ROMAN LONGGINOU "THE HYPOKRITĒS"
On the 24th of March, in collaboration with Jerico Contemporary, we opened the doors of Casa Belancē to the art world, showcasing the beautiful works of emerging Australian artist, Roman Longginou. Longginou creates large-scale highly detailed artworks using charcoal and paper as his preferred medium. The exhibition showcased Longginou’s latest body of work titled “The Hypokritēs”. Taking inspiration from Longginou’s own Greek heritage, the title comes from the greek word hypokrites which means ‘an actor’ or ‘stage player’. However, the body of work greatly reflects the compound of the word. Hypokrites is made up of two Greek words that when translated means “an interpreter from underneath”. The exhibition explores sartorial motifs in relation to masculine tropes and illusionary instances of pretence.
We sat down with Roman to discuss his work, his life and how he tries to find the balance between the two.
BELANCĒ: Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself? Where did you grow up and when did you start drawing?
ROMAN: Hey, yes, my name is Roman Longginou and I grew up in Brisbane, Queensland. My heritage is Greek/Cypriot and Italian… thus my last name. I would like to say that I’ve been drawing professionally since 2015. For me, that was the year when I really started to take what I do seriously. I studied art at QUT (Queensland University of Technology) and graduated with Honours at the end of 2016. Since then, I’ve set out to pursue a career in visual arts.
BELANCĒ: Where do you find inspiration for your art? What made you choose charcoal/pencil as your preferred medium?
ROMAN: The question of inspiration is always hard to answer because even though I have moments where I feel rigorously motivated to pursue a certain concept, that’s always underpinned by a constant engagement with so many different ideas, books and pictures (research). Though, with that being said, I’ve been more and more attracted to the idea of an idealised image. Both a surface we look at and an object of reverence. I’ve had this idea for a while now and I’ve been trying to figure out how to best articulate it: the idea that “seeing is an act of faith.” As far as the medium goes, I just fell in love with the richness and depth of charcoal black. There’s so much nuance in grey tonal work and I personally find it so fulfilling to look at black and white imagery. Although, I am looking to bring a subtle palette of colours into the next few works.
BELANCĒ: How do you find balance in your own life?
ROMAN: Ahhhh, I think I’m still learning how to? Although exercise and gym have always been an enormous mental relief for me, I suppose that’s one way to find balance? I also try to finish my day by reading something before I go to bed, I think that’s really important.
BELANCĒ: What are your plans for the future and where do you plan to take your art in the next 5 years?
ROMAN: I suppose coming out of the last couple of years, it’s looking like it may be a lot easier to actually plan that far ahead again. For me, I’d really like to loosen up my style slightly… not too much, but enough to allow space for serendipity. I have a specific body of work I’ve been planning/working on for the last few months that I’m still trying to figure out and understand. So that’s something I’d like to see resolved. But honestly, I’d really just like to grow deeper in love with what it is that I do… I’ve started to realise that love is the best motivation to learn and grow.
BELANCĒ: You recently got engaged, congratulations! Can you tell us the story of your engagement?
ROMAN: Thank you! Yes, I got engaged! Ah, it’s probably not super exciting to recount, but to make a long story short, we went for breakfast at our favourite deli and then on a long drive out of town to a secluded spot where I dropped knee and popped the question. After that, I’d organised a surprise late lunch with Mackenzie’s (Fiancé’s) and my families so we could all celebrate together. Both of us couldn’t stop smiling all day… and obviously she said yes!
BELANCĒ: Do you have any plans for what you might wear on your big day?
ROMAN: Oh of course I do! The dress code is black tie and I’m having a double-breasted smoking jacket made in black velvet… Six buttons, buttoning on the first… 14cm peak lapel.
Needless to say, I’m very excited and I can’t wait to get married.