Silvia Kraemer shares her personal story and her 100% GREEK brand
SERIFOS – Silvia Kraemer created her own brand, 100% GREEK – Limited Art Editions, in 2020 and opened a workshop/boutique on the island of Serifos in the Cyclades. It had been his dream for many years and it has come true. Kraemer shared her story with The National Herald.
My personal story
I was born in Germany and grew up abroad – Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, USA, Brazil, Taiwan and many more “stopovers” in other countries…
The travel bug stayed with me, especially after living in all those colorful and exotic places with exciting culture and mindsets. It became my inspiration and I kept these impressions on paper since young.
A pad of paper and pens have always accompanied me when traveling between countries and homes, on countless plane trips, or to accompany my parents at dinner parties sitting on a carpet, drawing.
My parents kept many of my early drawings; they have become a very personal collection of travel sketches from around the world. I still own the Crayola Crayons box from the USA, and I remember my amazing Faber-Castell crayon box from Brazil, and the Indian ink set with an ink stone and several brushes that I have received when I lived in Taiwan and also learned in school how to draw Chinese letters.
At the age of 14 when I was in high school, I did my first commercial: a little flyer for a break-dancing show at a local dance school. Followed by graffiti spraying, paint/spray on sweaters, t-shirts, tracksuits – and even hand illustrating sneaker tapes…
My favorite music then was Hip Hop and Funk and of course my favorite movie was Wild Style. Every Friday I would hand draw the party/weekend poster for the famous local nightclub ‘MIAMI’ and… secretly (during my senior year in high school) I would work in a photographer’s studio learning various hand printing techniques methods.
After finishing my studies, I went with my art portfolio to Enschede (the Netherlands) to apply for the AKI School of Fine Arts – Academie voor Beeldend Kunst en Industrie Design. Soon after, I passed the admission test and became a student. The main subjects were, among others, illustration, painting, fashion design, audiovisual design, sculptural design, photography, art history, etc.
I continued my studies in Germany at the University of Applied Sciences, specializing in concept and design, illustration, photography and art history and in 1991 obtained a Dipl. Designer in visual communication – today MA. At the same time, during these years of studying graphic design, I also studied arts and sports at university.
To finance my studies, I worked in several advertising agencies as a freelancer, in a vinyl store, in a club as a DJ, as well as host of the cable channel/live music show “The Beat Is On” featuring Soul, Funk, and Hip Hop music videos every Thursday.
After my studies, I moved to Greece, the Netherlands, Germany and Singapore. Restless.
Working as a freelance designer and art/creative director with amazing projects with international agencies like McCann Erickson, JWT/ Spot Thompson and with my own clients such as (to name a few, the list will be too long ): Adidas, Thyssen -Krupp, Planet Golf, Bretz, Encode, Playmobil, Texter, Warner Lambert, Abbott, Cyanamid, Sony, Soulis, Isopipe, McCain, Veltins, Carl MFG Japan, Schreyögg, Elektra, Lowara, Setra, Mercedes Benz , Chrysler Jeep, TruckStore, Royal Canin, Saturn/Media Markt, the Diplomatic Club of Athens and the German Embassy.
For a few years I worked as a business development manager in Greece, Germany and Singapore. I only did the graphics as an extra on the side, but it remained my passion.
Before being mainly part of the digital world, I decided to go out and draw by hand again and continue with my own style.
Quirky colors moved for black strong lines. Complex images transformed into simple expressive illustrations. I remembered an illustration I had done during my studies: an orchestra with black lines on white cardboard. This illustration became, many years later, the “beginning” of 100% GREEK. I had done that during my studies. All black and white lines, fun faces, slightly exaggerated, but fun characters.
And then Greek themes came to mind… donkeys, cats, gods, typical Greek scenes.
I named it “Collection Blé Mati – 100% Greek”. My friend insisted on a 100% Greek name and 100% GREEK was born!
100% GREEK… and the Medusa
In mythology, no one dared look into Medusa’s eyes. And if someone did, they turned to stone. Her hair – living snakes – which she used as an offensive weapon. His hands with sharp claws dangerous to scratch. Only her voice was extremely persuasive and charming.
The 100% GREEK Medusa looks you straight in the eye. Seductive, yet cheeky with a hint of humor. The snakes, nice and neatly rolled up on curlers. Hands coquettishly on hips. This jellyfish is a far cry from grandmas in bunny slippers, nightgowns and curlers.
And… she is not only Greek, but also Serifian. Lovable and mysterious… Giving you that irresistible look. It’s my brand’s mascot… It’s a unique and strong symbol.
She is 100% Greek.
With a long history – being in Greece and loving its culture, people and life – I created my own brand in 2020 and opened a workshop/boutique on the island of Serifos. It was a dream I had for many years and it came true.
100% GREEK – Limited Art Editions
The dream of creating something unique and memorable has become a small world of its own…
My passion for art and design, colors, fabrics – and my love for Greece – inspired me to create the brand 100% GREEK Limited Art Editions.
Funky and funny illustrations make you smile.
All the figures and all the themes that I draw have a personal story. Some I tell you, others remain secret. Some lead to your own experience, to your memory – or connect you to something or someone.
Handmade, Greek and ecological without “leaving a footprint”, [the brand uses] natural fabrics, durable print and high quality, all locally made and all handpicked by me.
100% GREEK is based on daily Greek scenes, on typical Greek characters, which I draw in a simple and fun way. Both foreigners and Greeks love these awesome designs and items. Not only because they are all hand-illustrated and hand-crafted, but also because you recognize things you “lived” and saw in Greece. It brings Greek culture closer to people. The history, mythology, habits and daily life and also the island of Serifos (I created two different maps for the island).
With this concept, I design t-shirts, bags, art prints, interior decoration, gifts for your loved ones and little things to make you happy. Small editions that I do by hand and with the help of two or three local suppliers (individuals) and who support small businesses in the local market.
Once these items are sold out, they disappear…
My goal is to create something unique and special, something that people don’t see anywhere else.
Production is more expensive than mass production. Some fabrics are woven by hand (linen), most come from Greece and are made of Greek cotton, some fabrics (old!) are recycled. Printing methods are environmentally friendly. I try to use the “ingredients” as much as possible so as not to waste.
In this sense, explore, enjoy and immerse yourself in your own 100% Greek adventures…
Silvia Kraemer’s 100% GREEK shop is located in Plateia Ano Chora, Serifos, Cyclades Islands, