Beetroot is an award-winning design group based in Thessaloniki, Greece. All team members are design enthusiasts with expertise and skills in the creative field. Beetroot is seeking new ways of expressing creativity and providing design solutions since September 2000.
Their last work “Greek Monsters” exhibition was created to celebrate Beetroot’s “consistently brilliant level” in design that won its prestigious distinction: the red-dot Communication Design Award as the Agency of the Year 2011.
Inspired by the vivid ancient Greek mythology
The “Greek Monsters” exhibition is consisted of installations, sculptures, idols, stencil graffiti (resembling a contemporary freeze) and also “invisible” monsters that can be perceived only with the use of audio –visual technology. All exhibits are inspired by the vivid ancient Greek mythology and are designed in a neo-black-figure style specially developed by Beetroot. Each exhibit is also accompanied by an exhibition tag that instead of facts and information on its make and history, presents an original poem on the philosophy or practice it stands for.
With Greek Monsters, Beetroot aims to respond –not without a sense of humor– to the current ill socio-economic image of modern Greece as this is largely presented in the media around the globe, while presenting key philosophical stands and practices in design. The Greek Monsters are used with their dual meaning both as perpetrators and victims, and ultimately as contemporary symbols against racism, generalization and exclusion.
In a time where Greece is arguably Europe’s new “Monster”, Beetroot accepts this “label” but only to reverse (or even add to) its meaning: Beetroot’s Greek Monsters aim at re-inventing and re-introducing a Greek creative identity that is both timeless and global.
Paris Mexis is a director, production designer and writer working both as a free-lancer creator in the performing arts (including theatre, opera and dance) and as creative director and copyrighter at Beetroot Design Agency.
Since you can easily explore around the web the work of Beetroot Agency, our interview will not focus on that.
So, Mr. Mexis, are you born an artist or can you learn to become one?
You are born to be free and make your own decisions. Having talent means you need less time to achieve something, but achieving it always needs work, talent or not.
Has the art industry changed the last years? If yes, in what ways?
The evolution of art & design in general and communication design in particular, drives or follows three other evolutions: the evolution of the human conditions on the planet, the evolution of human communication and philosophy and the evolution of the tools. In the last decade we experienced major changes in all three aspects so naturally we work in a different world to the world we were born and raised. A major point to consider at the moment is people’s growing frustration for creations that don’t function, that don’t do what their supposed to. There less space for gimmicky and pretentious art and design than before.
Do you suggest young people to follow a career in art? By art i mean everything that includes art ( theater, film industry, painting , sculpturing, etc. )
All members at Beetroot Design Agency, including myself, urge young people to relax and follow their hearts’ desire before choosing a study field or work field. Art and Design as a practice is no better or worse to –say- medicine or agriculture. The former nurture our minds and help us to develop our ethos, while the later foster our well-being. One has to be passionate in order to follow any path. And if he or she is passionate the career will just occur.
What should a young person study before pursuing a career in art & design?
That is simple to answer: As many analogue techniques for making “marks” (i.e. paint illustrate, draft etc.), history of art & design in order to know how to find himself in the larger picture and philosophy (which should be a prerequisite for any study and it is preposterously not) in order to learn to challenge any taboo and prejudice. An artist and a designer must be free of any “system” rather than the one he develops for himself. And even that should be open to change.
You can check beetroot’s work at : www.beetroot.gr/work