For my Bampas - Why I paint, and for who I am today.
Sophie's late father, Bill, is the source of her passion and drive for her art. Bill's story and by extension, Sophie's past contributes to her present.
Bill was born in Lesvos, Thessaloniki, Greece. where his father passed away when he was only six, leaving behind his wife, son and two daughters. Enduring a tough childhood, as a 10 year old he had to walk for ten hours with two timber crates on his back to collect water and food for the family. He once stole a loaf of bread in desperation to feed the household. Talented and hardworking from a very young age, Bill had a strong work ethic and big dreams to be very successful. A creative at heart with a yearning to paint, he had no money to buy any paint and it was only at the age of 20 that he had saved up enough from a job as a labourer that he began painting on the side. However, he could not make a career out of it, needing a steady income for the family.
After migrating to Australia, his creativity pushed him to study Architecture at RMIT and he became a draftsman. After completing his degree, he and his wife opened and ran a successful tile studio in Melbourne, regularly traveling to Italy and Spain to source the marble and tiles. Sophie's childhood was spent in her family tile studio, where she vividly recalls watching in delight as Bill would create intricate tessellated tile patterns, cutting individual tiles with meticulous attention to detail.
Skip forward 41 years since the tile studio had opened, and Bill had achieved his dream of financial success. From having nothing to building a business and large property portfolio, all with a purpose to provide his family with opportunities he never had himself.
In 2010 had a sudden stroke three weeks before Sophie was due to give birth to her first child. Bill nearly passed, lost all of his memory and could not walk or talk. It took one year of his wife and children helping him to learn basic life skills until he was rehabilitated, but was never quite the same. A few years later, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away at the age of 70.
Bill's determination to rise up above all odds, provide for his family, and his wish to be an artist drives and inspires Sophie in her life and art. SD Art Contemporary is in honour of Bill Kalountzoglou and to keep his memory and legacy alive.