It started as a way to conserve paint during the pandemic, but Charles Nanopoulos (@charlienanos_art.)’s creative approach is now part of his unique style. Combining geometric shapes with contrasting patterns and colours, Charles Nanopoulos’s artwork also turns iconic Melbourne destinations into pop art postcards.
Charlie put the paint brushes down for a chat and we uncovered more about the Melbourne abstract artist’s approach and how he found his own style.
How did you develop your style?
My style emerged from the limitations of the pandemic. With distance restrictions and restraints on the canvas and colours I could get access to, this forced me to be more resilient and curious about colour mixing and utilising colours for their best effect. I had to learn to reuse old canvases, and really get the most out of one pigment.
Post-pandemic, I was able to take that acquired knowledge base and refine and sharpen it with the exploration of more tools and paints as they became more accessible.
You work with geometric shapes and contrasting patterns, is your work intuitive or planned?
A little of both. I generally start with an idea, but I'm very open to being taken with the creation of the piece and seeing where it wants to go. I'm also very curious about imperfections or mistakes in my art and I like to see how they work and shape the pieces.
How do you decide on your colour palette?
I go through moods I guess, I always have a fondness for blue and white, because you can depict so many emotions and concepts just with two shades. I’ve been working with pinks a lot of late and I'm enjoying rediscovering the colour for myself.
You’ve painted a few iconic Melbourne destinations, what do you love most about these?
Melbourne has some really interesting architecture, and a clash of styles and influences are found in our scenescapes. It’s really exciting to walk around the corner (or laneway) in Melbourne and not know what you're going to see.
As a Melbourne born and bred artist, the emotions and memories of some of the locations have drawn me to paint them. We all have a lot of shared experiences, so I feel if I have fond memories of a place (like the MCG or Luna park) other Melbournians will also.
How did it feel when you started to show people your work for the first time?
It’s intimidating! While I've always painted privately, I really started showing my art and creating more after an illness, so I was already in an immensely vulnerable state, and just opening myself up more to the world. An all or nothing type situation, I guess.
When was the last time you had a buzz after you created something?
When I painted “A Cherry on Top,” because it sparked a new direction and style. I’ve done a few similar to it -- they're kind of pop - like and fun.
What’s the most interesting or moving art you’ve seen?
Anguish by August Friedrich Schenck. Look at it. And be sad. It's on display at the National Gallery of Victoria so you can feel the anguish in real life, just for kicks.
You’re on a desert island and in a weird turn of events there’s some paint supplies (hooray!) Would you rather 1 paint colour and 100 brushes or 100 colours and only 1 brush?
100 colours and one brush.
You’re at a party, what party food are you reaching for?
Allens Party Mix- here’s my hierarchy.
#1 Strawberries & cream
#2 Red frogs
#5 Peaches & cream
#6 Jelly babies
#7 Milk bottles
#8 Black cats
What’s next, what are you most excited for?
I’m planning and trying to piece together my first solo exhibition. You can be the first to know by following my instagram @charlienanos_art. I’m keen to get involved with any opportunity that presents itself, I've just submitted some work to Melbourne City Council so hopefully you’ll see my vibrant Mont Marte created art in the CBD.
We hope that you too will feel inspired to create your own art and we’d love to see what you come up with! #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook, so we can see it! Or check out more of our featured artists here.