Artist Joni Zavitsanos is profiled in an interview on the website ShoutoutHTX in Meet Joni Zavitsanos: Artist where she discusses her CoVid memorial project, her art, her muses and places she loves in Houston.
Ms. Zavitsanos explains how she decided to memorialize Houston area victims of the CoVid pandemic. She scoured local news and reached out to the community to find the names and families of those who died from the disease. “I wondered who these people were that were dying alone, without family, without funeral, without a final send off from a hopeless virus that no one knew how to cure. So I began looking them up . . . Their stories are heart-breaking, but they are real, and this inspires me to want to honor their loved ones. I want to give them a proper memorial service and I want their families to find some kind of closure in that their loved ones are not forgotten. Their memories will be remembered through this tribute,” Ms. Zavitsanos said.
She has already made plaques for over 300 victims. “The search continues, and I am currently looking for a beautiful space to house the Covid Art Memorial for all to come and see the names, faces, and lives of all those in our Houston area who lost their lives during the pandemic,” she told ShoutoutHTX.
Discussing her art, Ms. Zavitsanos mentioned following her father’s lead and mixing Byzantine and modern images. “The images I created always had a very Byzantine feel in form, color, and imagery, but once dad passed away I became more overtly interested in Byzantine iconography and meaning. Conveying the spiritual in art has become a passion of mine, as I recreate images of the past in a more modern context,” she said.
When asked about places folks should visit in Houston, she mentioned art spaces, saying: “One space in Houston I’ve become quite fond of frequenting, perhaps because it reminds me of my studio space at U of H and my studio mates, is Hardy & Nance Studios which is an awesome space for seeing emerging artists in their studio spaces at work. The Silver Street and Winter Street Studios are also filled with beautiful artistic vibe.”