His hand made leather sandals have been walking, for years around the world – Athens, Rome, Paris, London, New York. They walk in exotic places of the far East, you name it. His sandals have been everywhere, unlike him who, like a modern day Socrates, never leaves Athens.
His artistic workshop is a meeting place for art, poetry, music, theater and of course sandals!!! We are talking about the sandals of PANTELIS MELISSINOS, THE ARTIST, POET AND SANDAL MAKER OF ATHENS, who’s been featured in the New York times (twice already) as well as on CNN, and other major TV networks throughout the world, in addition to the numerous websites, magazines and other publications.
He was born and raised in the shadow of the Acropolis of Athens, in an artistic environment. His father Stavros (son of Georgios Melissinos, the founder of the business) was a second-generation shoe maker and also a poet, who relaunched the Ancient Greek Sandal fad, in the 50’s, when an English lady-choreographer asked him for a few pairs of ancient Greek sandals. It was in that old family workshop that Pantelis first listened to famous people talking about philosophy, poetry and art and all those meetings and discussions formed his own ideas and beliefs. Early on, in his life, he studied classical piano and art and started writing his own poetry. In 1980, when he turned 20, he moved to the United States and studied at the famous Parsons School of Design, in New York City, where he received his BFA in Illustration and his MFA in Painting. There, he also wrote and staged plays for his colleagues and then he moved on and became the Artistic Director of the Greek Cultural Center of New York. He has also worked as a set and costume designer, for many years, mainly for the Ancient Greek Theater scene, in his native Athens. He has had many one man shows, as an artist and painter, and his artworks are in collections throughout the world.
PANTELIS MELISSINOS’ ARTWORK AND POETRY
Every single painting by Pantelis Melissinos looks like a stage where Greek mythology, and The Theatre Of The Absurd meet with Latin American or African performers that tell stories or sing passionate songs about happiness, sorrows and loves lost or found. They relate the exploits of legendary or unknown -but nevertheless- very important heroes or heroines. Sometimes the protagonist is a slice of watermelon, a chair, a table, a cactus, a palm tree, some written words and so on… everyone and everything gets an equal opportunity on the Melissinos “stage”. They are all important because they are all part of life. And Life is what his art is about. The colors, the sounds, the scents, the six senses and the feelings of life are all present all the time.
The range of Melissinos’ art varies from sketches and drawings to paintings on canvas or three-dimensional painted assemblages, jewelry, wearable art, poetry, plays, as well as set and costume design. He also writes music and lyrics for the plays he writes and which he produces whenever his need to communicate with a live audience is urgent.
POEMS, COMEDIES AND MUSIC
His usually narrative poetry is philosophical and deals, like his paintings, with heroes or heroines and their everyday life equivalents. He also enjoys writing music and comedies. But in recent years poetry has definitely won him over.
DICTIONARY OF GREEK ARTISTS
Volume 3 16-20th Century:
“…In his art work the ancient myths deal with contemporary anxieties and are depicted in a visual language that combines ancient “primitive”, expressionistic and sometimes surrealistic elements in a different “tonal key”. His 3-dimentional paintings are in a way “set designs” where dynamic forms and brilliant color juxtapositions envelope his leading mythological figure or scene, which gets its meaning from a personal iconography and symbolism…”
BORN:16-01-1959, Athens -Greece.STUDIES:
- PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN/
- BFA /ILLUSTRATION (1987)
- MFA /PAINTING (1989).
- GREEK CULTURAL CENTER, New York, USA / Art Teacher (1985-1986) Set & Costume Designer (1986-1987) /Artistic Director (1988-1989).
- HARMER JOHNSON BOOKS & ANTIQUITIES, New York, USA (1989-1990)
- HELEXPO Set Designer of the 33rd International Song Festival of Thessalonica (1994).
- KASTALIA/ ANCIENT DRAMA GROUP Set & Costume Designer (1995 to date)
- NET 2 (National Television of Greece) Set Designer of “AVLAEA” (A show about the history of Greek pop music 1993 -1994).
P. Melissinos is currently working as a painter, a set & costume designer and an interior decorator.
His artwork has been shown in numerous one man and group shows, as well as on the Internet (LAMBRAKIS FOUNDATION/ internet ART Site), on TV talk shows ASAHI /Japan, MEGA CHANNEL, ANTENNA, SEVEN X, NET 1, NET 2. etc. Several magazine and newspaper journalists have also interviewed him about his artwork (CLICK, FLASH, DIVA, THE ATHENIAN, ELEUTHEROTYPIA, APOGEUMATINE, MAISON ET DECORATION, EXODOS, NITRO, PROINE of N.Y., ETHNIKOS KERYX (N.Y.), TA NEA, TO VEMA etc.).
His paintings can be found in private collections in New York, Hartford, Ohio, Philadelphia, Boston, London, Tokyo, Paris and Athens.ONE MAN’S SHOW (SELECTED)
- 2001: Diana Gallery, Athens.
- 1998: Olga Georgantea Gallery, Athens.
- 1992: Tempo 2000 Gallery, Athens.
- 1991: Olga Georgantea Gallery, Athens.
- 1986: Greek Cultural Center, New York.
GROUP SHOWS (SELECTED)
- 2001: “Art to Use”, DIANA – YIULIA GALLERY, Athens.
- “Millennium Art Sale 2000”, DIANA –
- YIULIA GALLERY, Athens.
- “Senses, Obsessions & Illusions”, GAZI, Municipality of Athens, Athens.
- “Expanding the Possibilities”, Hewlett Packard, GAZI, Municipality of Athens.
- “Red Cross Art Show”, RED CROSS, Athens.
- “Trash Art”, GAZI, Municipality of Athens.
- HEOS GALLERY, Athens.
- THRYALIS GALLERY, Patra.
- “17 Planetary Recipes”, AETHOUSA TECHNIS NAUPLIOU, Nauplion
- 1997: “Forty Greek Artists Support The Doctors Without Frontiers” -MELINA MERKURI CULTURAL CENTER –Athens.
- 1996: “Cheap Art Show-96”, CHEAP ART, Athens.
- 1995: “Cheap Art Show-95”, CHEAP ART, Athens.
- SOCIETY OF ILLUSTRATORS, New York, USA.
- PARSONS, New York, USA.
- 1981: EGNER ART GALLERY, Ohio, USA.
OTHER ACTIVITIES & STUDIESP. Melissinos has also studied music at the “ODEION ATHENON” and is the writer of five plays:
- “MAESTRO FARSHAS” A comedy staged at PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN –1985.
- “PRINCE GLUTONIUS” A comedy staged at PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN –1986.
- “THE ART DEALER” A comedy staged at PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN –1987
- “BACCHUS” A comedy staged in the AMPHI-THEATER OF SETTA, in Central Euboia /summer- 2001 & summer -2002. “BACCHUS” was also performed in the BLACK BOX THEATER of the AMERICAN COLLEGE OF GREECE
- “THE VAIN CHRISTMAS TREE” A comedy written for the Christmas activities of The PHILOPROODOS OMILOS HYMETTOU, Athens, 2002-03
- “DESERT WINE”, Lyrics: Stavros & Pantelis Melissinos. Music by Pantelis Melissinos, (1991) “BACCHUS” the music of the above-mentioned play, (2001).