Helene Taptas welcomes me to her studio. There is something delicate and ethereal in her style, however her art work, silently hanging around us, witnesses the persistence it took for it to be materialized. Her work, which I know from pictures, looks different up close and impresses me with its chromatic qualities. One can bet that they have all been created with oil paints but the artist denies it; many of them have been created just with acrylics. "How do you manage to create the illusion of oil, while using acrylics?” I ask. She laughs pleasantly and thinks about it "It is one layer after another, some layers very diluted; in fact I mimic the oil ritual. Sometimes I use additives that give me some density. I often mix different materials. "
What canvas sizes do you prefer to work with?
All sizes are ok, but usually I will either choose very small ones or really large ones, close to two square meters.
When someone looks at your work for a while it seems that there is an optical illusion of movement, does this happen deliberately?
I like my paintings to have a certain atmosphere, which is basically produced by the very way I perceive an image. The image is a moving tale, it is not something static, and it is not at all a still life. When you're dealing with a sky it cannot be static, neither when you're dealing with a meadow. And when you're dealing with an emotion it is not static either.
There is silence in your paintings...
I would say quietness...
Why? How does this occur?
I suppose it’s because I like this element, it makes you discover things. Besides, the biggest fuss hides in silence… in the desert ... in a monastery...
-It seems, though, as if something is going to happen in your paintings...
Yeah right, something is going to happen in there, and although I do not seek it, I find it. When the viewer looks at the painting, I really do not want him to feel that it is finished. I want him to be able to discover something in it, something that is going to happen, although the painting must escape verbiage.
Even a line can say so much. It's a little difficult to express painting with words. (She laughs ) That is the reason why we paint.
-Which are your favorite colors?
Ultramarine blue, sepia, ocher, white, dark green, brown ... but mainly sepia is the base in my color environments.
- What are the subjects you love?
My themes are always about nature, but nature itself is not really what interests me.
-What interests you?
The feeling that nature leaves you with, the feeling of silence, of solitude, but also the feeling of nostalgia. The best way for me to express or describe these feelings is to recreate nature on my canvas.
- How did your relationship with art start?
It started since I was a kid; all I ever wanted to do was to paint and smudge. I was nowhere near being a wonder child, but, still, there was nothing else I desired to do. It was a whole journey of thinking and acting. I never wanted to earn my life as a painter, I wanted painting to be pure freedom for me, that’s why I decided to work as a graphic designer, so that I could keep my creative side out of any financial transaction and be allowed to produce my own thing .
- Are you happy today with your past decisions?
Yes, very much. My progress as an artist is just happening, constantly and naturally, mainly because I respected my inner pace. So I travel, I see things and compose my own painting world.
I say goodbye to Helen Taptas, but I keep the mysterious silence of her landscapes and colors.
"In the end art is just a big question," she says just before I leave, «I do not even know if art criticism can truly say something about paintings, since it uses words to talk about art." So," I ask, "which way do you think is the best for one to talk about painting?” "Not with words." she says with confidence. "I think that a mathematician can probably say more about a painting than someone who speaks with words.”
Helene Taptas was born in Istanbul.
She studied graphic arts at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Modernes in Paris.
She worked as a graphic artist in the advertising companies: PARIS MATCH, AXE Publicité, SYNODIS, SYNERGIE.
As a freelancer in Paris, she painted walls and illustrated books. During her stay in New York she decorated expo stands.
Upon her return to Greece, she continued her studies in painting, to which she dedicated herself under her teacher Thanasis Stefopoulos.
-She is a member of the Chamber of Fine Arts of Greece.
-She is a member of the Photography Cycle.
-She is a member of the Board of Directors of PNOE - Friends of Children in Intensive Care, a nonprofit organization (www.pnoe.gr)
• Atelier MURAL / Paris 1974
• Art Gallery ORAISMA / Athens 1988
• Art Gallery FOKILIDOU 3 / Athens 1999
• ΑRTQUAKE / BENAKI Museum / Athens 1999
• BENAKI Museum / Athens 2000
• LUFTHANSA VIP Lounge “Olympic Games” / Athens 2004
• MORAITIS Winery / Paros 2005
• Kalamata Cultural Center / Kalamata 2006
• Art Gallery GAIA / Piraeus 2010
• TOGETHER FOR CHILDREN Melas Mansion / Athens 2010
• NORION Art Gallery / Agrinio 2012
• Art Gallery ARENA Triptychs / Athens 1980
• SKOUFA Gallery / Athens 1998
• SKOUFA Gallery / Athens 2005
• PERIPLANISI Art Gallery, Glyfada / Athens 2008
• Art Gallery ETIENNE DE CAUSANS / Paris 2010
• Art Gallery THEORAMA / Brussels 2011
• CERCLE MUNSTER / Luxembourg 2014