It’s not a secret… I love anything with skulls on it. I have numerous pieces of art and sculpture around my house of skulls, as they are infinitely interesting. So it’s not surprising that I am drawn to the work of Billelis. His dark gothic style combines a lot of my own interests in visuals and ethics which presents something truly dark and beautiful.
Billy Bogiatzoglou aka Billelis was born in Greece and as he grew up found his artistic love in ‘anime drawing, graffiti, tag bombing, large murals on trains. Following the graffiti blaze until he was 18, Billelis then moved to the UK to study computer graphics and coding art. Using his spare time to progress his skills in animation, 3D art and illustration. After graduating he worked as a free-lance art director and digital artist. He is now based in Edinburgh and taking social media by storm, and attributing his success with working with such big names as Nike, Netflix and Coca Cola to name a few.
Billelis say ‘death is all around us but the way I see it, it’s something to accept as part of our existence, not fear it but praise it as, weird as that sounds, Creating iconic art from something that is so dismal and rinsed with sadness. It shows traversing, evolution, ability to progress and idolise’.
I really like his theory on death – although personally I see it as a cycle, where living things return to the earth to feed it and produce more life, and certain items that he has created definitely echo this thought, showing skeletons with roses and flowers growing through them, indicating the death of one feeding the life of another.
“Hairesis” is a compilation of work which examines the boundaries between religious symbolism and sacrifice, while investigating the human obsession with worship and the need for a higher being. I was particularly drawn to this piece because of its depiction of the deity.
If you are a regular reader of my analysis articles, you will know that deity identification is all down to either what they are holding or what they are wearing… some times the animal they are riding, but what Billelis does is remove the identifiers and present a deity who now could be a a number of different ones, across Buddhism and Hinduism, raising the question of why we have different religions when the gods and their functions could be so closely linked. This only really dawned on me as I tried to look at which deity has 14 arms and holds lotus flowers…turns out… none.
Initially I worked through this being Buddha, then maybe Shiva, then Kali…Lakshmi but they all hold very specific things, or are usually seated on some animal which you would never think of riding. This is when I realised it doesn’t matter which god it is, as this is more about how the image of the god makes us feel. Shown in the highest polished gold, the deity is seated on a black throne, golden dragons at the top. For me the gold is more about the money and sacrifice that humans give to gods rather than it being the identifying colour.
Regardless if you are religious or not, there are very heavy links between religions, and this, to me is the crux of this work. It throws up questions of why we worship so many different gods, and why the different religions fight when the basis of most religion is peace and harmony (symbolised by the lotus flower in this case),
Billelis’s style is dark and could be considered morbid, as we see the deity with a skull at the base of it’s assumed throne, which to me symbolises the loyalty that humans give to something they have no proof exists, hoping that in death another plane is available where their worship will hold them in good stead. These little touches, bring a refined elegance to Billelis’s work, transforming the morbid to something romantic. His art holds a cyclical notion (whether it be returning to nature as I mentioned earlier, or moving on to a high realm), which is what elevates his style to something remarkable.
If you would like to see more of Billelis’s work you can find it here or you can follow his account on twitter @Billelis.
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Want to see more of what inspires me or what I am working on? Find me on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram by searching WidowCranky.