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Karlovasi Street Art Festival: How a Greek town put itself in the art map!

How a small town in Samos becomes an open gallery with the help of some of the leading street-artists in Greece!

How a small town in Samos becomes an open gallery with the help of some of the leading street-artists in Greece!
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Billy Gee, Riding Enlightenment, 2017, painted on the wall of an Aegean University building. Photo @ cityartnow.com
By Helena Vals
Karlovasi is a small town in Samos; an island in the Aegean sea very close to the Turkish coast. Well-known as the birthplace of philosopher Pythagoras and astronomer Aristarchos, Samos is a popular touristic destination mainly for the UNESCO Heritage sites of Pythagorio and Ireon and secondary for its uniquely rich nature which combines unusually high mountains (for the island’s size) and an abundance of beaches.
Karlovasi, located in the north side of the island, was not -until recently- a particularly touristic town having invested in its commercial and industrial sector and to the fact that it is an important port and the seat of 3 Departments of the esteemed Aegean University. The town’s connection, though, to the Turkish port of Sığacık, a town serving the heavily populated city of Izmir, made Karlovasi an appealing destination for Turkish, as well as country-hopping European tourists.
Facing the fact that the town, architecturally speaking, is a mixture of typical modern structures, box-like shops & residential buildings and neoclassical or neo-classically-inspired mansions, a restless volunteer group of concerned citizens, pre-occupied with making the town more appealing to the visitors and the locals alike, decided to bring art and color in the Port of the town by issuing an open invitation for artists to be inspired and create site-specific artworks!
Yiakou, an Athens-based street-artist, was appointed as curator and organized what would soon take the form of a festival of art and music. Aiming to transform the town to an open art-gallery, the volunteer group and Yiakou managed to gather an impressive number of high-profile street-artists, mostly from Athens, which started to scout locations for the artworks.
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Stelios Pupet, Mirror 01, 2017. Photo @ cityartnow.com
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Left: Dimitris Taxis, Elena, 2017. Right: Artwork by Same84.  Photo @ cityartnow.com
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Panels by Yiakou, 2017. Photo @ cityartnow.com
In the moment this article is written, 9 artists have already finished their canvases with 9 more to follow: The curator Yiakou (who mounded pre-painted nylon sheets on wooden panels), the internationally known b. (his distinctive yellow-colored figures are the writer’s favorites), Billy Gee, Dreyk the Pirate (who covered the under-demolish old bakery with a bakery-inspired black-and-white mural), Blacq, Iriz (who created an impressive wheel-like painting in an abandoned house), Same84, Dimitris Taxis and Stelios Pupet.
The response of the social media users to the art in-place is massive and the creators of the festival are very optimistic of the outcome of the Karlovasi Street Festival which is to create an artistic visual identity for the town, bring art in the locals’ every-day life and form an open-gallery as a touristic attraction for the art-loving visitors (and the Instagramers). Judging from the quality of the pre-festival entries and the social-media response, I would say that this is a success!
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Iriz, 2017, painted on a panel placed iin an abandonded building. Photo @ cityartnow.com
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Dreyk the Pirate & Yiakou, He killed her cause she loved him, 2017. Photo @ cityartnow.com
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Dreyk the Pirate, A great baker, 2017, painted on a panel covering an old bakery in ruins. Photo @ cityartnow.com
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Blaqk, 2017. Photo @ cityartnow.com
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b., b.girl, 2017. Photo @ cityartnow.com
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View of the Port of Karlovasi. Photo @ cityartnow.com
Note: The article will be updated after the completion of the festival!

USEFUL INFORMATION
The Karlovasi Street Art Festival: June 24 & 25
Karlovasi, Samos, Greece
Visit the festival’s website

 

August 2, 2017

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