The Art Plug Editorial: Alex Chien
Meet the Artist: Alex Chien
by John Oldani
Alex Andrianopoulos, aka Alex Chien, is a graffiti artist rooted in surrealism – deeply influenced by Salvador Dali and nostalgic cartoons. Chien’s imagination conjures up spellbinding characters seen only in the wildest of dreams or trippiest of hallucinations.
His work will instantly draw you in; whether it’s on canvas or tagged on concrete around the world.
“I remember waking up early in the morning to watch Disney cartoons on the television,” Chien said. “This inspired me to create my own cartoons.”
Chien has evolved over the years; he started doing graffiti at the age of twelve. His work was originally comprised of letters on walls and trains, but eventually transformed into the wild characters we see in his artwork today.
“The style that I had when I was tagging illegally was the base of what I paint and illustrate now.” he said,
His style is influenced by the cartoons he watched as a kid, but much of his fundamental inspiration came from the legend, Salvador Dali.
“Salvador Dali was an inspiration for me; he was the main reason I put surrealism in my artwork,” he said “I first saw his art when I accidentally found a book about his work. Immediately, he became my favorite artist and my biggest source of inspiration.”
Chien graduated from Middlesex University with a bachelors in 3D animation and multimedia production, but his love for illustration pushed him to other paths. He earned a Masters in Illustration at Arts University Bournemouth in the UK, and his career took off from there.
“During my Master’s I took part in my first exhibition in Athens. It made me realize that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” he said. “Through this exhibition I realized that other people related with my artwork.”
Chien participated in many exhibitions in Greece and the UK, building a foundation and a name for himself in the art world, but he knew he could take it even further.
“My Greek surname (Andrianopoulos) is very difficult to pronounce and write by non-Greeks,” he said. “I decided that If I wanted to spread my name outside my country, I had to find a surname. Alex is my name and Chien is my tag when I am doing graffiti.”
Alex Chien eventually linked up with Marcel Katz and he was added to The Art Plug team. Marcel instantly noticed Chien’s bold style and love for the craft.
“I looked at his artwork and noticed it was very space orientated, with a cartoonish, nostalgic feel to it,” Marcel said. “Chien brings us back to the cartoon era with his modern theme on space and sci-fi. He has a graffiti background so he’s willing to take risks and put himself out there to get to the next level – he’s hungry”.
Every artist goes through a different process to catalyze their creativity. Chien does plenty of research on topics and ideas before he even hits the paper. Everyday issues are often the theme of his work, focusing heavily on our addictions to vices in the modern world. Part of his creativity stems from his own dealings with addiction and depression.
“I overcame them over the years through self-improvement and making art,” he said.
Chien often displays his process to the public on Instagram, showing his sketches in their primitive stages. It’s a rare look into the brilliant mind of a spirited artist. His instagram page is a modest gaze into the places that formed him and the art that provides an outlet. He shows his followers and art lovers how much dedication he puts into the craft.
“First, I find an idea I want to express, then I research on the internet and read books in order to see what other people say about this idea,” Chien said. “After, I create a lot of sketches and I choose what I like the most to create the final product.”
Chien has been apart of many exhibitions, but one of his most impressive accomplishments came in Greece involving The Walking Dead. FOX announced an open call to artists in Greece inviting them to create art inspired by their popular show.
The purpose of the project was to illustrate the struggle for survival; what makes a character strong, emotional, and real. Chien’s artwork took first place out of 53 finalists, both public voters and a judge committee agreed it touched on all the elements they were looking for.
“My biggest source of inspiration from the series is the real intentions of the remaining humans,” he said, “They would initially treat you nice, but then attack you at any given moment. My artwork shows a figure and its real intentions under bright light and on the dark side of the canvas, fake intentions prevail along with whatever is left from the destroyed world.”
Alex Chien’s stimulating perspective on life and commitment to perfecting his technique has created an impressive portfolio filled with authentic artwork. He encourages his viewers to never fear their imperfections and weaknesses – face them with confidence.