Nick Kampouris, Greek Designer and Painter. Interview conducted by Tony Kariotis of GreekPosts.com
Tell me a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in New York. Astoria to be exact. My brother and I were raised by our superhero single mom. Pretty typical Greek-American childhood, you know, Greek dance, Greek school. I have been an artist my entire life. I was always drawing and painting. If we could go back into my school books you would see more doodles than notes. Today, I am a father and husband and am grateful for every bit of my beautiful life. I am a User Experience Designer for the USTA working on their mobile apps and websites. My main goal at the moment is to make my art my full time work.
What does being Greek mean to you?
Being Greek means taking words like Meraki, Kefi and Leventia and making them a way of life. Living every moment to the fullest and when its over,I want the word Meraklis engraved on my tombstone.
What makes you proud calling yourself Greek?
I know this is overused but man, the world as we know it has been shaped by the Greeks.
Modern medicine, philosophy and souvlakia, to name a few, are ideas that were spawned in the greatest minds that ever lived.
What inspired you to chase your dream?
Urgency. Life is short brother, but I didn't always see it like that.
As I mentioned I have always been an artist. I'm 35. So minus the first few years, I've been doing this for like 27 years lol. I had never believed that I could turn it into a living. About 6 years ago, when I met my wife, my outlook on life drastically changed in a positive way. Now we have a little boy and I do not want him to grow up knowing his father didn't even try to pursue his dreams. Im 100% ok with failing. Im 100% ok with failing 100 times at 100 different things...but I am not ok with not trying.
Tell us a little bit about your paintings and art.
Ahh, my art...its a piece of my soul man. Im pretty in tune with my spiritual side. I know that when any artist is in their flow-state, they're connecting and communicating with the powers that be.
27 years of my life and experiences pour out onto a canvas and that's something special. If you sit and consider the infinite number of circumstances that had to transpire for me to be here to create any of these works, it's mind-blowing. All that being said my art is influence by my Greek and urban upbringing. Sometimes it's a commentary on social issues that weigh heavy on me, others it's just expressing random feelings. I use my art to help when I can. I participate and organize in many art shows here in NYC. When it's my show, there's always a charity attached.
How often do you get to visit Greece? Where do you stay!?
Frequency varies. Both of my parents are from Kalymnos so Ive always gone there. Recently I was introduced to my wife's island Karpathos. Its beautiful and a lot of fun too. I hope to be able to split our time between the two islands in the years to come.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
A couple things... I want to spread the idea of support within our community. It makes me sick when I hear Greek people not wanting to hire, shop from or help other Greeks. We need to hold each other up. Lastly, and this is key to our culture's longevity and survival, teach your children to speak, dance and eat Greek. If they don't want to FORCE THEM (they'll thank you later).
You can follow Nick on his journey on Instagram at @drdope
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