Greek artist Konstantin Kakanias is a restless and versatile soul. From paintings and sculptures exhibited around the world to drawings and illustrations published in the most esteemed magazines in America and Europe to designing textiles for iconic fashion houses, to gallery performances and ceramic commissions, his boldly diverse body of work shares an astute playfulness and effortless sophistication. Konstantin’s multidisciplinary practice is reflected in his globetrotting lifestyle: currently commuting between Los Angeles and Greece, he has also lived in Paris, Luxor and New York, as well as fictionally traveled the world through the adventures of his alter-ego, Mrs. Tependris, a couture-wearing, art-collecting Greek who has been intermittently making flamboyant appearances in his work ever since her debut in 1992 in New York. We recently caught with Konstantin to ask him about his proudest project, favourite destinations, and most treasured possessions.
How would you define yourself in three words?
Exuberant, Contrarian, Hysterical.
A project/initiative you’re most proud of?
A performance piece, I did at the gallery of Rebecca Camhi in 1999, “Ναι, Ναι, Ναι!” It was a live performance in a form of a fashion show which involved my family and friends all dressed up in different roles inspired by my first book “Freedom or Death”. It represented my idea of a re-constructed society based on love, acceptance, and universal bonding. It was kind of re-writing history. Roles and genders were reversed. It captured what I really wanted to say and fantasized since I was a child.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Which art/design/style icons you are most inspired by?
I like all expressions of art and all periods. My preferences change constantly, but my most revered iconic artist is Goya.
Which colours are you currently enamoured of?
At this very moment, I crave deeply the deep blue of the Aegean water.
A timeless design piece you own?
An Anderson & Sheppard double-breasted blazer that I had made in the late 80s, I still wear it, it looks perfect.
What’s an accessory you had for ages?
A silk and cashmere blend scarf printed with a Coptic design that I bought from Hilditch and Key at Rue de Rivoli in 1981. It has never left my closet in all these years.
What item in your closet do you wear the most?
Look, I really do not change a lot of outfits as I’m always working in my studio. When I go out I love to wear Moroccan jackets that I order from “Au Fil d’Or” in the souk of Marrakech
The beauty product you can’t live without?
I do not use any.
Three Instagram accounts you check daily?
@olivier_gabet, @fredericmalle, @best_of_grindr.
Favourite destination and hotel?
The oasis of Siwa in western Egypt, and the magnificent eco-hotel Adrère Amellal.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life?
I had quite an adventurous life but I remember vividly one night in Cairo many, many years ago. I had no place to sleep so decided to spend the night in a small boat. It was cold and I was also hungry but then I was awaken by the boat man who very kindly brought me to his home and fed me molokhia soup. The Egyptian kindness.
What do you miss most when traveling?
My husband and my dog.
Which city would you choose to live in if you had to move?
What souvenirs would you bring back home?
Ceramics, weavings, embroideries.
Your latest discovery?
My new electric car. I am so so happy to have one and not depend on buying gas anymore.
What is on your bookshelf?
3.000-4.000 books, of which I have only read half. Will I ever have the time to finish them all?
Who is your favourite hero or heroine in fiction?
The Goddess Athena.
Body oil by Frédéric Malle
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What is your guilty pleasure?
Window-shopping online at different auction houses.
What is your most treasured possession?
A little solid gold traveling icon of the Virgin Mary that my mother designed and gave me as a gift.
Your idea of happiness?