Ioanna Di Monaco
Her paintings have been acquired by royalty families in the United Kingdom and Monaco and celebrities such as Madonna. The internationally renowned Greek painter is one of very few people that managed to obtain permission to present a pop art version of Queen Elisabeth in an exhibition titled “Her Majesty’s Life” in the Hellenic Center of London and she recently won the title of “Royal Artist” during an event for the Sapphire Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, in London. Her acclaimed exhibition titled “My Treasures” advocates for the return of the Parthenon Marbles and will be showcased this year in London. Next May, Ioanna Efthimiou , President of the international organization International Action-Art Monaco, will be hosting in Monte Carlo one of the most popular artistic gala, featuring Maria Kallas.
From an artistic perspective, how are Queen Elizabeth, Grace Kelly and Gioconda connected? What sparked your inspiration?
These are three women who made history, and became global symbols, each on her own right. Queen Elizabeth became a symbol of vigor and perceptiveness, Princess Grace of Monaco of crystalline beauty and innate kindness, and the enigmatic Gioconda, the mystery woman, that attracts thousands of visitors every day at the “Salle des Etats” hall in the Louvre Museum. Being inspire by iconic women of this magnitude, stimulates the mind of an artist, especially mine that is trying make the myth come alive. For me, having these three women meet in the same place, at the same time and complementing each other, creates a new dimension, that turns illusion into reality.
Your connection to Monaco and the House of Grimaldi is well known. Has it been a defining point in your artistic career? And if so, why?
My connection to Monaco was fate, it was inevitable, something I was naturally unable to resist. My acquaintance with the royal family because of job, played an important role in my stay and my further engagement with the arts there. My work acquires a new dimension and importance in Monaco. The country inspires me ever more, each time I visit, giving a new touch to my work. It is no coincidence that many great artists, such as Dali, have passed through there, in the past.
You like to experiment with artistic styles. I would like to ask you to define the aesthetic you are expressing through your work.
The aesthetic I express through my work is what expresses me deeply… it’s me without pretenses or commitments. My work always narrate a truth free of stereotypes. I get inspiration from Pop Art, the artistic movement that suits me best and to which I belong, but I also use elements of expressionism, because I want expression to play a significant role in my work. The styles I use are also usually part of the Pop aesthetic and the charm I want to give, like the use of diamond dust.
What do you think is the responsibility of art in the modern world?
The responsibility of art is important, mainly in shaping the view of younger generations that it comes in contact with. That’s why artists should always consider the responsibility they have. They need to be true and direct and certainly not disconnected from what’s happening around them.
You are ending 2019 with a distinct collection of evening dresses. What compelled you to intervene in the world of fashion?
I have always designed clothes, as well as objects with some utility, some of which were marketed by well-known brands. After receiving my bachelor’s degree from the Athens School of Fine Arts, I continued my postgraduate studies in design, in London and later in New York. Personally, designing a red Ferrari GTO 250 or a red evening dress, is the same thing. My new line of clothes is for women that love art and are looking for something very unique in very few pieces. This does not mean I am giving up on my painting… it’s just an extension of my work.
What are you planning for the new year?
For the new year I am preparing a series of exhibitions for my new work entitled “Angels/Crystal Reality”, in London, Monaco, and possibly in Athens. I will also be exhibiting my work “My treasures” in London, which has been awarded and displayed in Greece at the Meropion Institution, at the Tsichritzis Foundation, at the Zappeion Megaron, at the Municipal Theatre of Pireaus and elsewhere with the support of the group UNESCO of Piraeus and Islands. Equally important for the new year, is the art gala that I am planning in Monte Carlo, as President of the organization International Action-Art Monaco, that will feature the unforgettable Maria Kallas.