Dimitri Likissas, pointillist painter from Sint Maarten. Photo © Courtesy of the artist
1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.
I am a full time painter obsessed with painting colored dots. I started as a graphic designer in the newspaper world about 25 years ago. I have been painting all my life as a hobby but have been doing it professionally since 2016. With my dot paintings I am after creating optical effects whereby you can only see the image at a distance.
2.What does your work aim to say?
I consider each colored dot to be like a person. You and me and everyone. Together we all make up that image shown. You will notice that in my work all the dots are spread out evenly in a grid. The grid stands for me as for rigour and rules of society. I could have easily made squares instead of dots, but squares are not free, squares can not roll, but dots are free and can roll. Personally I don’t want needless rules, I want freedom.
However, some basic rules are needed, exemplified with this grid, which shows that togetherm eventhough we are free (dot can roll), we can create an image if we follow basic rules. So creating these works besides being tedious, I am constantly fighting the rules to be met (the grid) because without the grid, I don’t get the image.
From closeby, dot by dot, it doesn’t tell you much, however from a distance, the colored dots blend together and makes you see something totally different. So, together, with some rules, we create a wonderful world. I also aim for the people that see the work to be amazed that at first glance they didn’t see an image. That they have to pay just a little more attention to the basics.
3.Where do you find inspiration for your art?
I find my inspiration looking at existing art and magazines. I try to dissect why some imagery is appealing to me and I keep them a side for later use. Also what is happening in the world inspires me to create paintings that archive these world events. I like to read biographies of people, especially the part of the successes and failures of lives and therefore some works represent some of these successes and failures.
4.Could you give us some insight into your creative process?
My process has many tangent elements such as geometry, color and grid. In my studio I have color studies which I refer to to solve the simple question of why some color combinations work or not. I am obliged to use these color combinations which are spread all over the work to create that image.
I also constantly must play with the color combinations and from a distance, because the work is to be seen from a distance. Besides me, it also make the people think how these geometric dot patterns can create that image which they didn’t see at first.
5.What are your future projects?
On the side burner I work on audio visual works displayed from vintage TV screens and computer monitors. I am building up a body of work in case there’s a space that wants to show them. The idea is that we are being programmed through screens, vintage screens, because it seems so futuristic, to be programmed, but it’s actually a reality now.
My videos play on this idea, whereby I almost hypnotise a viewer looking at the screen where also hypnotic suggestion text scrolls by literally programming you.
Dimitri Likissas (Belgium, 1969) is a Belgian painter and sculptor of Greek origins and at the age of 20, he moved to the Caribbean where he worked as a graphic designer and business manager. And all this in some way defined his artistic path. Thanks to his origins and his travels, he has developed over time an artistic technique based on the creation of figures with separate points of color and, to admire the final work, the viewer must necessarily observe it from afar to understand its meaning.
Each point seems to move on the canvas, in search of its own harmony in the multitude of colors. A bit like atoms that moving all together create something, so Likissas’ painting that vaguely recalls the pointillisme of Georges Seurat, but also Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring, creates matter. The artist’s works create a minimalist rhythm and optical experience, and are included in many private collections particularly in Europe and the United States. Dimitri Likissas lives and works in Sint Maarten.