Written by Amma Aburam
For artist Florentina Tintiris Keller, painting is a door – an invitation to explore within ourselves. Having worked as a coach for personal development and a psychologist, Tintiris’ work reflects her deep knowledge of the human state of being. Horyou visited her in her home in Petit Bel Air, Geneva, where her paintings decorate the walls of her living room, which is small but creatively packed. Tintiris is humble and deeply reflective while explaining her painting.
The name Tintiris is derived from her Greek ancestors. “It is Tintiri; I added the S to respect the Greek origin of the word,” she said. “I believe each artist should have an aura of mystery around them that draws people in, and this name is quite different.” Tintiris’ paintings make you think of a world beyond the current one. “In an ideal world, my art would open the consciousness of the people who see it; they would delve into their subconscious,” she said. Consciousness and the subconscious are at the heart of all her work.
How she became an artist is a story of her subconscious self emerging into consciousness on a canvas. Early on she had loved drawing, something she did as an intimate and deeply personal expression of self. One day a desire overtook her: “In 2011, I suddenly had this great desire to create,” she said. I am sensitive and I am very aware of human psychology, so I knew that if I was feeling this way then I should act on it. I couldn’t ignore it because I knew that later I would lose myself.” In 1996 she won a literature prize and thought that this was her calling, but she soon realized that there was something missing. In 2011, she received a canvas from a friend and went to buy paint but was unable to open the paint can for days. Out of frustration she used a knife to break the can open. She then used the knife directly on the canvas and that’s what she has been doing ever since. All her paintings are done with a knife and the paint is raw. She knew right away she had finally found her calling.
“Our life system and our beliefs create our life experience. We are responsible, not victims, of our reality. We are all aware of conscious and subconscious, but the problem is the subconscious because we have to go looking for it in our deepest selves to find it. It takes a whole lifetime to do so, but if we do, we can access answers. Those magical moments where we wonder how we did something, how we overcame a situation, this is a result of looking within ourselves.” Her work challenges you to look toward that subconscious: representations of floating women, rooster heads, bursting colors – nothing is obvious and requires a certain level of access to the subconscious. Accompanying her paintings are sometimes texts that tell the story she was imagining as she was painting. They are purely creative and, if read while viewing the painting, give extra meaning to the work.
As a member of Horyou, Tintiris is a true embodiment of what it means to Dream, Act and Inspire. “I often use the words dream, succeed and rejoice. To dream, what can I say? I could never live without dreaming. To dream is to create your next reality. It is to have a vision of what you desire and imagine the best for yourself. We are in a divine connection when we dream, because we become apart of the collective universe. It’s magical.” She believes that inspiration comes from what has been done in the past. “When someone creates, it becomes a part of the collective consciousness that inspires others.” Her paintings combine her unique vision of dreams and inspiration.