Yannis Schinas

Born in Athens in 1943. He worked as a lawyer, an attorney and an academic. During his time in secondary school, he took Drawing and Painting lessons from N. Kartsonakis. For a year after graduating, he systematically studied painting with live models at P. Tetsis’s workshop, at the Vakalo College of Fine Arts. He has since primarily created works of painting, but his creative expression also takes the form of drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography and architecture.


Solo Exhibitions


Body, Enigma Art Zone42 Athens


Playing with the dolls Art Zone42 Athens


A matter of light Astra Gallery Athens


There are many who believe that childhood friendships and early experiences not only are never forgotten, but create a lasting familiarity that effortlessly reconnects people and situations. And so it was that I kept up with Yannis Schinas, two years above me in the Athens College in the 1950s. That school, among other things, had the ability but also, I believe, the mission, to bring out special individuals and Yannis was, without a doubt, one of them. Multitalented and multifaceted on all levels, inquisitive and erudite, he excelled in all activities, in and out of the classroom. Extremely mature, he read Kazantzakis while the others were reading the “Mask” [Greek magazine], according to a classmate. Having studied under Tetsis for a year, he decided to follow a more conventional career that was a perfect fit to the Greek post-war psychology. An excellent academic teacher and arguably the most sensitive Dean to ever serve in a Greek University, but he was never able to rid himself of the great passion and the absolute need for creative expression, primarily through painting.

Thus it happened that fifty years after our time in school, our roads crossed again, in a way that was random but fateful. The reason was Yannis’s strong desire to show his work for the first time. It soon became apparent that this would be quite a complicated undertaking, due to the sheer number and variety of the works. There followed numerous discussions and various plans were laid. Finally, the welcoming but limited space of Astra Gallery dictated the selection of works from only two groups: the nudes and the pastels of outdoor scenes. The first is a timeless and solid series that has kept the artist company for a while now; sometimes otherworldly and sometimes rendered in intense colours that refer to an undisguised everyday reality. Schinas’s pastels, the recent products of summer holidays, capture with spontaneous mastery a series of commonplace ‘small’ landscapes, dominated a sensitive range of colours that is unable to cast doubt upon his skill in drawing. Small in size but incredibly concise in the virtues of painting, they seem to carry on with Schinas’s neverending quest beyond the conditions of everyday life.


Dimitris Portolos
* From the catalogue of the exhibition “Yannis Schinas: A Matter of Light”, Galerie Astra, Athens, 2012.