Βorn in Greece in 1962, the artist and illustrator Photini Stephanidi -daughter of the painter Yannis Stephanidis- completed her studies in painting and fresco at the Athens School of Fine Arts in 1986, where her teachers included painters of international repute such as Giannis Moralis, Dimitris Mytaras and Constantine Xinopoulos. Since 1988 she has exhibited her work in thirteen individual and many group and international exhibitions of painting, engraving and illustration both in Greece and abroad. Her pictures have featured in over seventy published works, including editions of Greek folk tales, literature and poetry, and she has made a speciality of collectors’ editions. Notable among the many prizes and distinctions her work has gained are the Bratislava Illustrators’ Biennale Plaque (2001), the Greek State Prize for Illustration (2003, 2007 and 2011), the Belgrade Illustrators’ Biennale ‘Golden Pen’ (2005) and 'Plaquette' (2010), the first prize for illustrations from the Greek Section of IBBY (1995, 2005 and 2011), her selection as the Hellenic Republic’s candidate for the 2004 Hans Christian Andersen Prize, and for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Awards.

 

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2012 The Strange Love of the White Horse and the Poplar Tree, paintings and objects, "24" Gallery, Athens, Greece
  • 2012 The Painting looks like a Fairytale, paintings, designs, illustrations, engravings, N. Ionia's of Volos City Cultural Centre, Volos, Greece
  • 2011 With the Paint-Brush of the Tales, Miranda Gallery, Hydra, Greece
  • 2011 The Statue Who Was Always Cold, Volos, Greece
  • 2007 Eros and Psyche, Sappho and Without a Shadow, Hryssothemis Gallery, Halandri, Athens, Greece
  • 2005 Shards of Absence, 24 etching works, Gallery of Art and Books, Athens, Greece
  • 2004 Words and Pictures, Heidelberg Town Hall, Germany
  • 2004 Paintings, Polyedro Gallery, Patra, Greece
  • 2000 Paintings and constructions, Clasing Gallery, Munster, Germany
  • 1999 Paintings and engravings, Hryssa Gallery, Katerini, Greece
  • 1998 Paintings, illustrations and workshop, Town Hall of Aghia Paraskevi, Athens, Greece
  • 1998 Paintings and Illustrations, Literary and Art Place named Stoa, Athens, Greece
  • 1998 Paintings and Workshop, Rethymnon, Crete, Greece
  • 1998 Paintings, Miranda Gallery, Hydra island, Greece
  • 1995 Paintings, Engravings and a Livre d' Artiste, Institute Cervantes of Athens, Greece
  • 1988 Paintings and designs, Eleni Koroneou Gallery, Athens, Greece

 

Group Exhibitions (selection)

