My name is Efrossini Chaniotis and I am a Greek-Australian artist currently based in Melbourne. Welcome to my website! I create colourful, intricately detailed paintings and sculptures with my own brand of mythology and storytelling at their core.
As a little girl in primary school, almost like in a dream, I remember overhearing the art teacher telling my mum I was talented and she should encourage my creativity. That positive seed remained protected even though I felt pretty much invisible within the school system in those formative years.
Many years later I started my journey in art school primarily in sculpture and performance art. One year during enrollment I concealed my identity by confronting the school as a mute, surreal character and walked in with a limp, wearing a full plastic fisherman’s outfit and a large, very real pumpkin on my head complete with cow bells attached to my hands. I had teamed up with a fellow student who in his hands held dried cow pats (he was gifted in the art of puppetry with random inanimate objects) whilst announcing our arrival in his convincing theatrical, showman’s tone. Let’s just say that it was a particularly hot summers day and standing in cue I suffered for my art, literally, but we succeeded in ‘stirring up the establishment’, spooking, frustrating, intriguing and entertaining the student body and professors who were there : true story!
I went on to explore many theories and art forms in that school and loved the freedom of it’s contemporary and idea-friendly environment.
Soon after graduating I found myself across the seas in a major European Art School; one whose corridors were lined with the biggest collection of famous sculpture casts in the world, I spent most nights doing academic life drawing in a basement amphitheatre filled to capacity. This is just a glimpse of how amazing this place was. It gave me the chance to essentially learn how to draw and paint and cultivate more feeling and reverence towards art making. I’m particularly grateful for that experience and training.
Finally back in Australia, I emerged as a passionate and qualified Art Therapist, doing psychotherapy art sessions in a psychiatric locked ward. That was another eye opener and made me keenly aware of the healing power of creative expression.
Eventually I went back to just the Art, but this time with renewed clarity about my purpose and a desire to tell spirited stories through my creations.
This section isn’t just about a pumpkin, hope that has become clear. It provides some of the nuts and bolts of my background as an artist: where I studied, my influences and my approach. The rest of the website is designed to share and demystify some of my creative process and to inspire you with the stories that lie behind the art.
The Art for Sale and Print Shop sections have work that is available to purchase. I also welcome you to visit my MODERN ICON ART site where you can view my distinct series of Byzantine inspired paintings; however some icons have been included here in the Art Gallery section.
image credit Michael Teo Photography
Efrossini is a painter and sculptor passionate about exploring different ways of storytelling through art. Born in 1970 in Adelaide, Australia, she studied Sculpture at the South Australian School of Art and then went overseas from 1992 to 2000 where she completed a second Fine Arts Degree at the Athens School of Fine Art, majoring in Painting. Winner of the ‘Lecturer’s Prize for consecutive years in Athens, in 3rd year she was granted a scholarship to study at the Madrid School of Fine Art.
Such diverse study exposed her to contemporary theoretical perspectives in Australia and in Southern Europe formal training, where discipline, skill and an appreciation of art history were valued. Each complimented the other; where one school emphasized the head, the other encouraged the heart; where one school lacked, the other excelled.
Since returning to Australia Efrossini did a Masters of Art Therapy at Latrobe University in Melbourne adding another layer to her understanding of Art. She worked in the field intensively and helped to establish the Melbourne Art Therapy Studio based at the Abbotsford Convent.
From 2010 Efrossini devoted herself fully to her arts practice, exhibiting regularly. Since then some highlights have been: a near sell out 2011 solo exhibition Tales of love and Reason at the Hawthorn Town Hall Gallery; and participating in the City of Yarra Council’s Boxing In: Graffiti project. This resulted in being included in the 2018 Burn City book, documenting Melbourne street art.
2014 to 2015 was a year of travel and Efrossini painted through parts of South America with her TRAVELLING PAINTBRUSH PROJECT creating: street art, murals and paintings for her accommodations, local businesses and communities tallying up about 50 artworks most of which were left behind.
Back in Australia in 2018, she staged a highly successful solo show ‘Fisherman and Mermaid’s Tale’ which presented works on paper, paintings and sculptures all based on a story she initially created during her travels in Brazil. In this show Efrossini began exploring the use of live storytelling and performance. In April 2019, among many renowned artists she was awarded the Gippsland Sculpture Prize for her indoor sculpture ‘Wishing Tree: Fountain & Bird’.
Efrossini is now currently based in Melbourne, working from her Little Mykonos Studio at the West Brunswick Workshop.
Deeply connected to the artist yet with its own intelligence, art can take the lead in telling its own story. This is when it gets interesting as the artist is put in the role of the viewer as well as the creator. My inspiration comes from knowing that the creative process unfolds to reveal autobiographical and universal themes that can surprise, move and teach me in the same way as it does others.
