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Culture

Greek-American Artist Michael Papadakis “Paints” with the Sun

April 20, 2018
Yannis Sofianos

NEW YORK – “I wanted to become a traveler and an artist, but I didn’t want to carry all the weight of my equipment in my backpack,” said Michael Papadakis, a Greek-American artist who uses the sun’s rays to “paint” remarkable works of art.

Related videos on social media have attracted millions of views. The technique is called “heliography.”

As Papadakis said in an interview with The National Herald, the roots of using the sun’s rays are centuries old. Archimedes, he noted, used them to create weapons. “We are now using this idea to create something peaceful and beautiful,” he said.

Mr. Papadakis is the founder of Sunscribes and as he describes it on his website at www.sunscribessolarprinting.com in 2012, he set out on a trip to Central Asia, from South Korea and eventually to Greece, where he discovered a hidden talent that he did not know: Patience.

Papadakis, told TNH, when asked about permission to republish his photos and videos, that he would be honored. He also said he is a nisioti (an islander), as his father is from Crete and his mother from Chios.

He was born in California and visited Greece in 2013, where he hopes to return this year. The Greek sun is also well-known for inspiring artists and may perhaps inspire Papadakis’ new creations with a “scent” of Greece.

As for the aforementioned patience, as he mentions on his website, this is his most important task, which was suppressed by a life under pressure. He came back when he left his safe zone and regained the bond with the sun, but also the ability to be patient.

Papadakis said on his website, “So, with a magnifying glass in one hand and a piece of wood in the other, I let the Sun be my guide as I travelled for 14 months across the high plateaus of the Pamir Mountain Range, making Sunlight Art for the local people. It was along this ancient trade route formally dubbed the ‘Silk Road’ where I experienced some of the sunniest moments of my life. And so it began…”

He continues, “After my return to the States in 2013, I moved to Colorado and began experimenting with different forms of Sunlight. To my amazement, I discovered that refracted sunlight (sunlight passing through a lens) and reflected sunlight (sunlight reflecting off a mirror) had very different characteristics of one another.

“It was as if they were polar opposites, like water vs. ice, or positive vs. negative.  These two forms of sunlight contradicted each other in every way, yet when in synergy, complimented each other beautifully.

“All this experimentation led me to believe that even sunlight can have multiple personalities, even if it comes from the same source. Nonetheless, I took this newly discovered knowledge and began to teach it to anyone who was willing to learn. I called it, ‘Heliography.’”

“In 2016,” Papdakis said, “I began sharing this Art form with the world and performing at live events and working with Big Brands to help them develop their voice with this unusual yet uniquely effective form of Branding. I’ve had the pleasure of working with R. J. Reynolds, GoPro, The Balvenie, Ruptly, Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, TedX Mile High and Campout for the Cause to name a few.”

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