Local artist dives into mythology

 Messenger photo by Cindy Kazalia
 The art exhibit "Scratchboard Art of Evangelina Philippidis" is on display now at City Hall in Grove City. The art focuses on a blend of mythology and religion.

Born in Athens, Greece, Evangelia Philippidis’ art is as exotic as her native land. That’s why Ray Kline, art curator for the City of Grove City, describes the current City Hall exhibit, "Scratchboard Art of Evangelia Philippidis" as, "a unique blend of philosophy, mythology, and religion."

The exhibit offers Grove City residents  an opportunity to experience a different kind of art.

Philippidis moved with her parents and sister to Loraine, Ohio when she was 9 years old. Prior to the move, her mother and father immersed her in the culture of their homeland.  

"My parents were both very modern for the time and the culture," stated Philippidis. "I was 4 years old when they took me to plays and the archeological museum. For a long time, I wanted to be an archeologist but it took too much science."   She added, "I’m a left brain person not a right one."

That’s how her own talent, helped by her parents’ genetics, found her at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) in 1976.  

Philippidis said, "I pretty much studied everything – including illustration. I even spent a semester in Switzerland."

She ended up as a photographer with a specialization in industrial advertising. Those abilities landed her a position with a daily newspaper, a professional union which has now lasted more than 21 years.

Through newspaper work, Philippidis discovered the art of scratchboard.  

"Scratchboard was developed for the newspaper industry," she explained.  

Simply put, it starts with a board covered in white clay with a spray of black ink on it.

The artist then does a pencil line drawing and uses a blade to do an intricate pattern of black and white.  

"It has a wood cut look," stated Philippidis "But then I can scan it into the computer and apply the color in Photoshop."

Outside of newspaper work, the artist does custom designs.  

"Most of the stuff that I do is about religion and spirituality. There’s female oriented imagery and I often use Greek mythology for my inspiration," Philippidis shared. "My portraits aren’t mirror images but inspirational renderings of the person’s spirit."

Her work strikes a cord with almost everyone who sees it. That’s why CCAD secured her services to give motivational talks and teach professional practices. Pilippidis has also hosted sold out exhibits from Yellow Springs to Chicago. Locally, her work can be seen at the Greek Festival and through the Dublin Arts Council. The artist, who recently completed taking a creative writing course, just finished her first two children’s books.    

"If you had told me 21 years ago that I’d be doing something I love and that people connect with, I wouldn’t have believed it, " she remarked. "I’m a person of an ancient land and the land that gave me wings to fly."

Visit "Scratchboard Art of Evangelia Philippidis" through May 14 at City Hall. Private tours can be arranged by contacting Kline at 875-2423. To inquire about commissioned pieces, call the artist directly at 354-6557 or e-mail evangeliaphilippids@hotmail.com.

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