Greek visual artist Tonia Ainot (aka τώ.ρά.) talks about the "Jazz it up a little", Charlo, and freedom on the rhythm

"Cannot imagine something like to hope or to fear about music. She does well!"

Tonia Ainot (aka τώ.ρά.): Jazz In Art

The Greek visual artist Tonia Ainot (aka τώ.ρά.), exhibits a series of portraits of Jazz musicians, entitled "Jazz it up a little"; from April 7 up to May 7, at BABEL art showroom. This collection consists of pictures of musical legends of the international Jazz scene such as Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Jan Garbarek, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald and others. Ainot’s creativity derived from the motivation to experience the rhythm of jazz in visual terms. Her work is based on emotional vibration originated by the music of Jazz legends. The technique is black gouache on natural size canvas.

The monochrome style gives to the paintings an opportunity shape up a sonic dimension. This series of portraits was first presented at the gallery of Emmy Van Lokhorststraat in Utrecht, Netherlands. In BABEL art showroom also takes place the "Jazz in Art" Festival, which hosts daily shows, musical Jazz groups of the greek and the international scene!

Interview by Michael Limnios     Artworks by Tonia Ainot

Special thanks: Yannis Livadas and Chara Giampourani

What do you learn about yourself from the Jazz music and culture?

“There is no art without intention”… Duke Ellington.

While I was trying to paint his portrait I begun to write down this quote on his portrait…and this quote took the below form:                                           

         “There is no art without intention”

There is only art.

There is only intention.

  Art is the intention 

There is no intention without art

There is no intention.

It is only art.

Art is the intention.

“There is no art without intention”

There is only art.

“There is no art without intention”

Art is the intention

There is no art without

Intention. There is art.

Through this I discovered that if something does not make me feel I get bored very quickly. For example if I just copy something, I cannot express my madness. Chet Baker portrait is one of my favorite because it’s me there….it is completely different from the others. To feel more the rhythm, to dance more freely, to express the emotions more on my face.

What is the impact of visual art and Jazz music and culture to the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?

One can escape from reality through the visual art and music on the other hand, you can use all these effects and create a piece of art, and this is a reaction to every situation. Art is the intention in every aspect.

"Always changing mind. I get bored very quickly… I need the change. The only thing that I trust is my passion for painting. Try to accept “good” and “bad” work, behavior, mistakes... not afraid to destroy because of the belief of: “Always from zero”.  This person changes every 4:33''…"

What touched (emotionally) you from Jazz?

I received from Jazz the feel at the time that you listen to something, the time that something happens. No rules how, no hopes about something no expectations, JUST feel freedom to follow the rhythm.

What experiences have triggered your ideas most?

My worries, your fears, his life, her pain, our tears, your reaction, their glimpse, fears, tears… everything which interacts inside me. By observing people in the hospital and in the tube stations in Athens I made a collection. This collection was used both as visual and emotional stimulants for my final paintings, 30 portraits contextualized by means of a satirical or a tragic story. This project Around and Around "others". Other topics, such us: The R (2013-14), in which I made a research in Friedrich Nietzsche’s writings, Kill me later (2014), inspired by the idea of love and passion, The X-Ray (2014), influenced by a personal accident, The freakman (2014), which conceptualizes the fear of death, Hymn of love (2015) inspired from the loss of my godmother etc…

How do you describe Tonia Ainot artwork and philosophy?

Always changing mind. I get bored very quickly… I need the change. The only thing that I trust is my passion for painting. Try to accept “good” and “bad” work, behavior, mistakes... not afraid to destroy because of the belief of: “Always from zero”.  This person changes every 4’:33’’…

What do you miss most nowadays from the Jazz of past?

The spirit of freedom, the improvisation and the cool mood, like “come on, we do not give a fuck for the future or the past, we are here now and we play what we feel to play, it is like it is”.

"One can escape from reality through the Visual Art and music on the other hand, you can use all these effects and create a piece of art, and this is a reaction to every situation. Art is the intention in every aspect."

What are your hopes and fears for the future of music?

Cannot imagine something like to hope or to fear about music. She does well!

If you could change one thing in the musical and visual art world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

If I could, I'd marry the music and the visual arts!

How does music affect your mood and inspiration?

I am totally addicted to music. I can change in one second because of the music.

Where would you really want to with a time machine and what memorabilia (books, records) would you put in?

Books and music that changed me: “Ways of seeing”, John Berger 1972; “Concerning the Spiritual in Art”, Wassily Kandinsky 1912; “L’Œil et l’esprit” Maurice Merlau-Ponty (Paris: Gallimard, 1961); Bob Dylan - Blowin' In The Wind; John Cage –Summer (for me Summer and Chopins Nocturne (Chopin Nocturne No. 20 perf. by Wladyslaw Szpilman/ "The Pianist" - Original Recording) have the same entrance, I cry with both; Duke Ellington – Caravan.

Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences and what are the lines that connect the music and visual art?

My teacher, the artist Sapfo-Vasiliki Zoi opened my heart and put it on canvas. The rhythm, the synthesis, color, spaces, the peacefulness the intensity they are the same…

"The spirit of freedom, the improvisation and the cool mood, like “come on, we do not give a fuck for the future or the past, we are here now and we play what we feel to play, it is like it is”."

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

My teacher Herodotos Kaplatzis tells me always “work hard, work, hard work, hard, work hard, work”.

How you would spend a day with Charles Bukowski.

Would ask him to read for me and I would paint on what he would read.

What would you say to Charlo/Charlie Chaplin? 

“they could not catch you” you did well man, you kept doing the difference …”

What would you like to ask ‘Bird’/Charlie Parker?

Drugs, drinks and music or to live longer?

What is the biggest revolution which can be realized today?

“To be”.

Do you have a dream project you'd most like to accomplish?

I like more to imagine something than to dream, if is not the same…(laughs) ...a current project is the painting of music, one year before I was in a totally surrealistic mood... Cannot be enclosed in a dream...

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