George Raftopoulos is the son of Greek parents and his childhood, from the age of five, was spent in the New South Wales town of Grenfell. In the 1970s, the Raftopouloses found themselves to be the only Greek family in the town. In this context, as a youth, George ruminated on questions of cultural identity. They are questions his paintings continue to plumb. George speaks of his painting as “mapping the memory”. He refers to his paintings incorporating fragmentary references to places he has been, events he has witnessed, and sensations he has experienced. He refers, too, to his paintings touching aspects of his race memory, aspects of his cultural lineage.
Raftopoulos’s paintings have always possessed an expressionist fierceness. He describes his method of painting as an “interactive process”, in that it is undertaken without the safety net of preliminary studies. His work of the mid-1990s was peopled by human/animal hybrids, inhabiting a world that combined playfulness with anxiety and apprehension. Line plays a key role in his current painting, and his line is both economical and swift. It is as firm and elastic as cartilage. Most of Raftopoulos’s works of the last couple of years have turned on a single colour, which sets the temper of the painting. Recently that sole colour has often been a primary colour.
George holds a Bachelor of Arts from UWS and a postgraduate diploma from Sydney University College of the Arts.