“Hi, I’m Ethan. You’ve probably never heard of me, but I paint, draw, tattoo, and many other things. And if you like my art, we are probably not so different, you and me.”
Ethan Stamatakis is an emerging artist with a vision about the questions surrounding what art is or what it should be. “I’ve created my sub-style of expressionist oil paintings, which I call dirt fine art,” says Ethan. We’ve discussed with this self-taught artist how he came up with the term itself.
What inspires you the most? Do you refer to other artists or other disciplines in your art?
My work draws inspiration from so many things, but it’s mostly people. It can be a story a person told me, something I saw happens to a person or myself, and sometimes I could look at a random person on the street, and an Idea comes to mind. Recently I’ll be having the most realistic dreams about people, and I’ll make something based on those. However, they could be considered as nightmares because something terrible always happens in them. I’m also inspired stylistically by a mixture of a wide variety of paintings, songs, and movies.
Do you think that titles are essential for artworks? Do your titles have different sub-meanings?
Titles can shine a new light on an artwork. If I were to paint someone crying, maybe you wouldn’t want to always look at that painting because crying can be contagious. By adding a title, that painting will evoke a whole new additional set of emotions. But sometimes, they’re just there to explain/reiterate certain things.
Dirt fine art combines words, symbolism, aesthetics, and dark humor inspired by the 90’s grunge subculture while using techniques that the expressionist and Dutch masters have been using for hundreds of years to unite the two opposites’ perfect harmony.
What is dirt fine art? Did you come up with the term?
Dirt fine art consists of nihilistic views, unkept appearance, aggressive yet lazy execution made into fine art (usually defined as a beautiful object.) I’ve never heard anyone combine the two, so I’ll say yes, I created it.
Which paintings do you have in your house?
I have the painting “Pets eat the dead” in my room because it’s a painting of my dog and I don’t want to sell it because it’s sentimental. I’d love to acquire art from other artists soon, so if anyone who’s an artist wants to make a trade, you should contact me.
Which tools do you use?
I’m obsessed with learning to use new mediums to make my art. I’d say I use oil paint on canvas the most, but I don’t want to be put in a box of just painting, drawing, tattooing, etc.
“If I were to paint someone crying, maybe you wouldn’t want to always look at that painting because crying can be contagious. By adding a title, that painting will evoke a whole new additional set of emotions. But sometimes, they’re just there to explain/reiterate certain things.”
What was the first exhibition you visited?
The first one I can remember was my dad took me to a Basquiat exhibition of his notebooks. Maybe that inspired me to use a lot of text in my work.
Do you have any turning points in your life regarding your art?
As terrible of a thing, Covid-19 is when it hit. I lived alone with my dog and didn’t see anyone for months, which gave me a lot of time to reevaluate my art. I think that’s when dirt fine art was born.
Which city do you live in? Do you get inspiration from your city?
I live in New York City, and I get tons of inspiration from this city. Like I said before, I’m inspired heavily by people, so one could imagine the infinite amount of characters and material to work from in New York.
How do you earn life? Are there other things you do besides your art to survive?
Until recently, I worked random jobs like being a dog walker, a barista, and a retail sales associate. Now I work on my art, but those jobs aren’t easy, I must say.