His work is so revered that he has been commissioned to paint 14 icons for the legendary Panagia Episkopi Church on Santorini, a church which has existed on the island for over 1000 years.
He is the first artist I have ever met who expects his work to last 'for hundreds of years'. That in itself is a lesson to us all to have confidence in the longevity of what we produce (and use archival quality materials!)
Dimitri's cave studio
Dimitri's studio is inside one of the white caves set in the cliffs of the volcanic island of Santorini. He spends hours in this vaulted space, swishing his long white hair and his horse-hair brushes, recreating visions from religious stories of old. He has been painting his whole life, and here are some of the pearls of wisdom he offered me as I sat quietly with him in his studio, observing him paint with oil and gold leaf on stunning old doors:
- "Art school is valuable for the techniques it teaches you, but after that it is up to you. It is like learning to speak a language - you need to know the words in order to write the poetry. But too much technique and you end up with a politician's speech that is of no value to anyone, with no truth in it."
- "Although all artists need their creative freedom, commissions actually help you develop and grow, as they force you to think about something you might not ever have imagined yourself"
- (Commenting on the fact that the public can wander in to his workshop at any time, which I thought was quite generous) "For some people art is a gift from nature, and artists who receive such a gift have a responsibility to share it, not keep it to themselves."
For more inspirational Do What You Love interviews see here