Our boarded up storefronts are a muse for a Greek artist.
We've become immune to boarded-up storefronts, passing by without a second thought. But when Spaces gallery invited Greek artist Theodoros Stamatogiannis to tour Cleveland as part of its world artist program, he saw art in our ruin. "You have some stores that are still in use, but some are shuttered," he says. "It's amazing how people have made all of these DIY constructions in order to keep them closed, to bar them up." Those storefronts and past projects inspired the artist to create an installation for his I Am Goat Stains on the Doorsexhibit, which runs through March 25. He shares the project's finer points with us.
Stamatogiannis' work often uses wood, doors, flooring and even sports equipment to bend the function of materials into something unclear. He's a fan of bituminous sheeting, similar to asphalt that's used in waterproof roofs, but struggled to find excess until now. "When I came to Cleveland, this material was all over," he says.
The exhibit's title may be confusing, but look closer, and you'll see Stamatogiannis rearranged the letters in his name. "Art is about getting expression from something," he says. "I used my name, and I tried to make something else out of it."
As Stamatogiannis walked and biked the city, he became intrigued by the diversity, especially in blighted parts. "I found the area of the Slavic Village very influential. It seems like this area has gone through a lot of changes," he muses. "There are so many layers ... even on the storefronts."