Ahhhh Durban, maybe more than any other south african city, this town really shows what is a Rainbow Nation. Blacks, whites, of course, but also many many indians people, chineses too, well, a great mix of influences and cultures. Maybe is it the reason why Stathi drawings are so unique. For those of you who still think that South Africa is all about violence, racism and police brutality, just take a deep breath of south african poetry with Stathi's posters …
P.H. Fat! The Dinosaur Blood album (on repeat).
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
My full name is Efstathios Gerassimos Kougianos and no I am not joking.
I live in a village by the sea called Durban where everyone is your bru and/or someone you have met before. I am a cursed perfectionist with a self diagnosed case of ADHD. These traits are the cornerstone of all my work and have a heavy influence on my designs. I am a huge fan of minimalism and I strongly believe simple design is the most effective. Gig posters are like chocolate ice cream for me – there’s nothing better.
When I was younger I liked drawing animals.
When I was older I liked drawing robots.
Now I like drawing everything.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
I did Art during high school and always knew that I would end up doing something with it. It was the only subject I really cared about; well that and English. I went on to get a degree in Visual Communication and have been grabbing every opportunity that has come my way since then.
I preferred my margins to be clean and organized.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living?
I’m a designer, so yes I am! Every aspect of graphic design is art to me. It may not be up in a gallery or on a website being sold as a screen print, but if you take a look around you right now as you read this sentence you will see art. That is the biggest draw card of this profession for me, the infinite possibility of application. Throw in some love and your career choice becomes a way of life.
Unfortunately we don’t have such a rich design culture in Durban as our overseas counterparts, so that’s a negative hey. But I am keen if anyone who reads this needs something done, hit me up quick sticks!
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
My influences come from the things I like and the visual taste I have developed. The one thing I have realized over the past couple of years is that you emulate what you admire and it plays a huge role in your work. I went through a stage where I only liked black and white designs; my inspiration folder was a monotone buffet. Now I can’t get enough of colour and kinda wish our eyes could see more. So I guess it changes literally day to day and even the mood you are in can affect the way something turns out. However, I do try my best to make my work reflect Durban and all its little nuances.
Thinking, starting, listening to music, saving, undoing, eating, procrastinating, working, pillaging the internet, working, sleeping and repeating this process until the job is done. I also compulsively write ideas/thoughts on my cellphone for future projects- I have about a 1000 things I still wanna do.
Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
I know most people say that they do everything on paper first before they touch the computer – but I don’t. I like figuring everything out in my head and picturing it again when I get stuck. The process of creating something in the spheres of the unknown is all the fun. You also can’t apple z on paper or make things a 100% perfect unless you redraw it a 100 times. I just find it a bit frustrating and time consuming, but maybe it’s because I am not on that level yet. When I get tired of vectors I will look into it, but for now its all about Bezier curves, flat colour and pen tooling.
It all depends what my solution is best representing what I am trying to say about the band/dj. Some have been a couple of days and others have been a grueling week of all-nighters. Always worth it though.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
If it means I get to do something I haven’t done before then I am really amped. I think limiting myself to one style/medium will get boring fast and as a designer you should be putting the client’s needs first over your own. Being adaptable with a versatile range of skills is vital considering graphic design is changing on a constant basis.
Napalma, The La Els, Fruits & Veggies, The Meditators, Go! Go! Bronco and loads of drum n bass djs.
For which band would you love to work?
The Strokes neh!
Do you choose the artists yourself?
Well I worked for an events company so whoever they were booking at the time that’s who the poster was for. Now I prefer working with my friends and collaborating on projects with them.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
When you are just about finished your composition and then another piece of information needs to be added to it last minute. I hate that. It usually takes double the amount of time trying to make it all work again. Not kiff
Recently my friends Bob Perfect, Russel Grant and I started a blog about low brow art and music in our city. You can check it out over at http://www.durbanisyours.co.za/ to see more. It serves as a platform showcasing our super talented locals who are banding together to grow the design culture in the 031. So far the feedback has been positive and exhibitions have been on the rise as of late which has made everybody excited and motivated to do more. My dream would be a scene where people could live off of their art but we still have a looooong way to go before that happens, its all about hard work and perseverance here on out.
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?
You can check out all my work over at www.flickr.com/stathi_k and once you are bored of that I suggest you go blow up http://www.dutchink.co.za/. It is a creative collective consisting of Martin Pace, Nick Ferreira, Jp Jordaan and I, so send us an email if you are interested in befok artworks. We love emails.
I got a Friend Request on Facebook from someone with over a 1000 “friends”.
I felt special.
What can we wish you for the future?
Happy tidings and good fortune.
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!