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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 15 September 2018
18 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Greek mythology made trendy with a dash of humour A souvenir brand reintroduces contemporary Greece to the world through figures of ancient mythology ZOE THOMAIDOU C ould you imagine the Minotaur as an angry cook, Cyclops driving a cab with his single eye on the road, while holding a frappe in his hand or the Lernaean Hydra keeping some of her heads busy at the beach, swimming and playing tavli? You might wonder if this is a joke. Well, the answer is yes and no. This is only a small sample of cartoon sketches imprinted on the products of souvenir brand The Greek Imp. And while humour lies at the core of every creation, the team behind it is serious about promoting an image of contemporary Greece which pays tribute to its ancient past, while not being afraid to add a thoughtful sarcastic commentary on it. "People visiting our country are familiar with ancient Greek art and mythology, so I used these as a basis to showcase the creativity of modern day Greeks [...] I thought that mythical monsters were suitable material for sketches with a funny twist,” The Greek Imp's founder, Effie Gavrilou tells Neos Kosmos. Paradoxically enough, the idea to create a series of amusing Greek memorabilia was born during her trip to Peru, where she was impressed by a company's merchandise adopting this approach. The idea that these souvenirs could turn into a ticket for entering the world of business did not cross her mind until five years later. "The Greek Imp was born in January 2013, driven by my desire to see souvenirs with strong humour references in the Greek market. "I felt the need to be part of a force for humour around me. Moving away from the feeling of immobilising awe towards the imagination and skills of ancient Greeks, I thought of transforming this sense of responsibility into a celebration of creativity. And I believe I have managed to get close to my target,” she says. The brand's logo was codesigned by an Athens-based communication agency led by Rena Chrysikopoulou and Michael Ochs and soon after the sketches of three well-known cartoonists, Spyros Derveniotis, Stefanos Koltsidopoulos and Nestoras Kechagias brought to life the first collection of "reinvented" mythical monsters cheekily appearing on t-shirts. Since last year, the project has become complete with the introduction of a full product range, including fridge magnets, post cards, tote bags and stoles, and the launch of three new collections, while the team of creatives welcomed visual artist and illustrator Liliana Areteou as their newest member on board. The ‘Eternal beauty’ series presents a rather surreal yet entertaining reality of how ancient Greek statue figures would look today. Take a closer look at the sketches imprinted on a seemingly mainstream souvenir and you'll see the Charioteer of Delphi staring at his... smart phone, Antinous posing with... piercings and tattoos or a typical Cycladic marble figurine... smoking! ‘Greek memes’ comically combines viral phrases with famous museum exhibits, while ‘It's you in Greece’ is specifically designed for littlies, featuring animals in sketches with captions The Charioteer of Delphi staring at... a smart phone!
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