Some four years ago I hosted a Christophe Szpajdel art exhibition in my hometown Drama. The show lead to a beautiful friendship between me and the heavy metal logo master, so when he asked me to write a piece about our collaboration for his new book Archaic Modernism, The Art of Christophe Szpajdel, a follow-up to his acclaimed first art book Lord of the Logos: Designing the Metal Underground, I was more than happy to oblige.
Here's my full testimonial:
Although not necessarily a black metal devotee (my jam is the heavier/slower side of the riffage), I’ve always been a huge admirer of Christophe Szpajdel’s work. His impeccable designs with that truly bizarre, organic-like quality, amazed me to the core. In my eyes, his logos were living and breathing entities, filled with malice and otherworldly allure. So naturally, I wanted to come up with a reason to somehow get involved in all that. In early 2017 I was curating a psychedelic/heavy rock festival in Greece and at some point I thought to myself, how cool would it be to have a Szpajdel logo with its name on it? To be perfectly honest, I was kind of intimidated to bother the Lord of the Logos himself with such a petty request, I did however overcome my fear and shot that damn email. To my sheer amazement, he dropped the logo only but a few hours later. What’s more, instead of compensation, he wanted me to share my possible knowledge on Pontian music, a huge personal interest of his as he informed me, which so happened to be part of my ancestral heritage as well. Our email conversations developed into an ambitious idea: hosting a fully-blown Christophe Szpajdel exhibition, which at his own request was not to be held at a big Greek urban center like Athens or Thessaloniki, but in my particularly small Northern Greek nobody-town, Drama. Thus, “A Journey Into The Lost Homelands” was born. If anything, this exhibition was a one of a kind opportunity for audiences to discover a different aspect of Christophe’s art that was largely unknown to the public until then. Calligraphies of phrases and proverbs, song titles and lyrics, and a series of sketches of modern and ancient Greek folk instruments comprised a deeply personal show, a result of Christophe’s unexpected affinity for the music and culture of the Greek and Georgian peoples of Pontus, Caucasus and the wider Black Sea territory. And although not necessarily black metal devotees (not at all, I might say), the audience was totally stunned. Christophe stayed in my hometown for two weeks. We spent hours listening to music, discussing folklore, eating delicious Pontian food and traveling the surrounding mountainous terrains. The wet weather and constantly gloomy skies orchestrated the perfect setting for his visit. As it turned out, the Lord of the Logos was not intimidating at all. He was a treasure of knowledge, with keen interest in everything from art and culture, to social dancing, natural history, entomology and mycology (for God’s sakes). An extremely talented creator who refused to put his inks and pencils down for the duration of his stay. A rare and kind human being, with the enthusiasm, the naivety and the heart of a child. It was an honour to meet him. — Theo Prasidis
You can grab a copy of the book here.