Name: Ariana Papademetropoulos
Residence: Pasadena, California.
Currently lives: In a three-story Victorian home in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles that she shares with musician John Carroll Kirby.
Claim to fame: Mrs. Papademetropoulos is a painter whose large-scale, hyper-realistic work offers a window into parallel universes. Her intricate renderings of abandoned interior spaces; huge opal soap bubbles resembling alien planets; and even occasionally pegasus have been exhibited at the Vito Schnabel Gallery in New York and Soft Opening in London. “I’m very inspired by finding the beauty in the unknown while still being grounded in reality,” she said.
Breakthrough: From an early age, Mrs. Papademetropoulos was fascinated by shells and other natural wonders with iridescent colors. “The paintings have gotten bigger, but the subjects have always been the same,” she said.
After attending Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (“I was very rebellious,” she said), she began working for her “mentor,” Noah Davis, the influential figurative painter who died in 2015 at age 32. died of cancer, and enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts, where she graduated with a BFA in 2012.
Her debut in the art world came in 2010, when her work was included in a group exhibition curated by Mr. Davis at Roberts Projects in Los Angeles. “Working for Noah was one of the biggest influences in my life,” she said.
Latest project: “The Emerald Tablet,” a solo exhibition of new work by Ms. Papademetropoulos, on display at Jeffrey Deitch Los Angeles through October 23. Loosely based on a theosophical reading of Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz,” the show features a mind-boggling selection of works by Beck and the occultist Marjorie Cameron. “The show is about Los Angeles as a place to create your own reality — a place for self-discovery,” she said.
Next thing: She can’t reveal much, but she plans to build a modern nymphaeum in Florence, Italy – a natural cave dedicated to nymphs used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. “I’m really interested in using architecture to create a journey,” she said.
Life imitates art: Like her paintings, Mrs. Papademetropoulos’ personal life borders on the surreal. Last December, she spent three weeks as a guest in a lavish 18th-century Sicilian villa belonging to Princess Vittoria Alliata di Villafranca, an eccentric 71-year-old descendant of one of Italy’s oldest noble families. “The house is built almost like an installation,” she said. “Each wall is painted a different color and each room teaches you in one way or another.”