ΕΒΓΕ is the top design award institute in Greece. It is an annual prestigious event taking place sometime in April, where the best of Greek design is celebrated in several different categories. One of those categories being illustration. This year I was very proud to be asked to participate in the judging event to choose the winners of the five illustration categories. So, off to Athens I went!
In mid-january I was invited to participate with Stathis Petropoulos, Iris Samartzi, Dimitris Anastasiadis, Xara Marantidou in a day long judging event down in the Greek capital Athens. This is where ΕΒΓΕ‘s head office is, and the destination I must take from Thessaloniki in order to participate. The plane was booked, the hotel was booked and quickly the day arrive. Due to the lengthy process of looking through all the submissions I had to leave Thessaloniki at 5am in the morning to arrive with good time for the work ahead.
The largest amount of time I had to take a break was the actually on the metro journey from the airport to the city centre. Still however, I did meet an interesting man by the name of Jim, who was travelling with is wife, and was returning from Israel where he told me he was trading the steps of Jesus. We talked with interest, even if not agreeing on all topics, but it did kill a 40 minute journey. And it was a pleasant encounter. Didn’t even have time to to checkin at the hotel, so dropped my bag off, grabbed a few things and shot off around the corner to meet up at the rendezvous point. This was a facility that ΕΒΓΕ had hired for the day, that had become a converted printing office from a former Greek magazine. Surprisingly being the only one that had to travel 517kms by plane and the train, I was the first to arrive. Finding Demetrios Fakinos outside unloading the entrants.
The first part of the morning was spent arranging the competition entrants. It was a surprisingly long process and I did discover some familiar faces long the entrants. One notable one was Costis Papatheodorou, who I worked with on doing the three caricaturist caricature project, you can see here and here.
We eventually started the judging. Which involved looking at the pieces in three different criteria; originality, technical skills and relevance to the purpose. Our aim was to each collect two pieces we felt were outstanding for the entrants and put aside for consideration later with affect to gain the prize for that category. The categories we had to look through were five in total. These consisted of, miscellaneous, advertising, poster, book and book cover.
A couple of hours was spent going through the artworks and placing them aside. Not sure if the other found it very hard. I personally and a traditionalist illustrator, so I basically have this in mind when I do and appreciate work, but in the case of judging others work, then the open-minded as pest has to play a part and you need to see the qualities of the work over your own preferences. Once this process was done, we sat and category by category went through each piece and each had to bestow a mark for each of the three criteria for judging.
Athens is a busy and bustling place, and today was the same, and we were part of that. Eventually we had to break for lunch. The break was spent discussing the upcoming oscars and the merits of the films being nominated. It was quite a nice cultural break from the task at hand and we seemed to have some unity in the film; “Three Billboards”. Lunch was over and we got back to it.
The city lights were slowly dimming into late afternoon and we realised that it had been a really long day. We eventually got through the five categories and found their winners and runners up. To conclude the afternoon events we were asked to take the winners of the different categories and vote on a Gold Award winner. This was full of a certain amount of debate as there were very different feels to the three that ended up in front of us. Eventually there was a winner. I am not allowed to mention any of the prize winners before the official announcement, but we all agreed on the quality and presence of the gold winner. So that was the day done, and Athens was free for me to enjoy.
Even though exhausted from travel and judging I had planned to meet Maya Tsoclis and Alexandros Kouris (from my Nissos collaboration) for an evening meal, and the call came just as we were finishing up. So I returned to the Fresh Hotel and chilled for awhile, to get some rest and then elevated myself to the rooftop bar and restaurant to see the wonderful view of Athens‘s Acropolis moment and enjoy a meal with friends.
That was the perfect end to a rushed day of creative excitement, and I hit the pillow knowing the journey back was a head of me. So I awoke at 6am, clean up and packed my bags. After a rushed breakfast I shuttled pff to the metro to get the line back to the airport. After all the security and and rushing I was so exhausted from the trip and work I just found a seat to flop in. Eventually I was lucky to find it was the gate I required to board at, so had no hassle in that department.
The final joy came on the flight back and as we entered our decent I managed to see glimpse of one of my favourite places in Greece; Mount Olympus. With its snow capped beauty and awe!! I was back home and resting, thinking of all the events of the past weekend.
As soon as the results are released publicly I will review the winners and give my thoughts. Stay tuned!