graphic Design at AKTO (2018). 

At the present time, I am working as a graphic designer and illustrator. I am very fond of children's illustration, an area I would like to explore in the time ahead. In my free time I love digging for musical sounds and compiling mixtapes.

How would you describe yourself?

I am an introvert and I am shy. I love social media; as an introvert it has helped me immensely to get inspired. What I like is the concentration of a huge body of art by lots of talented artists worldwide. Loads of things to see by diving into this terrain of virtual reality, a journey of discovery without an end. However, I don't like the fact I am relying so much on it and get immersed in the virtual as it is an unprecedented event in history and I wonder about the future of social media, hoping that it will evolve in a positive way.

I like to sit down for ages (probably while making something on the computer!) until I get the sense of 'formication' on my legs ("formication", according to Wikipedia, is the sensation that resembles that of small insects crawling on or under the skin when there is nothing there)

I find calmness in a creative chaos. But I also believe firmly that order is key, so I am trying to balance things out a little. I drink a lot of coffee to survive. I am also a night coffee drinker (I wouldn't advise you to drink so much coffee). Another not-so-happy fact about me is that I have been rejected a few times during my design career. Others don't expect us to expose these kinds of things or talk about failure. 'Rejection' is an integral part of the learning process I guess, and, even though it puts you off and makes you feel less worthy, it is a good instigator to remind you to not give up and keep trying. Knowing what your aims are is important starting point, too, and I think I've taken the long road in deciding what I am searching as a designer/artist, something I still often have doubts about.

Lastly, what I would share about me is my wish to become a radio host and DJ. I like the concept of selecting music to make other people happy.

Myrto Giotakou © courtesy of the artist

What’s integral for your work as an illustrator?

Illustration is a relatively new field for me.  As a teenager, I would make comics and characters, but for years after my graduation, I was faced with a creative block and usually kept creating abstracted compositions, because of this different direction I had taken. In 2017, I bought a small Wacom tablet and started experimenting with digital. This combined with my later graphic design studies opened a new door to me, and I began to explore the capacity of words  being translated into pictures, so I slowly separated from the abstract. I still like looking at and making non-figurative art, devoid of the depiction of objects and people as a subject, as it is (for me) about the beautiful exploration of form and (usually) harmonic combination of color.

The domain of Illustration is honestly very diverse, it involves many genres, and studying anatomy, backgrounds, environments, perspective, composition, color, tone, shading, etc. I am self-taught without a formal education in all of that, so I am trying to learn through personal practice and by watching online tutorials.

Digital illustration in particular requires patience and willingness to continue non-stop, taking many years of effort, without achieving satisfying outcomes, until actually starting to get the grasp of it, and learning never stops.

I think I am more drawn to making cute characters, people or animals, which explains my inclination towards children's illustration, out of an extended array of directions. An integral part of my work is color. I use a lot of it, sometimes too much. Perhaps it would be beneficial to study it more and understand or reduce it, instead of relying on having a very vibrant palette.

Myrto Giotakou © courtesy of the artist

Are there any artists you admire and get inspiration from?

The list of artists I admire is very big and it spans diverse fields, but I will name a few of the most recent influences and some of the timeless old ones. Concerning contemporary artists, I would recommend looking at Dan Gartman illustrations, who also shares very informative tutorials on Youtube, Valeria Alvarez's awesome work, definitely in my top illustrators, Francesco Ciccolella with the intriguing vector style illustrations and Alexandra Zutto's elegant and inspiring abstract worlds.

In relation to influential favorite artists of the last century, I would start with Jean Giraud aka Moebius, famous French comic artist. I admire the playful-but-serious styles of Philip Guston and Picasso, Fortunato Depero's futurism, Victor Vasarely's Op art, Georgia O'Keeffe, David Hockney and surrealist Remedios Varo. The list goes on, including a lot of Greek talented contemporaries.

Concerning animation, I really enjoyed watching "Hilda" and "Arcane" on Netflix and I admire vintage animation aesthetics (like Disney), as well as new 3D animations (like Pixar).

Which parts of yourself do you need to break up with?

I guess I need to break up with the procrastinator in me and start to make more purposeful choices, connecting with art in the physical space, going to more exhibitions, which is something I have disregarded, getting to know like-minded individuals.

Also I want to try to be less influenced by other artists and focus on finding a 'personal voice' aside from comparisons or external inspiration, which sometimes cannot be avoided. The influence of Instagram trends for instance is tremendous, even overwhelming, so, another aspect that I would break up with, in terms of the creation process in the internet era, is the need to make art that is 'instagrammable' and instead focus on cultivating myself by exploring different traditional mediums (watercolour, acrylics, gouache), studying the fundamentals of drawing, and generally not spending so much effort on a virtual artist persona.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

"Fight for improvement not perfection". I really resonate with this and would like to be able to implement it in all daily life spectrum.

What title would you give to this chapter of your life?

I feel that life is ourselves in repeating circles and patterns, and I am going through a time where I understand some things better that have been burdening or holding me back. "Close the circles" signifies the ordering of the past, the letting go of regrets about unfinished things and situations, and the uprising of new beginnings towards the future.

Myrto Giotakou © courtesy of the artist

Instagram: @mirtogi

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