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STMTS - Young Dreams

Words:

Edd Norval
July 27, 2018

STMTS is a young Athenian fine art student that covers the walls of his native Greece in his unique wheatpasted pieces. His works tend to focus on childhood and the limits and innocence of youthful thought - something we can relate to.

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As a child, small things can seem giant. Physically there are the objects all around us - the chairs, stairs and just about everything else. It's what makes our world seem like such an adventure and what makes us want to continually explore every moment that we are awake. The adventures don't just last when we are awake though, they also bleed into our moments of sleep. As a child, what might excite us and entertain us when we are awake, can become overwhelming experiences in moments of slumber. The things might really be unimportant can seem like a whole lot of something when the lights are off.


It's these moments that STMTS captures in his work. Their dreamlike qualities aren't specifically tied to being asleep though. It's about the idea of conscious and unconscious. That means that they capture the times when we are daydreaming as well. These daydreams or night-dreams can manifest in a myriad of ways, it could be something exciting like colourful dreams of fluttering birds, or it could be a whirlwind of words and numbers, a reaction in our brain as it operates on the problems that we've not yet been able to consciously solve.


STMTS wasn't a huge fan of school, but had always enjoyed art. The idea that art is an intrinsic part of his life also ties into the style and themes of his work. They are a sort of spontaneous acknowledgement of his admitted restlessness. Being involved with the street cultures of graffiti and skateboarding acted as the tie that binds - it was here that everything came together. He had found his new favourite sketchbook, from school-time scribbles to the streets.

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What inspires these explorations of the unconscious parts of our mind? Problems. It's the problems that we face everyday, that accumulate and manifest as inexplicable and unexplainable thoughts that inspires his artwork. Problems are something that, as adults, we begin to process with a higher level of rationality - that is, we have learned enough 'things' through experience in our lives to better deal with our issues. As children, we are simply too ill-equipped to begin to rationalise problems in this way. Those moments when we can no longer shun them to the enclaves of our mind is when they breach to the fore. This is where the artist channels his vision.


The drawings themselves are sketchy, rough around the edges and full of imperfections. This makes them seem more human and more 'lived-in'. It makes the pieces easier to relate to and as such, means that they act as totemic figureheads for reflection. Those ghostly figures that float above STMTS subjects head, terrorising his thoughts, are triggers to our own memory of past terror. A problem shared is often a problem solved. As an audience, we are engaging in a dialogue. Based on this, the works often facilitate conversation.


19th-century French artist Gustave Doré is a huge influence on the young Athenian. Doré worked over a huge range of mediums, from printmaking to woodcarving, and as a result explored many themes. One that runs predominantly throughout his work is fairytale. Although never fully-fledged fantasy - his depictions of Little Red Riding Hood and various other childhood figures have a dreamlike quality that can also be seen in STMTS pieces.

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Happiness is also something that STMTS values highly. It's important to remember that, despite these overwhelming problems, his works often encourage finding the solution. The young people that he depicts are surrounded by their unconscious and it can be very beautiful. After all, he sees them as the next generation. Beyond being representatives of the future, the children are also symbolic of the loss of authenticity and innocence. These young people think and believe what they do for often fantastic reasons - it's this sense of awe and wonder that he seeks to capture. The same sense that without such reminders, we'd easily forget.


The process takes time. He is particularly scrupulous with his preparations, making sure that even though they look rough, the images faithfully capture a vital essence. The energy given off by children is powerful and contagious - it is important for STMTS to capture that in his work. Looking at them, we can feel their anxiety, yet also experience their joy. It's a reminder for us all to see things through the eyes of a child, yet with the experience that adulthood has given us. That way, our problems may seem more trivial, yet our dreams and our outlook, all the more wondrous.

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