NEW YORK – Greek cartoonist Dimitris Georgopalis was honored with the Silver Hat in the Knokke-Heist International Cartoon Festival competition in Belgium on June 29. His timely cartoon offers a biting commentary on how our phones and preoccupation with social media hinder the appreciation of the real world and though technology may connect us with people around the world, it often keeps us isolated from those right next to us. The award-winning cartoonist and founding member of the Greek Cartoonists Association spoke with The National Herald about the honor and about his upcoming projects.
Born in 1973 in Kerkyra, Georgopalis told TNH that he studied Business Administration. As a political cartoonist, his work has appeared in the newspapers Apogevmatini and Alithines Eidiseis, while his sketches and cartoons have been published in the magazines Anti, Moto Triti, and Epilogi, as well as online at real.gr. “Since 2008, I have been working for the newspaper Realnews,” Georgopalis said, noting that he has participated in many cartoon exhibitions both in Greece and abroad.
When asked about his favorite subject for cartoons, Georgopalis told TNH, “Social, financial, and political issues are my favorite themes for sketches. And not necessarily referring only to Greece. Besides, how can you be a cartoonist and not be tempted to criticize with your pen the likes of Trump, Kim Jong Oun, Erdogan, Merkel and other world leaders?”
Of the Knokke-Heist competition, Georgopalis said, “The Belgians are known to be lovers of drawings, cartoons, and comics and that is why they give so much importance to festivals and sketch competitions. The Knokke-Heist competition is the oldest and one of the most important in Europe and worldwide.
“This February, I was delighted to hear from the organizers that my social media sketch was selected by the judging panel of the competition and won the second prize, the Silver Hat.
“The sketch displays a full moon in August over the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion and visitors instead of enjoying this unique spectacle are stuck on the screens of their mobiles.
“The significance of this prize is clear when one thinks that 679 cartoonists from 85 countries competed, with a total of 2,325 sketches submitted.
“The awards were given out a few days ago, on June 29 in Belgium. Unfortunately, however, it coincided with the pre-election period in Greece, during which the cartoonists traditionally have a lot of work and so I did not manage to attend the award ceremony.”
When asked what he is working on now, he told TNH, “In addition to working on the political cartoons on a permanent basis, I am currently working on a series of sketches based on the old Greek cinema.
“I present again some of the unmistakable quotes of Thanasis Vengos, Rena Vlachopoulou, Kostas Hatzichristos and others, in a different, more cartoon way, wanting to put more emphasis on the humor that characterizes any of the scenes anyway.
“My goal is to create a series of about 50 sketches and to present them to the public through exhibitions inside and outside of Greece.
“Finally, on my blog, https://georgopalis.com/, you will be able to keep track of my work in all its forms: political cartoon, illustrations, and caricatures, as well as learning news from the cartoon field.”
More information about Dimitris Georgopalis is available online: georgopalis.com.
The Knokke-Heist International Cartoon Festival runs from June 29-September 1 in Belgium, more information is available on the Knokke-Heist Facebook page.