Vakirtzis Giorgos (1923 - 1988)

He was born in 1923 in Mytilene. Along with his family he settled in Piraeus in 1930. Since his childhood, he worked as assistant at a studio of decorative arts, making signs and sets for travelling theatres. He was taught the art of billboard posters by Stefanos Almaliotis (1938-1940) and studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1939-1946), with Umberto Argyros and Konstantinos Parthenis. He continued his studies in Paris (painting, printmaking and graphic design) at the École des Beaux-Arts, with Jean Souverbie και E.J. Goerg, and at independent art schools (1952-1953).
For many years (1946-1963) he painted billboard posters for major Athenian cinema halls. His distinctive artistic style, with his crude brush strokes and the imposing portraits of movie stars, attributed quality to this kind of imagery, aesthetically upgrading commercial movie posters. During the same period, he was art director at Skouras Films and collaborated with Finos Films and LTC cinematography labs in Paris. After 1964, he was involved with graphic arts in general, editing publication layouts, designing covers and mock-ups, up until 1967.
In parallel with his activities in the domain of visual applications, he created his own paintings. Since 1949, he frequently took part in various group exhibitions, in Greece and abroad. His first solo exhibition (Nees Morfes gallery, 1960) was titled Monotypic Painting – Monograph.
Since 1970, he systematically dedicated all of his time to painting and engraving, with intense exhibition activity. In his painting, which he presented in thematic units, he applies a dynamic colour style with open outlines. His compositions are often monumental, with references to classical art, while his themes usually involve critique on social reality.
In 1979, he visited Moscow as a member of the poster selection committee of the Soviet Union Olympics.
He published books and essays on art, while many of his writings remain unpublished.
In 1989, a year after his death (Athens, 1988), the Athens National Art Gallery organised a retrospective exhibition and published an all-inclusive album of his works.