Sophia Angelakis poses with one of her pieces of sculpture that will be displayed at the Art Door Gallery for the June 20, 2019 art walk.
by Dave Warner
The Art Door Gallery down at Canal Place has brought another Brooklyn artist up from New York City to show her work here. Sophia Angelakis is a sculptor who spent a few days here checking out the gallery and the town.
Angelakis has been doing art for as long as she can remember and started drawing comics when she was a kid. She went to school for graphic design and took sculpture classes as an elective. “I just fell in love with stone carving and the subtractive process,” said Angelakis.
She grew up and went to school in Washington D.C., had a couple of high school years in Greece and worked in the theater there. “I worked in Greece during college and after a little bit and then I just decided to move to New York and pursue a career in the arts,” she said.
She felt that there were many more opportunities in New York than D.C.
Her initial experience was “intense.” The first three months she was living with a friend, and then she got her own place. After two years in the East Village, she moved to Brooklyn. “I love Brooklyn, but my apartment was like a little tiny box filled with a bed, my artwork and a desk.”
Initially, she was going to the Art Students League in New York City because she didn’t have any real studio space. “So many famous artists have worked there, had studios, or taken classes there. It’s an amazingly affordable space. I couldn’t have asked for a better community when I got there.”
She was carving stone there and did her first marble piece while there. “They have all the tools right there, so I used a pneumatic chisel for the first time. It was amazing.”
Her first juried show was at the Art Students League and her work took second place. “It’s hard to shock people in New York City.”
After that show, she started getting some commissioned work. “My clients were mostly new homeowners who wanted a custom piece. They wanted to buy something but wanted to work with me to get something custom for their home. That became my focus and it was ‘how can I survive off this’,” she said.
She wasn’t showing as much but was just working on the custom work. “That was OK until it wasn’t,” said Angelakis.
Angelakis had worked in the same building as Elias Saifan at one point in New York City, and that connection is what drew her to Little Falls. “Elias had told me prior to his moving here how amazing Little Falls was. He kept telling me he was going to buy a place, then he did.”
Now, “he was this awesome house, he’s painting all the time just making art, then he’s opening up an art gallery and I thought this place sounds like heaven. Literally, heaven,” she said.
She said that she can see, where this can become a city where people and art collectors come to purchase work. “I’ve lived in Bushwick before it became the incredible place that it is, so I’ve seen it happen. Where the artists go, the money goes,” she said.
A lot of people have told her about all of the homes that are available, even the ‘zombie’ houses in Little Falls.
“The artists come in, they make it beautiful, they make it desirable and everybody wants to be part of it. You want that. It’s something to consider when buying here,” she said.
“It’s so beautiful here. I really love it. It’s like a little piece of paradise. I’m going to try and come for the Art Walk, but I’m definitely coming back for the formal opening of the Art Door Gallery on July 6th.”
Angelakis has two pieces that will be here for the Art Walk. “The sculpture that I brought down is titled ‘Pull up, Pull Through’ and it’s made out of plaster and Hydrocal, which is a gypsum cement. I don’t like to delve too deeply into what I feel about it, I want the viewer to take what they feel about it.
Anything that I do that deals with the human figure… “I think it’s important for the viewer to identify with it,” she said. “Even my titles are a bit mysterious. There is meaning, but I think that the mystery is important.”
“I feel like when you’re working with sculpture, which is what I do, it’s all about freeing the essence within. If you think about how long it takes for a stone to be created and when you’re carving it by hand, you’re having a dialog with it, you have to really listen to what it can and can’t do,” she said. “It’s heaven.”
“I’d love to create some of that heaven here in Little Falls.”
Angelakis has a couple of pieces that also deal with hands that she might be able to get here before the opening. There is also a whole background to the painting that she has on display as well.
There are two of her pieces on display right now at the Art Door Gallery, in preparation for the June 20, 2019 Art Walk. If you’d like to see more of her work online, visit sophiaangelakis.com.