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  Nr. 84 - August 2005
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Three Unique Musketeers

by Silvia Lubitz-Skaramagkas, August 2005
Opening on Thursday, 4th August at 8.30pm at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts in Paroikia is the exhibition of the "Three Musketeers" - Wim Drion, Gyp Mills and Vangelis Skaramagkas.

Wim Drion has followed the development of the Aegean Center for more than twenty years. He is most impressed by the way in which they are situated in the centre of the old town of Paroikia. It is not only the centre of the island, but it is also the centre of cultural events. Wim is happy to have the opportunity to show his work here - it gives easy access to the citizens and guests of Paros.

When Vangelis Skaramagkas feels a little blue he walks through the old town of Paroikia. Sometimes he finds new perspectives there to cheer his soul. Like the day he passed an old neoclassical building which dates from 1850 that John Pack was renovating to its former glory for the premises of the Aegean Center. As he watched, he saw the courtyard, under John's capable hands, turn into a retreat for the artistic mind with its pieces of sculpture, playing fountain and brightly coloured plants. He surmised that the Aegean Center would be a wonderful venue to showcase his jewellery. To exhibit his art within these walls is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the age-old skills of the goldsmith as well as the modern day reality of his craft.

Gyp Mills has already exhibited his work at the Aegean Center - his one man show in July 2003 was a particular success. He feels in part it was owed to the extraordinary ambiance of this beautiful building and the wonderful support of his friends. We, who were lucky enough to have seen Gyp's magnificent sculptures there, were also treated to an artistic extravaganza that included a short concert by Donovan to honour his old friend as well as violinist Olof Dimitris, dancers Simone Cavin and Duncan Rowens and poet Rory Brennan. It was an unforgettable and magical evening.

Wim Drion

Wim Drion was born 1946 in Voorburg Holland. He finished college in 1966 and was awarded a diploma in graphic arts and painting. These studies lasted 5 years and were held at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy of Fine Arts, Amsterdam.

Wim discovered Greece in 1975 and since those days his holiday destination has mostly been Greece. He explored "Hellas" from South to North. Coincidence brought him to Paros. Now he has this island in his veins and loves Parian hospitality and the curiosity of the people.

Wim and his wife Eva bought a house in the old town of Paroikia, renovating it into a Parian home suitable for an artist.

Since 1985 Wim teaches as a professor at the Willem de Kooning Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam and at the Arnheim Academy in the Department of Architecture.

He feels blessed that his profession has given him the opportunity to travel. From autumn to spring he teaches in Holland, but as the months pass he longs for his summer retreat in Paros. Here he teaches painting to the "Northlander". With Wim's guidance, his students feel the joy of painting in the bright Parian light. He encourages his pupils to see the real, to let the superficial fall away. Wim inspires his pupils to find the simplicity in their life. Thus his pupils immortalize Paros in its smallest detail in oil, acrylic and charcoal. The eyes of Wim Drion himself are like that of a hawk. It is a joy to see his interpretation of the Parian fishing caiques tossing in the sea breeze. His colours are bright. It seems to me an honour to possess a painting by Wim, who has been exhibiting his work since 1966 in Holland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, USA, Poland, France and Greece. He has paintings in several museums in Holland. In winter 2003 he participated in the exhibition entitled "Dutch Vision of Greece" organized by the Dutch government and has had work commissioned by them to be displayed in public places in Holland. He has exhibited twice in the Venus Art Gallery, Kolimbithres and last year held a solo exhibition at the Apothiki Art Gallery in Paroikia. He was pleased that even the school children of Paros were given the chance to see and enjoy his paintings.

Vangelis Skaramagkas

Vangelis Skaramagkas, whose father is from Paros, was born in 1947 and grew up in Athens. At the age of eight, he started to learn the family business and the secrets and skills of a goldsmith from his older brothers Michalis and Dimitris. Vangelis worked as an apprentice for eight years in the famous workshops of Athens, then spent seven years refining his talents in Canada.

In 1982 his destiny brought him once again to his father's island and he opened an original jewellery workshop at the Venetian castle. His current premises are on Market Street, where he and his nephew Janis Xenos create beautiful pieces of artistic jewellery.

Since 1998 he is a member of "Hagener Kuenstler-Gilde e.V." in Hagen-Westfalen, the home of his German wife Silvia. Vangelis has participated in group exhibitions with the Kunstler-Gilde and created a cultural bridge between Hagen and Paros. In 1999 he took part in a group exhibition with Arte Ficina in the Westfalische Freilicht Museum, an open-air museum.

Vangelis's pieces are unique, made to his own design and expert workmanship. When not working at his skilled profession, he spends much of his time creating another work of art - his home at Sarakiniko. His dream is to create a cultural and artistic meeting point on the Sarakiniko mountain.

Gyp Mills

Gyp Mills was born in London in 1946 and first came to Paros in 1966. As a young man, he worked in the music business with the world famous folksinger of the Sixties, Donovan. Gyp's time was taken up by managerial and songwriting responsibilities, but he still found time to take personal tuition from the talented and famous English sculptor David Wynne, M.B.E. from 1967 to 1971.

In 1979 Gyp, together with painter Rita Schmieser, bought an old farmhouse on Paros which they lovingly restored. Here under the branches of a hug carob tree he has sculpted some truly memorable pieces in Paros and Naxos marble. He has also cast a few of his pieces in bronze from the original marble, allowing a lucky few to possess such beauty through a limited edition. Gyp has exhibited in many galleries and has sculptures in private collections all over the world - a testimony to his growing talent.

Many thanks to sponsors Leptos Estates for their invaluable support and assistance.
The exhibition will run until 24th August. For further information contact 22840-23474.
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