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5 & 3/4 Questions

 

AFRODITI BITZOUNI

CURRENT RESIDENCE: ATHENS, GREECE

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: GREECE

vimeo.com/bii / behance.com/bitzouni

1. Describe yourself and your work.

I usually reply to that question with the line from Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll: “I’m afraid I can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?”

I am a creative director. I have had myopia since I was eight. I collect fairy tale books. I love framed images and illustrations, textures, poetry, photography, cinema, and unicorns. 

I am trying to visualize experiences, dreams, memories, fairy tales, poems, and music/sound.

Click to play video. 

2. How did you get started?

I guess that I was too short to become a model, so I ended up with animation (kidding!).

I remember myself crafting and drawing since I was a child. I created storylines, set designs, and costumes for my toys, and watched animated movies with my little brother. 

I studied product and system engineering at the University of the Aegean, and I pursued postgraduate studies in animation at the Glasgow School of Art. As a result, moving images became my way of communicating, and my hobbies became a job.... 

Click to play video. 

3. Which of your creations best represents you and why?

The motion poems, such as Lament [above], Love is Fear [below left], and Transmission [below right]. 

I was always interested in interpreting other forms of art though animation, such as music or fairy tales, and and re-crafting them through my point of view. Poetry has always been a strong influence on my personality and my work; I consider poems to be interesting short stories with an unusual format... So I started working on poems about 5 years ago.

Using a poem as a starting point, I am creating storylines and moving images following the rhythm and the meaning of the written piece. It is a very hard procedure, but still, I enjoy it. I feel free to express and expose myself through this process. It is very important to me because it gives me a stress test, widens my technical knowledge and aesthetics, and evolves my personal style.

Click to play videos.

4. What challenges are you facing in your work these days?

The challenges are plenty in my work.... Evolving and expressing myself through my art. Being part of animators’ society and finding honest and talented collaborators. Being focused and setting goals. Being consistent and working hard. Not getting disappointed, being patient, and trying my best for the final result. Being open to criticism and believing in myself. Having the heart (and the luxury) to choose which projects to accept and which to turn down. Updating my tools and learning new techniques...Increasing the number of layers that my tools (such as Adobe After Effects) can process. Persuading my I.T. department to put some more neon lights inside my computer, TheFlipBook….

The greatest challenge is to create pieces that matter...animations that are addressing my social environment.  

It seems like a list that I am whispering every night, and I keep adding things... 

"Be brave! Face life!"

5. What are your current obsessions?

My colleagues, and especially my lovely sound designers (Kyriakos Charalampides and Giuliano Anzani), would force me to write layers. I have to I admit that this is kind of true. I guess my obsession is to create complex moving images with tiny details and hidden messages, in order to narrate stories with multiple meanings.

5¼. What is a skill or talent you have that surprises people?

Eh.... My colleagues and my friends would say: my imagination and my working approach. I believe that they are always surprised with the facts that: 1. Ι can easily choose petrol blue in compositions, clothes, walls, nail polishes, etc., and 2. I can listen to gangsta rap while I am working.

5½. If you could meet any artist (living or dead, in any discipline/medium) for coffee and a chat, who would it be?

I would like to meet a lot of artists that inspire me, while they are working, in order to understand their process and mindset—such as Norman McLaren, George Tzavellas, Luigi Pirandello, and Tasos Leivaditis.

5¾. What book(s) are you currently recommending to friends?

Favole al telefono (Telephone Tales), Gianni Rodari; The Marseille Trilogy, Jean-Claude Izzo; and Ένα παιδί μετράει τ' άστρα, Μενέλαος Λουντέμης (I am not sure if this book has been translated into English, but it is a good reason to learn Greek).