George Ioannou

Bob The Dead Famous Collection - Canvas by George Ioannou
Bob The Dead Famous Collection - Paper by George Ioannou
Ziggy The Dead Famous Collection - Canvas by George Ioannou
Ziggy The Dead Famous Collection - Paper by George Ioannou
Freddie The Dead Famous Collection - Canvas by George Ioannou
Freddie The Dead Famous Collection - Paper by George Ioannou
Audrey The Dead Famous Collection - Canvas by George Ioannou
Audrey The Dead Famous Collection - Paper by George Ioannou
Cobain The Dead Famous Collection - Canvas by George Ioannou
Cobain The Dead Famous Collection - Paper by George Ioannou
Elvis The Dead Famous Collection - Canvas by George Ioannou
Elvis The Dead Famous Collection - Paper by George Ioannou
Jimi The Dead Famous Collection - Canvas by George Ioannou
Jimi The Dead Famous Collection - Paper by George Ioannou
Contemporary figurative artist, George Ioannou is certainly a man in control of his own creative destiny and moreover an artist with his finger on the pulse of modern art, hell-bent on making it acceptable and welcoming to a new generation. A generation who otherwise might be put off by the perceived air of snootiness of some gallery’s approaches to more traditional art and more pertently, the commercial spaces in which we’re invited to interact with them in the first instance. Ioannou has attempted to redress this situation with his own gallery - which in typical Ioannou fashion he’s called, Art Rebellion – that opened its doors for business in Surrey in 2009 and offers an altogether different visitor experience in his opinion. Implying that the more traditional high street galleries may have gone to the wall so to speak on account of their staidness, as much as a result of an economic downturn, Ioannou strove to conceive a gallery layout, ambience and attitude that would make engage people more and help overcome some people’s trepidations about setting foot in more often than not, conservative surrounds. Ioannou takes up the story himself, suggesting; "I think non-experts are a little bit intimidated by the thought of going to more traditional galleries and saying the wrong thing – that is what we are trying to avoid and we encourage people to speak their mind, even if they don't like what they see” going on to admit that; “Art Rebellion is not – and never will be – a traditional art gallery”.

So what of Ioannou himself and his background, and moreover what qualifies him to pass judgement on such matters. Born and bred in Croydon, South London in 1974, Ioannou’s first taste for art came from exposure to comic books devised in the 1950s and 60s, the acknowledged golden era for this genre of art and arguably a pre-cursor to Pop Art in some ways. Evidently inspired by what he saw from a graphical perspective, Ioannou earliest ambition was to be a cartoonist, however this dream never bore fruition and instead he ended up being an estate agent. With the greatest of respect, not very rock and roll, or particularly creative for that matter, yet this vocation proved to be the turning point for Ioannou and its daily bread conversely influenced his decisions and the direction in which his life would next turn.

Describing his time as an estate agent, Ioannou tells of the continual Groundhog Day scenario that would play out, whereby he witnessed the same oak floors, minimal white walls and Ikea furniture without let up. In the end it was Ioannou’s purchase of his own home that made him sit up and realise where his future lay, in the creation of his own artwork that would offer less obvious alternatives to the now conformist approach to contemporary interiors. “I wanted my house to stand out” Ioannou noted looking back, and tireless trips to art galleries did little to inspire him as he looked to fill his own bare walls. Faced with this, Ioannou decided to paint his first canvas; Al Pacino in Scarface. Ioannou declared that his house loved it, as did every visitor to his new gaff who passed favourable comments and added that he should create more canvases in this visually arresting pop culture vein. So without further ado, he did just that, after becoming redundant in 2001.

A fan of Pop Art innovator, Andy Warhol’s work, Ioannou took the ‘in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes’ artist’s lead, and pictorially manipulated his vibrant, humourous and engaging pop culture themes for his own effect. Ioannou goes to lengths to infer that he was among the first of this new breed of modern artists to re-imagine these classic Pop Art compositions that have since become commonplace in dockside apartments, penthouse suites and Georgian townhouses. Ioannou draws our attention to the fact that; "It was something I did as an experiment at first and then it turned into this huge thing and I began being commissioned regularly for something I loved doing – I was even commissioned to do a piece for Michael Caine”.

It’s not just Michael Caine who’s hung Ioannou’s iconic work in their des res though, as his individual pieces have being afforded wall space in the abodes of numerous celebrity collectors and distinguished actors and sports personalities since Ioannou crash-landed onto the contemporary figurative art scene 10 years ago. This exposure and clamour for sometimes anarchic glamour has resulted in Ioannou’s individual works and collections gaining gallery and exhibition space across Europe and the United States, as well as the artist being recognised within the industry as one of the top ten best selling and most collectable artists currently working in the UK in 2007/08, while increasing volumes of recent canvases have quickly sold out. As it currently stands, Ioannou is undoubtedly one of the most successful icon painters in the country, made famous with his highly collectable ‘Scarface’ series.

His artwork has led him to work with many leading companies including Chelsea FC, Granada TV, MTV, The British Film Industry as well as gaining prominent feature space and column inches in magazines including GQ, Classic Rock & Tatler to name but a few. In addition, Ioannou works closely with the “Bobby Moore Trust Fund for Cancer Research” and has raised over £60K through his art donations. More recently he has worked with Johnny Wilkinson for the Willow Foundation Charity.

Returning to Ioannou’s specific brand of art though, and while he undeniably plunders mass media sources and streams that scream Pop Art to all and sundry, his acrylics on canvas compositions are administered by a unique and refreshed palette, which will always lend appeal to aficionados of popular taste and kitsch. One of Ioannou’s most well received collections to date was his Gangster series, which cemented him as a serious contender in the modern Pop Art stakes, and saw him, experiment and exploit a variety of techniques in which to spread his word. Aside from his more conventional acrylics, Ioannou deployed spray paints and metal fabrications to achieve the desired final effect, and even went as far as to load up a shotgun with paint pellets to underline his creative message. There’s one thing that can be said of Ioannou, and that is that he makes no apologies for his controversial pieces as he feels they are part of society as much as a painted beach scene. And who can argue with that?




View All Art Works By George Ioannou