“My imagination is continuously lured by the mystery of found photographs – ‘instant relatives’ discarded and forgotten in musty antique stores,” says Athena Petra Tasiopoulos, a mixed media collage artist and photographer, who graduated from the Art Institute of Philadelphia and currently resides in central Vermont.
“It is as if these souls exist in an interesting sort of limbo – simultaneously trapped yet saved within the photograph,” Athena continues. “I find myself feeling compassion for them. By re-inventing the portrait, I aim to disjoint my subjects from an antiquated identity, allowing them to transcend the constraints of time and place.”
Athena is a passionate collector of second hand images – primarily ‘cabinet card’ portrait photography from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She creates digital compositions by scanning and altering these original “found photographs”.
Fragments of old pictures – legs, lips, eyes, torsos – are accorded a radically new environment and meaning in these inventive collages. Dream-like, the compositions speak of birth and silence, camaraderie and communion, the act of waiting, the process of contemplation – and many other aspects and characteristics of human life and consciousness.
Athena, as an artist, is a receptacle of myriad cultural products, old and new, from all over the world. She says: “I like Henry Darger, Len Lye, Hannah Hoch, Joel Peter Witkin, Agnes Martin, Paul Klee, ‘outsider’ art, aboriginal art, Greek-Orthodox iconography. Although I am probably more influenced by visual artists, I do find myself inspired by Rumi, the Psalms, Thich Nhat Hanh, feminist literature, cultural mythologies, and psychology.”
Discover more on Athena’s website (www.athenapetra.com) and Saatchi Art profile (www.saatchiart.com/AthenaPetra). She is active on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Athenapetraartist) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/athenapetra).
Images used with permission.