  • 2012 Through the Art, Painting, Sculpture, Kaplanon 5 Gallery at Town Pinacotheque, Lamia, Greece
  • 2012 From Byzantion up to today - Bookbinding exhibition, Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens, Greece
  • 2012 Painting, Akrata's Town Hall Gallery, Akrata, Greece
  • 2012 Kokini klosti, illustrations,Historical Museum of Hydra Island, Hydra, Greece
  • 2011 Eikonographia, illustrations and painting, Hryssothemis Gallery, Halandri, Athens, Greece
  • 2011 Seven Strange Short Stories, paintings, Gallery 24, Athens, Greece
  • 2011 Golden Pen Biennale of Illustration and Book Design, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 2011 Biennale Illustration Bratislava (ΒΙΒ) Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 2010 Painting, Hryssothemis Gallery, Halandri, Athens, Greece 2010-2011
  • 2010 From Jewlles to Painting, paintings and jewels, Sophie's Gallery, Lemnos island, Greece 2010
  • 2010 Hand-made Christmas Cards, engravings, Hryssa Gallery, Katerini, Greece
  • 2010 Poets and Painters, etchings, Hryssothemis Gallery, Halandri, Athens, Greece
  • 2010 Illustrators from Greece, Hios Island Library, Greece 2010
  • 2009 Golden Pen Biennale of Illustration and Book Design, Belgrade, Serbia (awarded with Golden Pen Plaquette)
  • 2009 Biennale Illustration Bratislava (ΒΙΒ) Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 2008 Traditional Christmas Songs, paintings, Hryssothemis Gallery, Halandri, Athens, Greece
  • 2008 Christmas Tales, paintings, Hryssa Gallery, Katerini, Greece
  • 2008 paintings, Sophie's Gallery, Lemnos island, Greece
  • 2007 For Mr. Andersen, paintings, Town Hall of Athens, Greece
  • 2007 Travelling by Pictures, Illustrations, Giorgio De Chirico Center, Volos, Greece
  • 2007 Golden Pen Biennale of Illustration and Book Design, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 2007 Biennale Illustration Bratislava (ΒΙΒ) Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 2006 Once upon a Time was Penelope Delta, paintings, Psychico's College, Athens, Greece
  • 2005 Biennale Illustration Bratislava (ΒΙΒ) Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 2005 Golden Pen Biennale of Illustration and Book Design, Belgrade, Serbia (awarded with Golden Pen)
  • 2004 Barefoot Pictures, contemporary Greek illustrators, Bolognafiera, Bologna, Italy
  • 2004 Biennale Illustration Bratislava (ΒΙΒ) as a special technique illustrator, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2004 Greek Illustrators, EETE, Athens, Greece
  • 2003 Vassilis Zevgolis's Ex-Libris collection, EPASKT, Athens, Greece
  • 2003 Ιnternational Print in Bejiing, Bejiing, China
  • 2003 International Ex-Libris Centre, competition on "Freedom", Sofia, Bulgaria
  • 2003 Ankara Ex-Libris Society, Ankara, Turkey
  • 2003 Premio Acqui International Engraving Meeting, Acqui Terme, Italy
  • 2003 International Ex-Libris Center, competition on "Eros", Havirov, Czech Republic
  • 2003 Biennale Illustration Bratislava (ΒΙΒ) Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 2002 Balkanial Ex-Libris competition on "The Bridge", Tribel I, Belgrade, Serbia (1st Award)
  • 2002 Biennale Illustration Bratislava (ΒΙΒ) as BIB distinction, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2001 Golden Pen Biennale of Illustration and Book Design, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 2001 Biennale Illustration Bratislava (ΒΙΒ) Bratislava, Slovakia (awarded with ΒΙΒ Plaque)
  • 2001 Contemporary Greek Illustrators, Frankfurt International Book Exhibition, Frankfurt, Germany
  • 2001 International competition and exhibition Ex-Libris of Saint Niklaas on "The Baloon", Saint Niklaas, Belgium
  • 2000 Greek Engraving Triennale, Pieridis Gallery, Glyfada, Greece
  • 1999 Golden Pen Biennale of Illustration and Book Design, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 1999 Biennale Illustration Bratislava (ΒΙΒ) Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 1999 ΤΙΒΙ Tehran Illustration, "Τhe World of Love and Lune", Tehran, Iran
  • 1998 Painting, Clasing Gallery, Munster, Germany
  • 1998 Painting, Galleria Alameda, Vigo, Spain
  • 1997 Painting, Galleria Obradoiro de Artes, Spain
  • 1995 Erotics, paintings, EPASKT Gallery, Athens, Greece
  • 1995 Golden Pen Biennale of Illustration and Book Design, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 1995 Biennale Illustration Bratislava (ΒΙΒ) Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 1994 Through the Way of Fantasy, illustrations, Nafplio Gallery, Nafplio, Greece
  • 1993 Erslossene Raume, paintings, installations, sculptures, European workshop, ACC Gallery, Weimar, Germany
  • 1993 Landscape Art, French Institute, Philothei, Athens
  • 1993 ΤΙΒΙ Tehran Illustration, Tehran, Iran
  • 1992 International Competition of the Catholic Academy of Hamburg on "Prodigal Son", Hamburg, Germany
  • 1992 International Illustration Exhibition and Annual at the Bologna Book Fair, Bologna, Italy
  • 1991 Playing with Art, illustrations and constructions,French Institute, Philothei, Athens, Greece
  • 1989 Painting, Hryssa Gallery, Katerini, Greece
  • 1987 Panhellenic Exhibition of Art, OLP, Piraeus, Greece
  • 1986 Four young painters, painting, Miranda Gallery, Hydra, Greece 1986

 

Though I have long been an admirer of Photini Stephanidi’s talents as an illustrator, it is only on my two most recent books that I have had the good fortune to work with her and my readers the even better fortune to see the excellent result.

She always treats the material she will be illustrating as something to be cherished, and tries to hear its inner voice before beginning her own work. She is extremely cooperative and pays close attention to the author’s opinions and even his objections; but it will always be she who finds the most practical solutions to any problems that arise regarding the illustrations.

As an artist, Photini Stephanidi has achieved something very difficult: to adopt, like Proteus, new forms whenever her material requires it, and yet to remain the same artist, with her own distinctive line and warmth of colour, her own especial atmosphere and unhurried ease of execution, the childlike simplicity which speaks directly to the soul, and the unique patina to her work which reminds me of the ancient frescoes on my neighbouring island, Delos. Her work, though spare and stripped of all superfluous adornment, is rich in content and always leaves the essence to speak out. That is why it is not forgotten easily.

 

Panayotis Kousathanas

 


 

 

So much in the mind, so many feelings; and yet so little in the hand to show for it. The sound of an inner voice, a picture that takes shape in the imagination, a sense of what its atmosphere will be, its flavour and its movement. Yet always a gap, impossible to bridge, between the vision and its realization. There can be no compromise, however, since a tangible result will bring more joy than anything imagined but not realized. That which is only in the mind becomes confused with what is real, that which is painted with that which is alive. There are times when one feels scorn for the smooth and 'facile' surface of whatever work one is creating, whether it be a rapid sketch or a composition that has been months in the creating. And the materials? Τhese, too, are important, each helping one achieve one's goal through its own unique qualities. For painting, there is egg tempera, each brush stroke giving its own glowing semitone of colour. Old powder colours, natural wherever possible, in all the range of shades the earth provides and each, like precious herbs, with its own name: red cinnabar and blue of lapis lazuli, Cyprus green and yellow ochre, worked in with vinegar to keep them bright for ever. Fine quality oil colours, or ones mixed from the same old powders. Little bricks of old-style water-colour paint. Traditional Indian ink. Brushes of natural bristle and others with long, fine hairs, hand-made in Japan. For engravings, oil-based inks and an ancient press, hand-operated. Natural surfaces, above all walls whose plaster is still damp. Paper made from cotton or plant fibres. Wood, often bearing the marks of some former purpose it once served. Pottery sherds, cloth, papyrus or any material that has something of its own to offer, to inspire and more than often guide one's hand. And strength of spirit, at the same time both the easiest and hardest thing to find. So much disappointment, so little satisfaction; so rarely does everything fall into place, and so few the works that will survive.

 

Photini Stephanidi

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