Stavrina Karanassiou, how do illustrations pave the way for feminist thought?

Interview by Sofia Konstantopoulou

There is no better way to launch a project than with a passionate and honest perspective and with a person who uses street art with a feminist point of view. #Genderviews, the new Genderhood column with opinions on the free expression of genders, begins by interviewing Stavrina Karanassiou, better known as @ Slash.artwork. She shares with us a little of her daily life and the relationship between iconography and feminism.

How was Slash.artwork created and what is the idea behind it?

Drawing has always been my hobby and a way of expressing myself. However, my illustrations usually remained in my drawers. For the last two years I felt like I would like to start sharing some of them with more people and so, somewhat hesitantly, I set up my first social media account (Instagram) where I started uploading related material. There was no specific plan from the beginning, but little by little, through the creation but also the interaction with people who liked my designs, it all started to take a much more specific form. As I started to find my personal style, the themes that express me the most and finally to make slash.artwork as it is today. The easiest of all for me was to choose a name since I immediately chose to give it our dog’s name (Slash).

What is your main source of  inspiration for your illustrations? Are they hiding something from your personal story?

I’ve always loved using colors, flowers, and females in my drawings but especially in the last year I have started to combine them in a way that helps me to express my thoughts or feelings about issues that concern me. Thus a big part of my themes has to do with feminism, equality, body positivity/selflove and nature. I consider these to be pieces that are personal stories/thoughts/values ​​not only of me but of us all. In fact, even if we do not always realize it, they are parts of our lives and it is worthwhile to deal with them as much as we can.

Today we are talking about a digital form of activism. Do you think that an Instagram page can inspire and empower?

It makes sense to be wary of social media platforms as they are often a means of reproducing toxic content. However, they are still tools in our hands and in fact tools that enable different people from all over the world to communicate and share things. I believe, then, that with proper use they can inspire and bring new possibilities to activism and I feel that lately we are seeing more and more such examples (eg movements like #metoo, #blacklivesmatter etc).

“I do not believe that there is even one woman who has not experienced some form of violence in her life”.

What messages do you want to send out?

Generally speaking, It is a challenge to get a message through an illustration and there are many times that I am not sure if what I am thinking at the time I am making it will actually be understood by the person who sees it. But definitely many of my illustrations have been created on the basis of my thoughts in favor of equality, feminism, diversity, human rights and love for ourselves, others and nature and I will be very happy if they finally manage to pass some of those messages.

How did you experience the outbreak of the Greek #metoo?

I don’t think that there is even one woman who has not experienced some form of violence in her life, so it is very important that our voices are now heard. It is an important start but there are still many steps to be taken and I hope we are now starting to move in a better direction.

The developments of the events are reflected in your creations. How does this work for you?

I am happy to realize that image has power, and through an illustration you can find your own feeling or thought, so somehow, by sharing my illustrations with other people, I feel that sometimes we share our thoughts or opinions. This for me is another, beautiful side of illustration.

“Many of my designs have been created based on my thoughts in favor of equality, feminism, diversity, human rights and love for ourselves.”

Those of us who follow you on Instagram, believe that you spend your day drawing. What is a typical day like for you?

The truth is that I do not spend all my days like this, although I would like to. I have studied computer engineering and I work every day until the afternoon in a company, so as a matter of fact there is not always time or energy to deal with drawing. But because it’s something I love so much, I always try to find time in my week to draw. Other than that, I really enjoy spending time with my loved ones, books, movies and as much contact with nature as possible.

What would you say to a young person who draws to encourage them to publish their prints?

If they feel that they want to share their designs with more people, then just try it and never fall into the trap of dealing with likes, followers, etc. Creating is a wonderful process in itself and we do not need to get into the process of “measuring” its success. All we need to do is create and share.