It is pouring from the sky when we get to the only place which despite the sucky weather keeps on brightening up its nearby surroundings. A house painted with a wide range of colors that were pulled through the walls, peculiar sculptures of mythical creatures and characters from all around the world, mosaics put in a messy yet somehow planned in the walkway way… even dozens of various kind of shoes – – yellow, blue, red, purple, blue again – carefully put next to the entrance, greeting artist’s guests with flowers that were planted inside.
A posture of a man standing by the doors, impatiently stepping from side to side – it is hunger that had kicked in after a long day spent at the workshop. But it isn’t the lack of food that makes the stare in his eyes so different. A glance so deep that you can almost feel that there’s some bigger story being hidden behind it.
There are many that come from artistic families yet there are very few who are being told by their teachers that they would rather learn from their pupil than teach him. Marios is one of those talents.
Growing up around parents who were painters and their friends who had dabbled in many fields of arts created a perfect habitat for a young and curious mind to soak all the knowledge that was just there – within the reach of his hand.
It was just another day for the young, aspiring artist to happen. Being surrounded by other creatives, sparring ideas and dreams with his friends, learning yet another thing that would help him to become better at what he loves the most – painting. Marios really did not expect what was about to happen. It was one of his teachers who unexpectedly called him out to meet in his office “I have some news for you. Good and bad.”
Being so multitalented and encouraged by others at such a young age made Marios send two entries for a contest run Brookline High – one for a drawing and another one for a sculpting category.
For both of these he put his heart out, he wanted to deliver the best work he could’ve done. Unfortunately, sculpting in stone which was his initial idea couldn’t meet the financial reality of the Greek family. The only option that was left there was to use gypsum.
So he did.
He sculpted his hands so well and accurately that the contest’s jury thought that it was a cast, a fraud. Luckily enough it wasn’t what he put too much thought into after he heard the latter part of news coming from his teacher.
Getting back home was probably one the fastest he had ever experienced.
He needed to share what he just learned with his parents. That day it was their son who turned the Orozco’s looks into a canvas, pride was painted on their faces.
“I’m going to Boston. They granted me with the scholarship for my contest entry in the drawing category!“
“I really didn’t want to stay in the US.” says Marios firmly to us after hearing our question about his past overseas. All the noise coming from streets filled up with people, the smell of hundreds of cars passing him by on a daily basis, and most of the society being trapped in the capitalistic American world – borrowing the needed for their survival money which then they had to pay back with a huge interest on top.
Oh, and racism.
Getting there from fascist – back then – Greece, where he grew up in, was like jumping from one trap to another. Marios felt hopeless in finding a place which he could really call “home”.
Finally, one day when the young artist was walking around the streets of Boston he got an idea. For once more he had decided to move to another country – Denmark – where his mother has originated from – hoping to still continue studying art and to at last find a peaceful life, far away from being bothered by rotten politics and society.
Once again he was met with a surprise.
This time not too positive.
Getting to the country of wind, rain, design and beer felt like a good turning point for the young artist to take place. Without much thought given he went right away to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.
The application form that he had held tightly almost got wet – not from rain but the pressure of his hand that was wrapping it all around; he was truly excited to start the new chapter of his life in Copenhagen.
It took a few days for him to get the letter delivered by the mailman. The letter that held a respond to his application. He tore the envelope quickly and opened a folded piece of paper – the air around him soaked in silence as he started to decode the first sentences written on the sheet that he held in front of his eyes…eyes full of disbelief.
With all the talent and previous recognition among other artists...
It starts to get colder and darker around. The raindrops keep on hitting our cheeks as we continue talking with Marios outside of his workshop.
“I got sort of mad at the system, you know.”
Frown engraves on his forehead.
The school authorities have asked him to attend another faculty for three years before he could join the programme that he applied for. His form was passed to a local advertising school. “They wanted me to paint an advertisement for a train – for the railroads – stuff like that, you know. I was just like… It wasn’t for me. I felt I’ve been raised as an artist since the age of 2 – and you know, this shit… – I didn’t want to be doing advertising.”
Discouraged by the previous events he directed his steps towards Christiania - a Freetown located in the middle of Copenhagen, famous for its own set of rules, so different from other places around the world that it makes many people dazzle. „There’s a difference between us and the rest of the world or society in Denmark – we have some rules that would only work for a small society, we’re like a tribe in a way. It works almost as it does for Indian ones – if somebody is doing something bad – we don’t want to share our lives with them.”
For Marios, it wasn’t that difficult to get around such area as it resonated with his personal values and beliefs. The first 7 years he lived there, he lived in different places – little, small rooms. A wagon, another wagon. “I had three different wagons along the way, you know. When friends of mine were in prison or on vacation – I would borrow their house and stay there.”
One day a friend of his had decided to move out and let Marios take over the place that he had lived in.
“I was lucky.”
In the beginning, crestfallen by the rigidness of the system artist started to make a living from selling hash to people visiting the Freetown and from playing music in different bands. After some time he even got discovered by Virgin Records and once he signed the contract he could afford setting up his own record studio which he then run for a few years. And as long as his guitar kept on getting more and more worn as much dust kept on gathering on his brushes and paint –
for “merely” 30 consecutive years.
Hearing that makes our jaws drop.
How could one abandon a thing they love doing so much for such a long time?
“I was disappointed in the art scene very much."
It is Christiania and its society that saved him.
Christiania that gives him both – a home and a family.
A home free of fascism, capitalism, racism and a family full of many different and open-minded people.
He had finally found the place that felt nothing close to a struggle to live in.
He had found his home.
Retaking a peace of mind in the neighborhood of the Freetown helped him to make it through the long break that he had taken from the visual self–expression.
Dreams and vivid visions that kept on visiting his thoughts at night helped him to find the courage and passion to once again pick up a brush and paint his soul out onto a canvas.
He wants to use painting to affect the society with.
After going through so much in his life – fascism, capitalism, racism, faulty bureaucracy – he wants to give people some hope, some courage to fight struggles of the daily life. Exactly what he needed after years of being rejected and unnoticed in the art world. “I don’t think one should lose hope. Well, I lost a little hope, but I should’ve just continued – I wish I had in a way. But maybe, maybe I didn’t really know what exactly I wanted to be doing. Maybe it’s good that I stopped.” Asked for advice for young creatives trying to find their focus in life, Marios says:
“Work, work, work hard on what you believe in. That’s what always brought me success – hard work. Get up in the morning, do your shit. Don’t be lazy. Don’t waste your time. If you’re doing what you like – success will find you.”
Raindrops keep on falling from the sky but for us it somehow feels like it stopped.
It’s Marios who gave us the courage to follow dreams that shyly keep on growing within our minds.
Marios who managed to paint our future perspectives with colors – just as he does to the surrounding him world.