Andreas Skoufaris - The Satisfying Part Is To Engage With The Creative Thoughts And Enable Yourself To Lay It Out On Paper (Artist)

Andreas Skoufaris

Change your medium of choice, the process of learning something new and decoding a new process leads you to a different set of mind about your practice and your inner self discovering.

1. Tell us about your background and journey.

My name is Andreas Skoufaris aka Le Skouf (my nickname is inspired from my surname and this is how my friends call me so it became my art persona) and I was born in Cyprus on 5th of November in 1988. Since the 4th grade of primary school, I found out my love for art and I wanted to be involved in the world of art.

After school, I completed my army duties and got accepted at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK for a Foundation course in Art and Design in 2008. After completing my Foundation, I continued my studies at the same University earning a BA in Fine Arts where I had the chance to experiment with different practices and techniques like painting, sculpting, wood work, glass etc. and from figurative art to minimalism. 

After graduation, I moved to Leeds where I earned an MA in Art & Design and my practice and guidance from my tutors lead me to investigate French philosophy and incorporate it into my art. This lead me to change my view of where I can find inspiration and how to engage with different kinds of art. 

In 2013, I moved to Cyprus where I started working as an Art Teacher in various institutions both private and public. In 2018, I also earned a PGCE from University of Buckingham, UK. 

During 2014, I got inspired by Cypriot language, proverbs and Urban myths and started creating and discovering my visual language leading to my first solo exhibition at "isnotgallery" in 2019. Since then I took part in various group exhibition while simultaneously working as an Art Teacher and working on new paintings.

2. How and when did you realize your passion for art?

During primary school, I used to go and “work” at my Grandfathers carpenter factory where I had the chance to learn how to build chairs, sofas, tables etc. During that time, I acknowledge the creativity in me and I wanted to be just like him. To be able to create something from zero. 

In the years after my grandfather taught me how to draw figures which they looked like the Greek folklore character “Karagkiozis”. Then and there I found my love for creation, my love to be able to lay down my ideas on a paper and express my ideas, beliefs and energy. 

Also a definite moment for my art passion was the inspiration moment from my grandmother who also paints when one day sitting in the living room she started telling an urban myth about the birth of the spider, the turtle, the hedgehog and the bee. 

It was so beautiful that my mind created images almost instantly and started painting them. An also big role, loving art, played the teachings I had from my two art teachers Peter & Eleni during my private art lessons where they cultivated my art skills to the full for a good start for my art career.

3. What satisfies the artist in you?

As an artist, I am not connected with the final outcome of my paintings. What satisfies me more is the process, how I am going to solve the puzzle of taking a word or a phrase or a story and translating into a painting. 

The satisfying part is to engage with the creative thoughts and enable yourself to lay it out on paper or canvas or clay which is your medium of choice let’s say. This is a calming process for me where I can relieve the pressure of my thoughts and the stresses that everyday life creates.

4. Is there any art that you are particularly associated with and why?

During this period, in my humble opinion, my art is associated with Lowbrow Art movement or Pop surrealism. I think is close to that movement because of the inspirations I have from anime, manga, comics, hip-hop music, skater’s community. Big inspiration are also stories and myths where I use them for inspiration and incorporate various creatures or cultures into my art.

5. What advice would you like to give to the aspiring artists?

-The main advice I follow my self is an artist is “Follow every lead and engage with anyone you can!” meaning that every idea you think engage with it regardless if comes out right or wrong. This process will lead you to something else and you will learn your own way of creating. Engage with all sort of people from various cultures, socioeconomic status or educational status you have no idea from where the inspiration will come and how your brain will anticipate that moment whether you agree or disagree with them.

-Change your medium of choice, the process of learning something new and decoding a new process leads you to a different set of mind about your practice and your inner self discovering.

-Engage with your mistakes, if something doesn’t come out as you planned work it more or shuffle it or crumble it and continue. Remember, as a Greek saying points out perfectly, “Error is superior to Art”.

- Get inspired by your hobbies, interests, food, friends, culture or social encounters. It broads your mind and unleashes a great new experience.

- Do research it doesn’t matter on what subject just be open to new explorations.

-Look and see works from other creative people and don’t chase the idea that you have to create something that is original and at this point where millions of artists work around the world someone thought what you thought. Personal point of you “Originality doesn’t exist!” But what exists is your personal point of view and the feedback you want to give to the world.

-Always carry with you a notebook and write down your ideas and feelings accurate and clean. Clean ideas lead to a cleaner mind.  

- If you feel depressed or disorganized or lost look for help, diagnose it and take the necessary steps to improve your mental health. This came late into my life but it changed my living quality for the better.

-Take into consideration that your art, if you are serious about it, is not just for hobby is a need that you have to express yourself. So, if that is the case also learn how to create and manage a business. The practical things like logistic or marketing play a big role in your upcoming career and most Universities does not teach them. Take the initiative and learn about them it will make your life easier and you will be able to concentrate more freely into your creations.    

- Last but not the least: “PRACTICE YOUR ART EVERYDAY” either is a minute or hours depending on your life. If you leave something unscratched for too long then it leaves you too. 

 6. How do you plan to take your career forward?

My plan for the future is to be able to support my living style and my future family from my art. I plan to concentrate on my art and be involved in various projects and hopefully I will improve and learn how to create a business around it.

7. Which is your favorite book and why?

I have a vast field of book reading so I don’t have a favorite one. But the last two books which I am reading made an impact on my mind and trail of thought. The first is “Sex, robot and Vegan meat: Adventures at the Frontier of birth, food, sex and death.” By Jenny Kleeman. 

These areas are a huge part of our lives and this book gave me an inside and new perspective for the world we are leaving in exploring the likes and dislikes of different people. 

The second one is “Full Catastrophe living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn , which I actually read before, but the second time with new mentality helps to create a mechanism to fight stress and find new ways to put your life in order, improve your relationships and unlock your creative self in whatever that means for you.

Art of Andreas Skoufaris

Andreas Skoufaris

Instagram id : @le_skouf

Website : Leskouf

Interviewed by : Ananie Borgia

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