KRYSSI STAIKIDIS
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ARTIST STATEMENT

My work often begins as a visual narrative connected to autobiography. The stories I paint are about immigration, a child’s longing, love, divorce, solitude, my dog, birds, the moon, the sea. I spent a small part of my childhood in Greece, and upon my return was left with the desire to go back. So,I return in my paintings. I think of paintings as means to emote, reminisce, and look back. My paintings are meant to be visual landscapes in which figures appear and disappear. These are stories, embedded, forgotten and revealed, works that hope to haunt and remind.

My process involves reading into stains of washes that I apply initially with oil and turpentine in layers. As I have an idea in mind, I look for the shapes of my characters randomly in the mix of transparency. Painting in this way, I am not limited by sketching or reproducing images that have already been created. I have found that as I paint, figures emerge that live their own lives and they begin to tell their own stories, often diverging from what I had originally intended. The paintings eventually become compositions of color and movement. They are painted one over another, sometimes ten or twelve times, so they are literally heavy. Nevertheless, when asked to express their meanings or describe them, I rarely discuss form, but rather the stories I represent.

Since my studies with two contemporary Guatemalan Maya painters, Pedro Rafael González Chavajay and Paula Nicho Cúmez, I have relied on narratives, both personal and cultural, as the driving forces for my work. Most recently, I have painted a series that examines my own cultural hybridity and the memories and oral histories told to me by relatives who remember crossing continents from Russia escaping pogroms, and first trips to the United States from Greece. Most recently, I have worked on a series of Buddhist parables as well. Currently, I am working on a series about my dog who acts as my guide through our small Midwestern odyssey.