The Heritage Studio

Timeless interview with artist Peter D. Gerakaris

By Bebe Leone

New York based artist Peter D. Gerakaris recently contributed to Bergdorf’s Goodman “Art Matters” window project, with an installation entitled “Rappaccini Origami Terrarium” inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale “Rappaccini’s Daughter”Peter, who is also a talented musician, describes his approach to art as “visual jazz”: a seamless dialectic between a number of different motifs that contribute to making his artwork a kaleidoscopic, multi-sensory experience. Peter’s signature “Post-Pop Botanic” style is made of riotous visual elements such as fluorescent colors, metallic surfaces, and unconventional shapes. Botanical references are conveyed through a hazardous, unique use of the origami technique.The artist transferred these same elements into the versatile space of Bergdorf’s window, where 3D origami sculptures dialogue with the surrounding mirrored surfaces, turning the space into a large-scale, “hallucinatory terrarium environment”. Here “the neon glow and hardedge geometry of the fantastical botanicals evokes Hawthorne’s tale of seduction in an enchanted yet toxic garden”. Again the dialectic between Nature and Urban Culture, so distinctive of Gerakaris’ art. 

Peter’ s Timeless Interview

peter_gerakaris_biopic2H: Do you belong more to the past, the present or the future?

P: Fellini once said something like, “we live life in three modes: past, present, and fantasy.” I prefer the latter.

H: What of your country’s heritage represents you the most?

P:The cultural fabric of the US is wonderfully pluralistic – it’s like jazz. My artwork pays homage to this hybrid-culture by remixing many motifs into a kaleidoscopic experience for the audience – my approach is like making “visual jazz.”

H: Something of your family’s heritage which you would like to bring forward?

P: My father is an artist-blacksmith/metal sculptor and my mother a photographer. They nurtured a profound appreciation for nature, aesthetics, detail, the handmade, and a commitment to quality – quality in both art making and living. From a broader perspective, I wonder what artistic DNA might have been passed down from my Cretan heritage. Crete is renown for its icon paintings (not to mention the Cretan-Venetian art movement) and there is an undeniable iconographic element in my work.

H: An image of your heritage?

P: The hexagon and the honeycomb. This inevitable form serves integral roles in both Nature and Culture.

H: A place?

P: Nature – the ultimate living museum.

peter-d-gerakaris-rappaccinis-terrarium-tondo-IV-cropped-resH: A word?

P: Synethesia

H: A sound?

P: The reverberation of a lone piano or guitar jazz-chord in an enormous hall

H: An object belonging to your own heritage?

P: An elegant, hand-forged Damascus steel cheese slicer comprised of 32 layers that my father created for my 32nd birthday.

H: A time in history you would have liked to live in?

P: When I was a student in Rome, Italy in 2002

H: Something from your present meant to become heritage?

P: My new origami sculptures

peter-d-gerakaris-rappaccini-terrarium-accordion-book-resImages: Courtesy of Peter D. Gerakaris

To know more: Peter D. Gerakaris

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