“Part of the attraction was fear…” an interview with Alexis Panayiotou

Interviewed by Phoenix Alexander and Jo Lindsay Walton

This interview first appeared in Vector 295.

Hi Alexis. Could you introduce yourself and say a little bit about your background?

Hello, my name is Alexis Panayiotou. I’m a fine artist and a drawing tutor on the BA: Fashion course at Central St. Martins.

As you know, this is a special issue of Vector focused on Greek SFF. So our first question is: do you consider yourself a Greek artist?

I think of my identity as mixed or somewhere between cultures. I was born and raised in London. My parents are both Greek, from Cyprus, both came to London very young, my mum nine and dad fourteen. They have lived here ever since. I have never been to Cyprus so I only have a vicarious idea of the place, through my parents and other relatives, and a bit from TV and radio. 

I grew up in a Greek household, eating Greek food, hearing Greek music every day. Greek was my first language until I started school, although now I only have a rudimentary grasp. At home I was steeped in Greek culture and as a young man I would have described myself as solely Greek, and I remember feeling very lucky and proud to be so.

As for ‘artist,’ I’ve only recently started being comfortable using the term — it comes with lots of lofty aspirations! When I was young I drew a lot, like most kids, so there were always parents or teachers telling me I was an artist, or that I would be one. 

Mother pinching her baby affectionately while breastfeeding
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