As if following an unwritten rule, at first glance, I always fall in love with the female artists and their strong, yet gentle lines. The same happened with Simoni Fontana and her lovely and serious girls which seem to be hiding an infinite wisdom in their wide eyes.
The first time I’ve heard about the Greek artist Simoni Fontana was last autumn, when she was drawing with Ser, Junk and Cash in Thessaloniki. The same Serbian-Greek cooperation will repeat this year in Belgrade. One of Dorcol’s walls will be adorned with Thessalonike, the goddess after which the city was named.
Before meeting her in person, I have decided to ask her a few questions.
How did you get started doing street art?
My interest in street art developed through my relationship with Argyris SER, my artistic alter-ego, who is also one of the pioneers of the Greek Street Art scene. It was him who introduced me to this magical world, a world that instantly appealed to me and seemed like the perfect outlet for my creative pursuit.
It’s not every day that you hear of a couple doing street art together. Can you tell me a little bit about collaboration with your husband?
Apart from our individual artistic identities, there is a cooperative part that equally defines us as artists. We work together as often as we can, as it is something that on top of being really enjoyable helps us involve artistically. On our cooperative projects we affect each other, whether we are working on a painting or a wall. We try to reach out to each other and the result mirrors both of us creatively. It is a meeting of expressions.
What was your opinion on street art before you started doing it?
I have always felt that it is a kind of art which represents the need to communicate. My first contact with the broader genre was through graffiti, which was a common practice among my friends. I was very interested in it.
Why did you decide to paint the female characters?
Our society is overwhelmed with male energy and I feel that the female energy, with some of its key manifestations, like tenderness, is really missing. These elements are incorporated in my style. The fantasy world inside my mind is a dreamy wonderland overflown with emotion.
The girls you paint can easily be imagined as cartoon or comic characters. In that case, which characteristics, super powers, story… would they have?
Their super power is the ajna, the inner eye, an intuition which provide perception beyond ordinary sight. They are able to see behind the vale and their will is to give protection to all beings.
Is there an artwork or project you are most proud of?
It’s hard for me to choose any, I try to only work on projects I am excited about. I am however really happy about my participation in the Benaki museum exhibition “Like New!” (September 2014, Athens). It’s one of Greece’s most important museums, a place that I always make sure to visit when I am in Athens, and naturally it was very rewarding seeing my work exhibited in such a unique institution.
Do you think you will still be a street artist after 15 years?
Yes I will! I like the immediacy of Street Art – the way it instantly connects the artist with the audience, passing through messages and emotions, brightening up a person’s day. I love its utterly democratic aspect, the way it is out there for everyone to enjoy and there is no way I am giving this up, I plan to stick around!
Do you know anything about Belgrade?
For all of us in Greece, the words Belgrade and Serbia are synonymous with the words neighborhood and friends. My hometown, Corfu, is a city that has a Serbian element in its history. We have a Serbian Consulate and museum as well as an association of Serbians and Greek-Serbian friendship. Once a year we welcome Serbian representatives for Ceremonies exploring our shared historical experience.