When I first sat down with Eftihia, I knew that I was in for something more electric than a traditional interview, with her art supplies sprawled out all over the table in a room tucked away in a library, French music playing on her tablet and her obvious passion for whatever it was that she was about to create.
As a 22-year-old student, artist and solo traveler, she had some stories to share. So, I asked her to just have a conversation; no real interview questions, just to talk to me about whatever she wanted.
In this little amount of time we had together, her plan was to create a small canvas painting with a little challenge: she would be using primarily makeup. Her sketch would be her guide; that of a north African indigenous woman that largely inspired her.
“Lately I’ve just been doing stuff like this, like small little paintings, because I want to move up to do bigger oil paintings, but i’m too impatient to mix all of my flesh tones properly. So, then I keep fucking everything up, then I get mad, then I give up. I think by using makeup, it’s like ‘well if I fuck up.. it’s okay, cause it’s not really paint, so regardless I’m pretty cool for doing this.’I first start out with charcoal, and what that does is once I add the foundation you’ll see this different gradient that comes up. I usually start out with a drawing, but with these, with the makeup and because it’s so small, it’s probably going to shift.”
“My dad insulted my art. My dad is a huge Trump supporter. I went to visit him yesterday because I had to do my laundry and while I’m there he brings up Trump and I’m just like ‘we are not having this conversation *enter expletive after expletive*.’
So, he said ‘what’s wrong with having a normal, civil conversation about politics’ and I’m like ‘I can’t have a civil conversation about politics if the person we’re talking about is a fascist’.
I’m just like I CAN’T DO THIS. So, then, he goes ‘alright, fine, we’re not gonna talk about it,” so I was like “cool, let’s not talk about it,” and then he comes in with a newspaper and on the front is Trump and he says “I think you should do a painting of Trump for me on his Inauguration day.” He was super fucking serious; not even trolling me, not joking around. So, I go off.
He then says “I think your being ridiculous and you’re overreacting and you’re very excited.”
It’s not excitement: it’s anger, that’s the feeling I’m having.
So, he says that to me and I flip my shit because first of all, I am all about helping immigrants and refugees, and I know that a lot of people aren’t and that’s a hot button issue; I get that. But, you know what? They’re fucking human beings, so at the end of the day really we should be providing them with help and care.
“I don’t think it’s my job to fucking make little paintings of Trump, whether it’s satirical or not. I really don’t. I think my job, if I’m going to be painting anything, is to paint the refugees. That’s just how I feel. Why would I give him more publicity? Why the fuck would I do that?”
“I’m really against his whole — I call it a regime. It feels like a regime to me.”
“As for the refugees, I was really upset a few days ago. I think it was when the ban first came out. I was journaling. I was really angry and whenever I get angry I go to my Facebook.I pretty much just write my whole anger storm and put it out there.
I was thinking about what I wanted to create to support the refugees and immigrants and people, just anybody who’s being persecuted against.
I’m talking about marginalized populations, which is not just immigrants. I’m talking about LGBTQ.. like anybody that is being marginalized against by this fucking rhetoric.
So, I was trying to figure out what to create and I was so angry that I couldn’t create anything except for like this weird…. I was just so mad and I couldn’t even create anything. The only thing in my head was ‘these are human beings we are talking about.’
I think people are forgetting that these are human beings and if we can just bring it back to that level and get people to stop being assholes, I feel like the whole world can rationalize again, but that’s maybe just me being idealistic.”
Above: Eftihia’s journal pages.
Below: Makeup is added to the canvas.
“Whenever I tell someone I’m a feminist and they’re Trump supporters, or something like that, to give you an example: my brother. He’s always like “yeah well feminists, you what what they are? They’re just weird bitches that have cats.”
I like to do this thing where I live up to the stereotype assholes stereotype me as just because I think it’s so funny. So, people are looking at this and they’re like ‘I don’t get it’ and I’m like that’s okay.. cause it’s all just a stereotype.
This is what it means to be a feminist: a naked lady who doesn’t shave her pubes holding a cat. That’s what I get all the time.”
I don’t show my parents my art a lot because first, they don’t understand it, and second.. I think it scares them. It’s a lot of nudity.
“What I did was I collaged all this stuff I got in Greece and then I put a vagina, a little baby vagina and a penis (on it), because the Greek culture is very vulgar; the men are very like “these are my balls.. eat them”.. that’s not really how they are, but they give me that feel of “Oh my God, I’m gonna fuck you in two seconds” and I’m just like no.
So, what I wanted to do was throw back at them the “male gaze”. Vagina, that’s all they see when they talk to me and then they’re just like slap a penis on it! For me it’s really funny, but it also speaks truth because of how I felt when I was in Greece.”
“My mom wants me to marry Greek and I’m like “Mom… my hair is blue. No Greek mom is gonna want me as the nýfi, which is the bride to be, so she said “why do you do this to your hair, no one is going to marry you like that?” and I say ‘I know that’s the goal.”
“I have a shit ton of anxiety all the time. I know I look like I have things handled.. I do not have things handled. I am terrified all the time and I think it comes off as this weird awkward version of trying to be funny.
Sometimes, I say things that are really inappropriate and then people look at me like I’m crazy. I’m just like “I’m the quirky girl, it’s fine!”
“I grew up on the north side of Chicago and when I was like 13 I moved to the south side. It was just like a fucking storm of learning that.. okay, on the north side when you get in a fight with people you just have it out, you say what’s on your mind, you’re not passive.
You come to the south side of Chicago, people are passive and condescending and I didn’t understand this concept; I was just like “this bitch is talking shit, but she’s not really talking shit.. but I feel like she’s talking shit, but I don’t know what to do about it cause she hasn’t really said anything.. but I’m mad.”
So, I didn’t really understand that kind of a culture. I’ll be straight up with people and they don’t really expect me to say the things that I’m saying and I’m like well, that’s cause I fucking say the truth and what’s on my mind.”
“I think that’s why I hate dating so much. There’s so much passive bullshit. Like “yeah, hi, how you doin’?” I hate it. I’m terrible at dates because I’m just like “hi, this is who I am, these are my jokes. You don’t like my jokes, they make you uncomfortable? Let’s not do this again.”
If I’m interested in someone, I’ll be like “you are very attractive, let’s go do something together,” and people are like “woah, look at that crazy blue-haired chick.. she’s crazy.. oh my God, I can’t handle her, she’s extra.”
I’m not extra bitch, I’m just like woke as fuck.
Can you wake the fuck up?”
“My sister is like my number one fan, she’s my best friend. Best friends, best buds. Have you ever watched Broad City? She’s Abby, I’m totally Ilana.
I’m so Ilana it’s not even funny, I even have the Beanie Baby obsession. I feel like Comedy Central was sitting in my house like “these two Greek girls.. I think we should steal their material.”
(My sister) is that one person that is like “I want you to be an artist. I want you to excel at this; even if you think that painting sucks, just keep going.”
A lot of people expect art to be a certain way, I used to expect it to be a certain way, and then I had to break myself out of that idea and be like “I can actually create whatever I want.. whenever I want. -Eftihia Peroulas
Check out Eftihia on…
Her Society6 Page (PS. all profits from her page go to support the Karam foundation)
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