May 2018 | Sofia Simeonidou
When your work speaks for itself. When your work is all about doing what you love. When your work is what you always wanted to do.
Meet Filothei who always knew who she wanted to become.
What's your company's name?
Filothei Multimedia Art. And FIlothei’s Art is the trade name and the name I use with Social Media.
What is it about?
I paint. I’m a painter. I also work with liquid glass, which I use for my paintings as well, and I make small art objects. I don't like to limit myself to one technique though. I’ve always been very experimental and curious. I work a lot with mixed media, painting, drawing, gift objects. I also run a parallel photography project, Streetnumbers, which I feel very passionate about. And I’d like to say so much more about the essence of what I do but it’s what you can’t explain with words sometimes. I think explaining the diversity of our work is a challenge for most artists. There's so much there if I had to describe all of my products and different techniques.
How long do you have your company now?
I’ve been selling art for 5 years on and off but it’s been a year that Filothei's Art is my main source of income. It's the first year that my company is my only business.
Who are your clients?
Everyone is a potential client. People who appreciate art, people looking to buy something nice for their home or office. I’ve sold many paintings all over the world from Chile to Hong Kong and I’ve also sold to my direct network, especially at the beginning. I'm very attached to my work and my work is for everyone to enjoy.
And your favourite clients?
The clients who leave it up to me with a bit of direction. It’s nice when they know what they want. I also like educated clients, clients who know what it takes to finish a painting, and clients who like to experiment. But in all honesty all clients are my favourite clients, everyone buys a piece of my work so everyone buys a piece of me. I know it sounds a bit cheesy but it's true. Whoever buys my art is a favourite client.
Do you have a marketing strategy? How does it work when you’re an artist?
I wish I could say yes but I really don't. I love to paint but I dislike being busy with promoting my work. I’m busy with ideas and selling to new markets, but being out there it’s not my strong point. My marketing is word of mouth and my Social Media display. And it works wonders so far but my business is growing fast and it's important I have a marketing strategy in place. I need to work on this.
If it doesn't deliver to the maximum, at least it’ll make me happy.
What were you doing before that? Have you always been a painter?
I was always a painter at heart. I was around 5 when I confessed my intention to become a painter to my parents. They weren't convinced and I felt a bit disappointed. And so I studied graphic design. I’m a graphic designer by study and a painter by heart. For many years I worked in advertising companies as an Art Director. And of course throughout the years I did many different jobs, I was a translator, an assistant manager, a customer service employee, you name it. Last February I decided that this is my passion and I have to follow through. If it doesn't deliver to its maximum, at least it’ll make me happy.
What was that one thing that made you take that step?
The enthusiasm of the people around me. And I realised that the more time I spent painting the happier I was. It was time to make it happen. The success of my work kind of led me to it, led me to take the decision.
What do you like most about being self-employed?
Putting all my energy on my own projects. This is a great win.
You can lose your focus and you have to be strong at all times. I can think of more but focus and resilience are my main challenges.
What would you be if you weren't a painter?
Something creative. Even when I had a regular 9 to 5 job I was always busy with something creative. Did you know I used to have my own catering company? Cooking is also very creative. Ever since I can remember myself, no matter the job I had, I was always busy with something creative on the side.
What’s that special characteristic you have?
I'm disciplined. And resilient. I can take no for an answer. I keep trying, I don’t get disappointed.
Favourite Social Media channel?
That's easy, Instagram. I was one of the first Instagram users. It’s a targeted channel, there’s plenty of inspiration, and you can find your market. I met some amazing people through Instagram and I visited so many countries. I’ve been to Hong Kong, New York, places in Europe. It opened many doors for my work. I’m not a big Social Media fan, for all the reasons we most of us know, but Instagram made it happen for me.
Do you now make a living doing what you love?
Yes, now I do. I don't have a steady income, some months I sell more than others, but yes this is my main income now. It's my job.
Any plans for the future?
I want to continue enjoying my work and keep growing. I want to become more visible and be out there more, promote my work, build my marketing strategy. I have plans for a small exhibition, and I just registered to sell for the very first time at the Amsterdam West Sunday Market (August 5). Another thing I'm excited about is that I'll be giving a workshop at a September festival in Spain called Regeneration Festival. The workshop is about painting with nature, using only natural ingredients like fruit, veggies, flowers, and everything that can be found in nature. Embracing and promoting the inner artist that all of us have inside.
Do you sell your art online?
I have an e-shop (my gallery is being updated at the moment) but potential clients can also visit my studio. A photo is never doing justice to a painting. Each time someone buys or sees a painting online and then comes over to my studio to check it out, it’s always a surprise for the better.