Street Art and the Soul: An Interview with Stamatis Laskos
At one point in my life when I was overwhelmed by an absurd enthusiasm in street art – which eventually evolved into tacky stencils and then faded out – I bumped into Stamatis Laskos’ work and since then became a loyal follower.
What makes Laskos’ work so blatantly characteristic is how his surrealistic depiction of human bodies subtly bleeds a certain amount of realism. His figures might appear in bizarre postures with caricature-like faces but firmly express the friction of earthbound existence. Fine lines and neutral colours give life to creatures on canvases and walls that will most likely haunt your dreams as soon as you catch a glimpse of them.
Laskos has been drawing ever since he can remember, and his very first encounter with street art back in high school was definitely a fatal one. When asked about at what point he decided to choose a wall instead of a paper to create his art he remembers: “When I first saw a painted wall I was so impressed with the image that I immediately wanted to try it. Street art is something exposed to everyone and there is a special way of communication between the artist and the rest of the world.”
The list of artistic influences in his work is endless, however he mentions three artists that served as inspirations: Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Apart from the external influences, in order to create his personal style Laskos had to go through many years of practice. “I started with figurative painting when I attended Athens School of Fine Arts in 2005 and at the fourth and fifth year of my degree I focused on creating my own imaginary figures. Since then my art emerges mainly from imagination and less from reality.”
His talent has been recognized both locally and internationally as his figures have been featured on music album covers and magazines such as The New Yorker. But this hasn’t altered the way he sees his work. “I wouldn’t pick a particular artwork of mine and name it as a favourite. Each and every one of my paintings has had a certain influence on me – from the reason behind its creation to the emotions I underwent while creating it.”
Undoubtedly, as a street artist Laskos acquires the potential to influence whoever is exposed to his art. He believes that street art and art in general has indeed the power to shape ideologies and has a remarkable impact on society. “Expressing your soul through art is truly unique. When it comes to street art, I do use my art as a way to pass socio-political messages to the world; a kind of rebellion against the phoney messages spread through television.”