Giannis Koutsouris and the wells of imagination

International Animation Day 2019 press release

With eye-popping, swirling color Giannis Koutsouris’s poster for 2019 International Animation Day celebrates the spirit of the unknown, as tubes and spouts from the earth provide for the free-flights of our imagination. 

By Bob Swieringa of ASIFA Central.

As a child, Giannis was intrigued by the wells in the home courtyards, “the holes that derived from the earth’s depths,” inspiring feelings of awe and questions about the underworld of the earth. With the pumping of water, the many types of extractions we pull from the earth, and the machinery needed for it all, Giannis questioned the survival of the earth for the future.

Giannis path to animation, from small village in the country side to the founding (along with Nassos Mirmiridis) in the 1970s of Kounoupi Animation production company, lead through Athens. At five, he saw the Disney animated film Peter Pan and was impressed by the images. Learning that it was made by sketches, he decided to become an animator himself. His work has included animated commercials, short animated films shown at festivals, and drawing, cartooning, sculpting, and the illustrating of children’s books. 

The earth, its wells of imagination, the depths of the unknown. For Giannis, animation will continue to fascinate audiences, especially by the imperfections of traditional techniques, inspiring aesthetics, meanings, and feelings. 

Brief Bio: Giannis Koutsouris was born in Aliarto, Greece, in 1944. He studied graphic arts at ATT with teachers A. Tassos, A. Asteriadis, H. Dekoulakos, G. Georgiadis and S. Lydakis and, for three years, he was close to Spyros Vassiliou as a student and assistant. During the period of his studies and until the end of the 60s, he dealt with painting, cartooning and illustration of children’s books and magazines, while his main activity for 30 years was creating animated cartoons for advertising, companies ‘Mosquito’ ‘and’ ‘quack’. His animated film ‘Line’ won the 3rd prize at Zagreb  festival, 1973.

About the author: Bob Swieringa is a writer, instructor of animation history at Grand Valley State Univ., and board member for ASIFA-Central USA.

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