Sydney based artist George Raftopoulos is best known for his fierce cryptic expressions exploring history, memory and cultural lineage.
To capture a fleetingly hot sensation; to preserve the electrifying jolt of a single moment in amber; to catapult a timeless past into the visceral present so that it can be felt by another human being. These are George’s great quests as an artist.
It’s not enough for him to ‘show’ us what he has seen in his travels. George wants us to ‘experience’ what he has experienced. ‘It’s like I’m trying to extract the truth and the pure essence,’ he says.
Paradoxically, his creative process relies on erosion. George doesn’t record the things he sees. He doesn’t sketch or take photographs. To fully remember a moment, George abandons the experience to the corrosive sands of time and memory. To communicate his experiences, he has to recreate them for himself which explains the urgency and speed of his brush work.
Yet George will wrestle with a work until it does what he wants it to do. He mimics the layering of time – embedding the gouges of the past rather than burying them – with coat after coat after coat. ‘I sit there and work and work and work at things. That’s why they have so many layers. They’re like historical mind-maps’.
George will discuss how his work is the basis for living his life with integrity and brevity. He wants everyone to find their own voice, which plants the seeds that enable personal growth.