BETTER THAN A PAINTER (for Angelo Plessas)

Portraiture is an art, one of the main opportunities for human expression. A
portrait is an interpretation of our peers, a method that fixes our opinion
or view of others on the blackboard of the present and on the undulating
wall of the future.

A written story of someone's acts can be a portrait as well, and a
photograph or a movie are always intended to be portraits even if they
rarely succeed. But until today, the highest accomplishment in portraiture
was through painting.

As an apple is not an apple when you paint its image, the face of a person
is not that person but something that belongs to its aura or more precisely
the shadow of the aura. A painted portrait is a field of influence and a
possibility. In the second part of the last century, in 1995 when Flash
Animation came into existence, a new, even better than any oil on canvas
technique of portraiture got its start. These are animations, or
quasi-animations, based on a picture or a drawing and some of them are also
simply abstractions. When seen from outside the context of the Internet,
they lose some of their glam. This is because the very existence of a domain
name on the top of them, the fact that you have to write that name on a
browser to call them up, extends the fiction while in the same time gives
them the authority of realism.

As it happens with any new Modus Operandi, only very few creators have the
courage and the determination to use Flash Animation in order to create
important art and Angelo Plessas is one of those few. It's not a surprise
then that only a few observers can understand his genius and prefer to
consider him a "designer". Anyway, they still call Yves Saint Laurent and
Vivian Westwood, "designers", they call Tarkovsky and Coppola "directors" as
if it would ever be possible to "design" or "direct" the mystery that these
creators know how to manipulate.

Angelo Plessas started his work with a self portrait. He painted - or rather
flash animated himself as the center of a circular Internet Explorer window,
for a website called He continued by making websites
for other people, capturing every time their essence and sometimes - when it
was possible - their future essence. Never acting as a "designer" (in my
opinion a pejorative term that denotes "job" and a "client") he made the
portrait of Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft (,
British Composer's GNAC ( and of the Neen Entrepreneur's
Jan Aman (

The important and glamorous citizens of the past century would have their
portraits done by the likes of Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz and Timothy
Greenfield-Sanders. But today, if you are somebody of note, the top of the
line person to "paint" your vanity, is Angelo Plessas.

Miltos Manetas, 2003