Dear Artist,


untitled, oil on canvas, 70 x 35 cm
by Christoforos Asimis

Around Cycladic archeological sites, in the museums and even the sunscreen shops, are small and large figurines chiseled from local marble. They have the look of the Moderns — smooth and stylized, with blank, polished faces. The locals call them Kouros, or “man” — a term now used for all male figures in Greek sculpture. Near the village of Apollonas you can scramble up a rocky bank where an 11-metre-long marble Kouros lies across the hillside overlooking the sea at the edge of the quarry from which it came. He’s thought to be a statue of Dionysus — the god of wine — abandoned mid-chisel around 600 B.C. The divots are as fresh as if the artist had merely stepped away for some mid-day calamari.


Artwork by Katonas Asimis

On the road to Fira stands the new Asimis Kolaitou Art Foundation museum designed by architect and digital artist Katonas Asimis and inspired by the work of his parents: painter Christoforos Asimis and sculptor and jeweller Eleni Kolaitou. In addition to his fresh and brushy Santorini landscapes, Christoforos has been working on a series of iconographic Byzantine murals inside the Fira Cathedral, the project now in its seventh year. “Isn’t it delightful,” wrote Euripides in The Bacchae, “to forget how old we are?”

On the other side of Thera, an artist mingles in his own small gallery housed in one of the stacked, cubic caves dug into the pumice that makes up the medieval village of Pyrgos. Thirty-five-year-old Grigoris Kouskouris is the fourth generation in a family of sculptors and collects his marble personally. He chisels by hand the objects of a life hugged by the sea: boat forms, solitary shells, figures, open vessels and heart shapes, polishing the old-fashioned way. “The hand is the tool of tools,” wrote Aristotle. Kouskouris’ sculpture of a giant ammonite hints at perfection, like a wind-blown chunk of nature, enhanced.


Perforated bowl, marble
by Grigoris Kouskouris



PS: “Art completes what nature cannot bring to finish. The artist gives us knowledge of nature’s unrealized ends.” (Aristotle)

Esoterica: The archipelago of Santorini is all that remains after one of the biggest blasts in human history left an imploded, sea-filled caldera and a handful of skyward-jutting islands. The eruption destroyed the Bronze Age settlements — their technology included pottery, fresco painting, lost wax process and masonry, all buried for later civilizations to uncover and continue. Santorini’s aqua lagoon also endures as an unspoiled swimming and fishing hole and inspiration for future generations. “With regard to excellence,” said Aristotle. “It is not enough to know, but we must try to have and use it.”


Asimis Kolaitou Art Foundation

“We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; in feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heartthrobs. He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.” (Philip James Bailey)




  1. Thank you for bringing us with you on your journey through time to artists , their tools, their passions as well as to places where we can seek out to open our artistic minds and spirits to ancient art and modern art and the connections between the two worlds.

    • Wow — I’ve been to Santorini twice and haven’t been fortunate enough to see any art as beautiful as these! I have many photos of the Caldera and of Oia, and now I have inspiration to paint some of them. Now I’m even more determined to travel back there and find this museum and these wonderful works. Thank you for the introduction!

  2. Kouskouris’ beautifully carved open bowl is reminiscent of the bowls currently made by potters from “paper clay”
    a mixture of porcelain-type clay and 15% paper shreds, which strengthen and lighten the medium.

  3. Thank you for starting my day in the thought of creative possibilities. Such beautiful words to hear and thoughts to reflect upon throughout today.
    Carol Mariott

  4. Sara, Thank you for awakening the Greek blood flowing through this humble artist (along with Irish and French). I read this twice and it took my breath away. Husband and I do not travel much, as he is chronically crippled with arthritis but thanks to you and your father, I can journey with imagination.

  5. Your words are as picturesque as your art and the collection of works you shared in this letter were inspiring. I felt like a child walking with you into these places where art is still made and cherished. Much appreciated!

  6. Funny how the title can throw you for a loop. When I delved into the article, I quickly realized it was not about computer technology. I was glad, because my struggle to keep the computer at arm’s length is always a challenge for me.
    In contrast, your article connects Ancient Art to Modern times and I thoroughly enjoyed the integration of thoughtful interpretations and especially the art work presented. It reminds me of the generational continuum that I have in my own family. My Dad was painter & mosaic artist, Grandpa was an inventor for the village he lived, Great Grandpa was an engraver (His name is engraved in a Museum in the Netherlands); there may be others that I’m not aware of. Hmmm, I’ve often wondered if I was related to Rembrandt or VanGogh :)

    • “We should count time by heartthrobs.”

      Can someone elaborate what he means by the word: “heartthrobs”. I am sure Philip meant it metaphorically. Taken literary makes no sense.

  7. Nader Khaghani- heartthrobs- is probably another way of saying heartbeats- which we do actually measure time by- as heart beats are experienced in linear time- regardless of speed. The resting heart beats at 60 to 100 bpm. And 60 beats per minute is 60 seconds. However- the word throb means INTENSE beating. So I read this as suggesting that if we count time by heart THROBS- we intensify our direct experience of our life- in linear time.
    However- I found this part of that statement even more interesting: “We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; in feelings, not in figures on a dial.” In other words we don’t actually live IN clocks- time is arbitrary.
    But we artists LIVE IN OUR ART. We live in our chosen mediums. We live in our relevant processes. We live in our presentations. Our ART takes on a life of its own and leaves home- but never do we not continue to live in our signatures- in our manifest vision. And after we artists die we live on in every piece we produced- recognized or not.
    So: We (artists) live in deeds, not years; in that which we produce- sign and title.
    We (artists) live in thoughts, not breaths; in our individual ability to en-vision and then bring art creation into manifestation.
    We (artists) live in feelings, not in figures on a dial; in the way our work evokes profound feelings in others.

    • “We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; in feelings, not in figures on a dial.” Amen! Beautifully stated. Thank You. :-)

  8. I love the clarity and simplicity of your words.
    Unpretentious, but evocative.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences, thoughts and gift of observation with us.

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