Ahead of his debut at Affordable Art Fair Melbourne 2023, we had the chance to connect with homegrown artist Charlie Nanopoulos. Hailing from Mornington and making waves as a Bluethumb Rising Star, Charlie’s creative journey is as unique as his vibrant artworks.
Charlie Nanopoulos is a Mornington local whose artistic prowess is now set to dazzle at Affordable Art Fair Melbourne’s (AAF) 2023 edition. Charlie’s story is a testament to the transformative power of creative expression, as he forayed into the world of art after unforeseen health challenges redirected his path. Describing art as a meditative practice, he shifted careers completely from working as a tradesman most of his life to creating full time.
From his debut at the AAF Melbourne to his affiliation with Bluethumb, Charlie’s artistic voyage is nothing short of inspiring. This marks his third-ever exhibition and the first time he graces the prestigious event’s stage. An artist with Bluethumb, Charlie’s unique style and heartfelt creations have already earned him recognition as a rising star and a Bluethumb Art Prize 2022 finalist.
Join us as we uncover Charlie Nanopoulos’ journey – from his humble beginnings to becoming a beacon of resilience and creativity. With each brushstroke, he not only portrays his deep connection with Australian themes, but also encapsulates the joy of pursuing a lifelong passion. Charlie’s story is a testament to how art can bring hope and shine light on newfound horizons.
Your Journey Becoming an Artist is Truly Inspiring. Can You Tell Us More About How This Transition Happened and How Art Became Such a Significant Part of Your Life?
I was a tradesman up until I got sick [with a congenital heart issue] and then once I got through that and came home, I couldn’t do anything for a while.
For three months I could just move around a little bit. So I just did my art and it kept me busy while recovering. And it kind of snowballed from there into what it is now, which is exciting! I just didn’t want to get depressed or anything like that and thought it’s best to do something I’m passionate about.
Your Story Turning to Art as a Mental and Creative Outlet is Remarkable. How Has This Personal Experience Influenced the Themes and Emotions You Incorporate into Your Pieces?
Most of my artwork is from memories of [Melbourne], nostalgic things, or just memories in general of when I was sick [and how] I would get myself through dark times.
Now I just think of happy thoughts and now I try to paint them and that seems to have reached a few people and that’s good.
What Message Do You Hope to Convey Through Your Pieces?
Mainly just like most of them are based in nostalgia and memories from happy times and really joyful [works]. A lot of people do things that are darker [and I wanted to show] a bit of a happier side of [art].
Congratulations on Your Upcoming Exhibition at Affordable Art Fair Melbourne! How Does it Feel to be Showcasing Your Work at Such an Event for the First Time?
I’ve only been doing it properly for 18 months now. It’s super exciting. It’s just an opportunity that popped up at the start of the year. And when I first started, I decided just to jump at any opportunity that came my way.
It’s a little bit daunting because there are so many artworks, like a collection of 10 or 12. So it was a lot of work to do, but it’s super exciting.
How Did the Collaboration with the Affordable Art Fair Come About?
So on Bluethumb, I’ve been doing work for now for 18 months and they just reached out at the start of the year and chose me to represent them.
Being a Part of Affordable Art Fair Can Open Doors to a Wider Audience. How do You Envision Your Art Reaching and Connecting with New Admirers During This Event?
Yeah, I’ve actually got no idea how it’ll go, but I’m pretty excited, considering all my art is Melbourne-based so I’m excited to see what the reaction is. I’ve already met a handful of my art fans online and I think a few are going to the Art Fair which is exciting.
I’ve put a lot of work into it so I think it’ll be good.
For Prospective Collectors, Where or How Do You Envision Your Art Being Displayed?
I’ve actually seen a few of them – I try to get my collectors to send me a photo of the artwork. Some of them sent me a photo where it is displayed and it’s super exciting to think that something I thought in my head is now in someone’s living room and my work can live on forever.
The Titles of Your Artworks, Such as “Hidden Laneways” and “A Lifetime of Barracking,” Evoke Curiosity and Intrigue. How Do You Come Up with These Unique Titles?
Sometimes I actually come up with the title before I start the painting. And then think of the painting after I’ve got the title, or I’ll see a story on TV that’ll inspire me to write the title and then come up with the painting or memories of things and what happens especially in the city. And then I just kind of go from there.
Do These Titles Play a Significant Role in Conveying the Essence of Your Pieces?
Some do because I try to be inclusive to everyone – I don’t want to be like, my art is for the people that can afford expensive artwork [only]. I want to make it as genuine as possible for the common people, for [anyone] that gets excited about art.
Congratulations Again on Winning the Title of Bluethumb Rising Star Last Year! Can You Share with Us the Moment you Found Out About This Recognition and What it Means to You as an Artist?
[At the time] they just found me, so I sell artwork on their platform, and I was getting some sales for the company, and they loved that. They’ve been pretty selective with the artists that they pick for their rising stars. I happened to get one last year as well as a featured artist award.
It was really exciting because starting off I didn’t expect anything like that at all. I created my own style, [which is] pretty original and [when I was younger] I used to just draw comic book characters, so for that to get noticed, was very exciting.
What Role Has Bluethumb Played in Helping You Establish Your Artistic Career?
Bluethumb is really great. They’re very supportive, and they push anything that I put out there. They’ve been to my studio and done an interview with me, put me on their socials, and they’re so easy to communicate with.
I sell 90% of my art through Bluethumb. I couldn’t have done any of this without their support and they’re all great people as well.
How Important is Building Relationships with Fellow Artists and Art Collectors?
That’s pretty important. [When] I was new to it, I didn’t know anyone or anything and obviously art has got that reputation of being pretty selective so slowly building a community of people that feel the same and had more knowledge than me was very good [for my artistic journey].
I did a course with a local artist [Kirsten Jackson] and got a lot of information from her to build my [career]. I think that’s important to have someone who’s already succeeded, and [learn] how they got there, their techniques, and all that.
What Advice Would You Give to Other Artists Looking to Establish Themselves in the Art World?
Just keep painting, and keep refining your style. I look back at my artwork now, which was only eighteen months ago, and I think how much I’ve improved my style and how much easier it has become to actually paint that style.
Balancing Work and Creativity is Often a Challenge. How do you Maintain a Sense of Balance While Pursuing Your Passion for Art?
That’s a hard one. Routine is important.
Most days, I try to paint as much as I can but doing promotion, packaging, and making sure [my pieces are] packaged safely is a lot. I often just schedule it out so I often paint, maybe three days a week, mailing the next day, and balancing it [as much as I can].
How Do You Hope Your Journey and Your Art Will Inspire Others to Embrace Change and Pursue Their Passions?
Even if you’re doing a job that you don’t like, it’s hard, and it’s not your passion then you can always take the chance. You never know what’s going to happen. Keep going after what you want as long as you push and put in all your effort.
The ball will roll and you’ll eventually pick up [momentum], and then success follows.
Where Can People View Your Work?
Looking Ahead, What Are Your Aspirations for Your Artistic Journey in the Next Few Years?
My goal would just be to be constantly busy with sales. I’m just starting and I want to [do more], and always be doing something bigger and newer while still doing the best I can.
Witness Charlie’s works in person at Bluethumb’s booth at Affordable Art Fair Melbourne from Thursday, August 31st to Sunday, September 3rd, 2023.
For ticketing information and more details, visit affordableartfair.com.
Address: Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC 3053