Traditional Iconography in a New World
Elias Damianakis, born 1966 in New York, USA, currently resides in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida. He and his wife Angela have been blessed with three wonderful children Theophani, Stavronikitas and Euphemia.
Elias was a skillful artisan before he began his twelve year training as an apprentice for the traditional old world Iconographic techniques. Seeking traditional art training Elias studied at several universities in the United States including: C. W. Post College of Fine Arts 1981-82, Parsons School of Design 1982-3, F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of technology in NY) 1983-84, Queens College 1984-86 but not finding the ancient artistic traditions of Orthodoxy Elias ventured to Europe and collaborated, consulted and trained with many artists and iconographers abroad. Elias spent many months at a time tutoring in Europe with the leading old world master artists in private studios and at various monasteries, splitting his time between Europe and the United States. Amongst the esteemed artists Elias apprenticed with in the United States are;
George Philipakes of Crete in N.Y. for over 13 years (end 1980-1995): Some projects included: Koimoisis Theotokos Hampton, Long Island (Both Phillipakes & Yousis work), Cathedral of Saint Demetrios Astoria, Holy Trinity, Hicksville; Norwalk Connecticut, Hyannisport , New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Mattituck, and dozens of additional projects
Master Constindios Yousis of New York for 6 years: Koimoisis Theotoko Hampton Long Island, Brooklyn New York, Dozen of portable icons and iconstasis icons, Restoration his works exclusively Cathedrals in New York
HierDeacon Theodosius Konstandinou of Astoria 3 years Collaborations: Archdiocese chapel of Saint Cosmas and restorations, Philadephia PA ; Church Panaghia Faneromeni, Greece, painted dome and altar icons...
Elias through the years has made extensive trips for study and pilgrimage to Greece, Turkey, France, Yugoslavia and Italy. His studies in Greece were detailed taking him throughout the 'four corners' of Greece. These travels are not merely vacation but a spiritual odyssey, venerating and meditating on holy individuals, places and events.
In Greece, he has spent considerable time on the Holy Island of Lesbos or Mytilini [particular emphasis at Saint Raphael in Thermi, Saint Andrew of Crete in Eressos, Taxiarchi in Madamados Saint Ignatios in Kalloni and Saint Theodore in Mytilini], Meteora and in the surrounds of Athens but has also studied on Chios [Nea Moni, Megas Taxiarch and Saint Markella], Crete, Tinos, Kalymnos, Zakynthos. Patras, Mystra, Thassaloniki, Evia [particular emphasis at Saint John the Russian, Osios David and Paniaghia diniou], Panormitis, Symi and the list goes on, a significant commitment of time and finances to the study of his art. A photo gallery of his trips to Greece is available being developed.
In Turkey, his travels (over a dozen times) has scrutinize the Byzantine monuments and venerated the holy relics in Constantinople (Istanbul), Nicea, Smyrna, Aivali, Moskonissia, Troy, Clolosea, Halki, Chalcedon and beyond. Three particular pilgrimages are noteworthy in 2000 during the Patriarchal Millenium synod as a delegate, in 2004 the momentous "Return of the holy relics" of Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Gregory the Theolgian and in 2006 for the Historic visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict to the Patriarchate. As a pilgrim, a student of Byzantine art or as an official delegate representing the Orthodox of America Elias has a strong commitment to the Mother church of Orthodoxy and the Holy Patriarchate of Constantinople.
In 1991 Elias established his own iconography studio blending his fine artistic talents with the discipline and humble work of iconography. He adheres to strict Orthodox prototypes. While he examines the traditional prototypes in study and prayer, assimilating this analysis into his iconography, rendering anew with exceptional beauty and warmth. The same may be said for genuine Byzantine masters of old who, while faithful and respectfully reproducing their models, infused their work with the individuality of their enlightened talent. The sensitive quality of Elias�s work resonates with such renewed vitality it enables, enhances and engages its beholder. By means of his brush strokes he gives his iconographic compositions inner beauty and embellishes their appearance with decorative characteristics which are wholly personal and sublime in inspiration.
Elias is a man of talent, integrity and devotion.
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