My paintings and sculptural dolls have bold colour, intricate pattern and layered textures to welcome the viewer in. Artworks for the ‘here and now’ as well as for the ‘child within’. That part of us that loves myths and storytelling. Influenced by Byzantine iconography, narrative traditions and folk art from diverse cultures I depict a mystical realm where imagination and reality meet to tell stories of the human spirit.
In a world where there are enough horror stories in popular culture and contemporary art seems to be dominated by intellectual pursuits and a fascination with the macabre, I have chosen to make art that explores our connection to mystery, love and creativity. More akin to Modern Art’s love for colour and expression and to cultures that see the totemic and symbolic power of the object itself.
When I start a painting the blank canvas is like a playground for shapes and colours to find their way into a composition. I then collage patterned fabric and paper which is repeated in paint until you can’t tell them apart. Images emerge with feeling, suggestive of a story and then I am hooked!
It is not unusual to ask a finished painting or sculpture a question and from this be led to the next piece where more is revealed. So while each piece stands to tell its own tale, it may also be part of a bigger mythical story.
Occasionally feelings shift, lessons are given shape and questions are answered by an image; or dreams kept safe by a sculptural doll. It is this aspect of art that makes me want to create forever.
2002-2004 Masters of Art Therapy, Latrobe University, Melbourne, Australia
1995-2000 Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, Athens School of Fine Art, Greece
1997-1998 Erasmus-Socrates Scholarship, Madrid School of Fine Art, Spain
1995-1997 Nominated for Lecturer’s Scholarship, Athens School of Fine Arts, Greece
1994-1995 Drawing and Painting Studies, Bathis Square Atelier, Athens, Greece
1988-1993 Bachelor Degree in Visual Arts, South Australian School of Art, Australia
2020 A Brush With the Blues, Argo Restaurant Art Space, Fitzroy north, Melbourne
2019 Invasion of the Bubble Girls, Kau & co, Northcote, Melbourne
2018 The Fisherman & Mermaid’s Tale, Soma Art Gallery, Brunswick, Melbourne
2018 Nature’s Icons, Glimpse Art Space, Northcote, Melbourne
2018 Black-Colour-White, Caffé Celine, Essendon, Melbourne
2017 Bubble Girls & I Love the Circus Print Series, Caffé Celine, Essendon, Melbourne
2017 The Magician & the Maiden, Brunswick Art Space, Edinburgh Castle Window
2016 Effie’s Home Gallery, Glimpse Art Space, Northcote, Melbourne
2014 Once Upon a Time, 69 Smith St. Gallery, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia
2013 Retrospective Show, La Niche Cafe, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia
2012 Heavenly Bodies, Apte Gallery, Alphington, Melbourne, Australia
2011 Retrospective Show, La Niche Cafe, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia
2011 New Works, Mario’s Cafe, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia
2011 Constellation Landscapes, Apte Gallery, Alphington, Melbourne, Australia
2011 Tales of Love & Reason, Town Hall Gallery, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia
2010 Selected Works, Glass Gallery, Northcote Town Hall, Melbourne, Australia
2010 The Prophet’s Tale, Apte Gallery, Alphington, Melbourne, Australia
2010 The Dancer, The Tree & The Castle, Dogs Bar, St Kilda, Melbourne
2008 Story Teller’s Circle, DNA Gallery, Cremorne, Melbourne, Australia
2002 Modern Icons & Light Puppets, Art Space Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
2020 Bush Fire Benefit, Bullarto Gallery, Daylesford, Victoria
2019 Small Works 19, Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy, Melbourne
2019 Antipodean Palette 19, Steps Gallery, Carlton, Melbourne
2019 Spoken Words, Black Cat Gallery, Collingwood, Melbourne
2019 Gippsland Sculpture Prize, Arc Gallery, Yinnar, Victoria
2014 Art for Life, Steps Gallery, Carlton, Melbourne, Australia
2013 Awakenings, Raw Arts, Flemington, Melbourne, Australia
2012 1st Anniversary Show, Beth Hulme Gallery, North Fitzroy, Melbourne
2012 Beautiful Things, Beth Hulme Gallery, North Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia
2012 Stuck On, Beth Hulme Gallery, North Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia
2012 Antipodean Palette 12, Steps Gallery, Carlton, Melbourne, Australia
2011 Voice: Women’s Salon, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia
2011 Off the Wall, Highway Gallery, Mount Waverley, Melbourne, Australia
2009 Small Works 09, Brunswick Street Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
2008 Sun Show, DNA Gallery, Cremorne, Melbourne, Australia
2005 Mission to Seafarers Maritime Exhibition 05, Melbourne, Australia
2003 Mappings#2, Synergy Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
2003 Postcard Exhibition, Linden Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
2001 Modern Icons, Skepsi on Swanston, Melbourne, Australia
2000 Out of the Box, The Box Factory, Adelaide, Australia
2000 Graduate Exhibition, The Factory Gallery, Athens, Greece
1992 A Turbulent Mirror, Graduate Show, South Australian School of Art, Australia
1992 Heptad Heresies, Experimental Art Foundation (EAF), Adelaide