Interview

Frana communicates the meaning of  her painting on the front cover of The Agony of Survival.

Is Frana your pseudonym?

Frana is my real name. My grandmother, who was born on a Friday, made it up. That’s why she considered Friday a lucky day–for her and for humanity, she would say jestingly. My grandmother’s name was Anna. She joined the two names and she named me Frana.

How did you meet Dr. Vrettos?

I met Dr. Vrettos at a major university conference about literature and art. I heard him speak about the influence of art and literature in the present universal environment. He was amazing. I think he was speaking about humans beyond history, about universal humans; and about the beauty of art as exemplary beauty. Basically, it is what I try to detect in works of art that I research fastidiously either at exhibitions or at readings and various artistic events that I attend. It is also what I try to materialize personally.

Where were you born and where do you live?

I learned where I was born when I painted my first work on a big piece of cardboard with paints that my grandmother gave me as a gift. Yes, my country is the country of colors. The spectrum of colors that surround us–nature–and it’s the unknown world of the artist who wants to make it hers in her particular, personal manner. Something like the first “Let there be LIGHT” in Genesis. So every country has colors and every country in my country.

What is your education?

I have studied literature, history and sociology of art. In a graduate level, I have studied ethnography.

What type of paintings do you paint?

I am captivated by abstraction. Lyric abstraction… For me, it is the field that lets the artist play hide-and-seek with the nature of objects, and that tests nature to discover its invisible and shapeless self. In abstraction, even the games of fantasy and doubt are fascinating. Only that I always seek the lyricism of abstraction. The lucidity, the light and the optimism. I believe that art, like literature, is identical with optimism. I know or I can imagine optimistic or pessimistic artists and authors. But works of art and literature, I dare to say the great works, can’t but beget in their historicity, the persistence and struggle of humans to win life. This is the ultimate proof of optimism.

How does the cover art represent the themes of the book? How does it convey the meaning of human survival and the author’s message? Why did you choose purple and ecru for colors?

Right to the point, my collaboration with Dr. Vrettos. I believe that The Agony of Survival by Spyros Vrettos fits exactly to the works I mentioned. It is about a modern epic narration, where the present humans, that is all of us, struggle to survive. In this struggle, the most marginal existential experience is the agony. Dr. Vrettos’s humanism passes through the experiences of history and thought. Besides, this is how humans are and how they perceive themselves. The book’s philosophy passes through the intensity and the agony of reality. And the “resistance” of human intelligence. It is a reflector of the human conscience and a limpid reflector of modern history. The dominant meaning and message of the book is survival, the right to survive.

[About] the color purple: many think that purple is mournful color. Perhaps, they connect it with religious or other mournful ceremonies. But purple is the color of rights and youth. It is the color of superior intellectual development, of envisaging , of intelligence. Purple symbolizes the price of knowledge. It also expresses ethics and spirituality. It is the color of the seeker of truth. All the above are dominant in the story and the conflicts of the book, and they are recognized synthetically with the iridescence of this color. The passage to the light color ecru is the purgation of the narrative story. The serenity of this color, which is earthly, friendly and ennobled shade, hosts the road of “purgation” which the author opens for the protagonists–for humans–and which passes through the magic of art.

Have you illustrated other books in the past?

No. Generally, I avoided it, perhaps because some proposals  did not visually motivated me or inspired me. However, for Dr. Vrettos’s trilogy, for the other two books in the trilogy, which are the Incredible Machine and The Life and Death of the Peacemaker, I have already painted the front covers. Besides, Dr. Vrettos had talked to me about these and I grasped visually the themes in unity.

What are you working on now?

I teach literature and art history. And I paint. I paint…

What are your hobbies?

Reading. By reading, something strange happens. [Reading] is also my professional occupation as well as escape from the coercions of my life. It is both my engaged and free time. By reading, I learned to stand self-critically against the ideal. And seeking it with colors… I travel. I also do bicycling. I rode my bicycle to the longest travels (the imaginary travels.) I swim and I surf  “innocently” the internet…

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