Artemis Antippas talks glitter chicken, Greece, soccer, and art practice.
Artemis Antippas talks glitter chicken, Greece, soccer, and art practice.
Artemis is a New Orleans artist with local roots and Greek heritage, most recognized for her glitter chicken pieces (the inspiration for the collaborative pins you'll see in our store and online shop). Her work, personal and peculiar, creatively funnels her passions for family, music, and soccer, among other interests and observations.
Gotta know – why glitter chicken? Where’d that come from?
Ha, yes. You know, for me, it just seemed obvious. Why wouldn’t I dip my Popeyes fried chicken legs in glitter? The work I make that involves glitter and fried chicken is a direct influence of my deep connection to New Orleans. Fried chicken is one of the most celebrated foods in New Orleans – you could find fried chicken at a block party, a Mardi Gras house party, a black-tie gala, a birthday party, at Michelin star restaurants throughout the city, and at corner stores galore. Everybody loves fried chicken here. It’s a huge part of being in New Orleans, regardless of where or how you grew up – I think that’s pretty beautiful.
What makes New Orleans special for you?
Oh man, I think New Orleans is the greatest city ever. I grew up on Frenchmen Street, way before it became what it is now. It was an incredible place to grow up and experience this lawless city. At a really young age, I saw a lot, learned a lot and interacted with all of the most colorful and eccentric people our city is made of. Growing up around The French Quarter taught me the importance of what it means to be truly accepting of others.
Visually, I find New Orleans to be incredibly stimulating and inspiring. I also have a handful of little spots around the city that I like to escape to if I need to reset my mind creatively.
I went to college in Washington, DC and lived in New York City for a few years. I could never really understand why people outside of our city avoided making eye contact when walking down the street. New Orleans is the antithesis of that – it’s all eye contact, all the time. It’s overly friendly, welcoming to all and completely sincere. New Orleans is a city that will never stop giving. I fall more and more in love with it every day and feel very lucky to call it home. There’s nothing but love, joy and total wildness here.
“You know, for me, it just seemed obvious. Why wouldn’t I dip my Popeyes fried chicken legs in glitter?”
What have traveling and other cultures taught you?
Everything. I feel strongly that if you are able to travel, then you should travel. But I maintain a pretty broad definition of what it is to “travel” – it doesn’t have to be to somewhere far or expensive. It could just be a simple trip to another neighborhood, or a 30-mile drive heading east. Even to explore what you haven’t seen before in your own city can be really exciting and refreshing, not to mention, educational.
I tend to look at everything through a very focused lens. I have this intense desire to really understand people and why they do what they do. So, I try to spend as much of my time exploring, both near and far, observing the people around me. Traveling, immersing yourself in other cultures, and interacting with unfamiliar people are vital to understanding how and why we all exist on the same planet. The more experiences you open yourself up to, the more you allow yourself to grow, connect and appreciate others – no matter how different they are. That is the biggest takeaway of a great trip.
“The more experiences you open yourself up to, the more you allow yourself to grow, connect and appreciate others – no matter how different they are.”
What’s it like to be so in touch with Greece, visiting often? Are there any pivotal moments there for you?
Greece is the most magical place! I try to visit as often as possible, which is usually every other summer with my family. My Yiayia was born on Skopelos, which is a beautiful green island in the northern Aegean Sea. I took my first trip there was I was five years old and was forever changed. Being in Greece and connecting to the people and the islands has really helped me to understand why I am the way I am. It’s a country whose profound history resonates all around you, but it’s also a country where you can reset, relax and appreciate being in the moment. Best of all, there is nothing more healing than taking a swim in the Greek seas.
My world is equal parts Greece and New Orleans. I put feta cheese on my red beans and rice, you know? The Greeks and New Orleanians are a very similar people – both born with an overwhelming amount of passion, pride and authenticity.
Do you have any recommendations for anyone planning to travel to Greece?
My favorite islands: Skopelos, Kefalonia, Milos and Zakynthos.
My favorite foods: kremithopita, horiatiki salata, yemista, gigandes, rizogalo, always ouzo, and always an extra order of feta.
“The Greeks and New Orleanians are a very similar people – both born with an overwhelming amount of passion, pride and authenticity.”
Your family seems pretty important to you. What are your parents like?
I have two pretty badass parents. I am who I am because I am a true blend of both of them. I grew up in an art-centric family – my dad, Andy Antippas, owns Barrister’s Gallery and has been a professor of English literature, an African art dealer, and a brilliant writer. My mom, Anastasia Pelias, is an extraordinary abstract painter and installation artist. Both of my parents have been incredible examples for me – they truly do what they love and love what they do.
When I was little, I spent countless days dancing around my mom’s studio while she painted and we blasted Prince. Prince was and will forever be a huge part of my life. He actually came to my house on Frenchmen when I was about three years old. My parents were bathing us upstairs and didn’t bother to go see who was ringing the doorbell. The next day, my dad’s artist friend called him and told him he came by the house with “his friend Prince” to see the house and his African collection. I love my parents very much, but I don’t think I’ll ever forgive them for not answering the door that night…
How do you explain your art? What are your primary inspirations?
Everything I make is very personal, so I actually don’t really like to share too much about my work. I feel like too much explanation would influence how people interpret my work, and I don’t want that. I like for people to discover and connect in whatever way they can on a personal level. Sometimes my work is perceived as funny or even uncomfortable – and that’s okay even though that is not my intention. Every asymmetrical detail, color choice and combination of materials holds significance to me. The decisions I make are quite purposeful.
As a little kid, I can’t really say that I always knew I would be an artist. I played soccer competitively for a long time and that dominated my life and passion for many years. It still is hugely important to me and I continue to learn from the beauty of the sport every time I sit down to watch a game (Man United, of course!). I’m actually working on a new series that explores my relationship with soccer. It’s very exciting for me to be able to make work about all of the things I love.
For me, the adventure and experimentation of the working process are equally as exciting as the finished work itself. The hunt for new materials is what really ignites ideas for a new series. Making art is a part of my daily life, even when I’m not physically in the studio. It is necessary for me to constantly be exposing my mind to newness. It doesn’t matter if it’s an abandoned parking lot, the act of putting my Yiayia’s hair up in curlers, a retail display in a department store, a new vintage silk scarf found at a thrift store, or a blob of cotton candy. Everything around me influences the work I make. Whatever newness I see, I absorb it completely – because it will undoubtedly somehow, someway, influence a future piece, whether I realize it or not.
“It is necessary for me to constantly be exposing my mind to newness...Whatever newness I see, I absorb it completely – because it will undoubtedly somehow, someway, influence a future piece, whether I realize it or not.”
So what’s up with the Rice Pudding? How did that come about?
Yes! Greek Girls Rice Pudding! My sister Athena and I started our business about three years ago. Soon after we launched Greek Girls, Athena was offered a great job abroad and moved to Hong Kong, so I now run things solo. Rice pudding (rizogalo in Greek) is something we always loved as little girls – the smell of a fresh lemon peel and a sprinkle of cinnamon coming from our kitchen is forever engrained in my memory. The “ancient” family recipe behind Greek Girls Rice Pudding has been passed down by the women in my family for many, many generations, dating back almost 200 years to Tripoli in the Peloponnese in Greece. It’s a truly beautiful history of family + food + tradition. If you aren’t familiar with rice pudding, I encourage y’all to try it. It’s delicious!
You can find Greek Girls Rice Pudding in about thirty retailers around the New Orleans area including Whole Foods, Stumptown Coffee, Stein’s, City Greens, Langenstein’s, Green Fork, The Daily Beet…Let me know what you think! Kali Orexi!