Angelica Sotiriou Featured in ShoutOut LA
Originally published here.
We had the good fortune of connecting with Angelica Sotiriou and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Angelica, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I knew no other path that fit so well. Indeed, I tried following other career choices, none of which fit my life path. The artistic, creative career chose me. I understood early on that my lens was one of as a “creative”. I found ways to use my creative lens in the world outside of my art studio. I have been a teaching artist for the majority of my art career…teaching in universities, colleges, high schools, elementary and art institutes…sprinkled throughout those years I was a director, a coordinator of art outreach programs, an art gallery manager, I wrote and designed integrated art curriculum for private and public schools, I even designed ads for a small newspaper. All the while, each position was affiliated with “art”…as I said, the creative more artistic career chased me. My perspective of the world has always been through a creative lens. Since childhood, the “Arts”, dance, music, visual and the performing arts is where I find my “tribe”….it is the language of the “heart”.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Wow…that is a big question. How did I get to this point in my career…Truly, Dogged-Tenacity! I never stopped making art or teaching art. Even if it was with my children or grandchildren, I found ways to insert the creative process into the day. The challenges were many but the comfort and clarity of staying true to my authentic self was defining and sustaining. Being a woman of immigrant parents, a childhood and young adulthood of limited means, being a woman and a woman-artist in the 70’s where the glass ceiling had yet to be cracked, living through my early years, finding a niche in a community that did not understand how to support the arts, erstwhile, trying always to find balance wearing the many hats of being a dedicated mother, present wife, care-giving daughter, paying bills, being a community member and feeding my artist heart and soul. Yes, the challenges were many…but, they seamlessly integrated into my artwork. Each challenge pushed me even deeper into my dedication to keep my heart’s desire alive. I promised myself, one day, I would have the blessing of my own studio, where I could contemplatively work out the chaos of the world and make “Beauty” and seek “Beauty”. For these last 25 years I have maintained a separate Art Studio, “a room of one’s own”, so to speak. The studio is my oasis, my place of “Sacred Quietude”. I often refer to my studio as a “she” and or my “muse”…she waits patiently for me and allows me to mull over my conceptual perspectives, to modify my ideas and resolutions, to invent and renew ways to use my acrylic paints to better define my visual-prayers and heart-felt concerns of the global density. What incredible magic, to have at the end of my paintbrush…To have the power to create solutions, beauty, bold statements, invitations to intimate and global conversations, a glimpse into a mystical process of creation, to co-create…and to experience the depth of learning that your newest work has to gift you. Truly, making art is a language of the heart, which at times needs no words, or long-winded pontification, to justify why the work is done. I use my medium to invite my audience into my work, layers of translucent, transparent and illuminated paint to find more than just the surface technical application…My work…is to enter my paintings as through a portal, into a seamless timeless space…to catch a fleeting glimpse of something remembered, forgotten, recognized…something that is viscerally sublime and spiritual in it’s invitation to be a part of something larger than us. The works I create are thick with texture and energy, yet, are tranquil in their final compositional resolution.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First off, we would have a blast. Los Angeles and the beach communities are wonderful. I am a native of the area and a day does not go by that I find something wonderful to be grateful for…We would start our day early with a walk along the Strand, near the Hermosa Pier, perhaps pick up a coffee and a croissant at the French Bakery, Cafe Bonaparte. We would drive to the original Guiliano’s Delicatessen in Gardena and pick up delicacies for our picnic lunch. We will head out to hike along the Terranea Resort hike or walk Point Vicente trails in Palos Verdes…wartching the whales and dolphins pass below and the pelicans flying above us. Dinner would be a simple feast at the inviting neighborhood Brazilian Restaurant Panelas Brazilian Cuisine…as we make our list of museums to visit during the week. Our next day and week ahead we would spend our days visiting The Hammer Museum, The Gagosian, LACMA, The Broad, Bergamot Galleries…squeezing in Grand Central Market DTLA and eating at The EggSlut…or venturing to Papa Cristo’s Greek Grill, eating lamb shanks and picking up cheeses, bread and Greek wines to bring home to share in my garden patio…we would swing back to the coast and ride the carousel and Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica pier and continue our adventure, stopping to walk the canals in Venice and take in Bergamot Station. Los Angeles and the Beach Cities are a beautiful collection of cultural pockets that come with cultural culinary delights and art that gives a nod to each community in it’s own hometown.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to acknowledge the many dedicated teachers in my life (many or most who have passed many years ago) who early on recognized that my shyness was not my lack of intelligence or language aptitude, but, that I was a more introspective and highly creative child. These special teachers took the time to create situations that allowed me to integrate my artistic aptitude into the average core curriculum. My sixth grade teacher Mrs. Kaytor who let me stay after school and help her prep art projects and glaze our ceramic pieces, she gave me license to illustrate my book reports to share them with other grade levels. Mr. Jancar, my high school art teacher who encouraged me and acknowledged my love of art, often showcasing my work on the classroom cork boards. Abundant gratitude to Mr. Fagan, my junior college life-drawing instructor, who would use my drawings to teach his other classes. To my Graduate School professors at UCLA, Lee Mullican for encouraging me to heed my own voice and to Laddie Dill who honored my work with his encouragement and belief school was just the beginning of my life as an artist. To all the women artists in my life who mentored me and modeled for me by their strength, their commitment and dedication to their art, all the while raising children, working to pay their bills and finding ways into an established patristic system of success. Recognition goes to my hardworking father, who deserves recognition for sitting patiently with me at night, as he taught me how to draw the freighters at sea, where he once traveled the world as a chief engineer in the merchant marines.