Alexandra Diona lives in Athens, Greece and was raised in an empowering, artistic home. Deriving stimuli from Arts, Fashion and Architecture, she is a self-taught creative director and photographer and the driven creator of the “A Shiny Day” wellness and domestic environmental awareness DIY blog.
Her artworks range from photography and DIY crafts to creative direction of video art and dance performances. Alexandra recently did the art direction and photography for the theatrical dance performance Nomads at Fringe Festival in Amsterdam. She has also created “shiny” commercial campaigns and branding for organisations and artisans, chefs, makers as well as well-known Greek & international brands. Alexandra has been invited by organisations and universities in Greece to give speeches and workshops concerning her work (TEDxAthens TEDxNKUA, Google Greece, Syros Stray Art Festival and more). In times of digital aesthetics and artistic noise, Alexandra’s photography narrates human stories of minimalism and splashes of color. Her most recent story includes a cat’s paw, a girl eating fake news for breakfast, 7 squished lemon cups & a child with golden eyelashes.
You are working on DIY ideas, creative direction, photography concepts and eco-friendly living tips. How did you come up with different ideas of sharing your creativity?
During the process of defining who I am and what is exactly the thing that I like to do, I have always been experimenting with different kinds of art like architecture, photography, painting, dance or theatre. I was pushing myself to find the one and only profession I would do for the rest of my life. Having to go through some personal experiences, life showed me the way and here I am today. I have accepted the fact that I am a creative person who loves to use her hands, create pictures, concepts, crafts and all of that under the umbrella of living ethically. The creativity that I share is my actual everyday life. I am a doer. I believe we could all be creative, we could all use our imagination and of course we should all respect the environment in which we live.
What are your sources of inspiration?
If not life itself, then what else can inspire me? I like to observe and since practice makes perfect, I think I’ve turned out to be a pretty good sharp-eyed person. I observe nature, humans and their relationships, their feelings. I observe the shapes, the colors and the textures of my surroundings. I always try to read about art, watch movies, listen to music and travel. A trip can really give me a lot of inspiration and many of my projects are inspired by my journeys.
Your photography projects have a very distinct style. What are the themes and feelings that you try to depict through your images?
The themes and feelings of my pictures are not complex or unusual. My photos depict love, friendship, freedom and family and many times they ask a question about pretension, exploitation, anxiety or disrespect but even for these, I try to have a smooth and sometimes fun approach. I also love the fact that I can express my own and many others’ thoughts about life. For example, I loved it when my bad experience and irritation at the Louvre Museum this September, turned out to be an interesting video art.
What is your relationship with colour?
I am absolutely in love with colour. When I create a colourfully pleasant picture I feel satisfaction and hopefully the people with whom I share it with will feel it too. The moment I see through the lens of the camera a colourful set design I conceived and created, and I’m ready to capture it, well I’m pretty sure my heart is smiling.
Your campaigns go beyond stylish, and aim at having impact. How do Greek brands and designers interact with this way of advertising?
For me, creating a picture is a way of telling a story. I don’t find interest in taking a picture of an existing – kind of really happening situation. I love to create my own scenarios, my slightly surreal concepts and I’m happy that many greek brands and designers have trusted me with their work or products. I believe that people deserve to be given inspired projects and valuable quality content and I’m sure many greek brands realise that and try to elaborate towards this direction.
Is following an eco-friendly lifestyle a kind of “in fashion” thing nowadays?
And what if it is? Well, for me personally, following an eco-friendly, low-waste and non-toxic lifestyle means a meaningful way of life. It’s about a serious commitment I made to be honest and responsible. I wanted my beliefs and actions to match. If I love nature, I have to show respect. If I love animals, how can I eat them? Actually, respecting nature and adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle should go without saying. So, if this plastic pollution and climate crisis urgency wave coming all the way from Europe is a trending thing, let it be. Let it be, so it can teach us and make us open our eyes and change the way we live. It’s up to us to decide if all this information and the exposure to compostable bags, bamboo straws, reusable bottles and veganism is an in-fashion thing, or an ethical civilisation wave.
Normally, when you leave the house you grab your phone, your wallet, your keys. And then you’ll grab a bottle, a coffee – it becomes a habit. What does it take to break a habit?
It takes consistency, motivation and patience and actually, it’s easier than it might sound. It was pretty easy for me and many other people, so I guess everyone can do it. Our brain can be trained to create better habits and this amazing adaptive quality of our brain is called neuroplasticity. I recently directed a video based on this fact about what happens when we decide to change a habit. Changing a habit is like rewiring our brain and believe me, it is possible.
The more often we perform an action or behave a certain way, the more it gets physically wired into our brain. We just need to take the decision, start doing and then let it flow. Step by step, little by little and bye-bye old-toxic-bad habits!
How did you manage to make your creativity a real job? And what would you advise young creatives living in Greece?
I improvised, tried different things, took risks, worked really hard and I’m still doing all those things, every single day. I try to be an organised, respectful professional but keep my playful mood on. I take my job very seriously because I put a lot of time, work and soul into it and I trust my instinct. Anyone is free to take any of the above as an advice, but I feel like I have many more experiments to do and many more things to learn before I can be in a place to give advice to anyone. Unless we talk about the basics; be creative, respectful and humble.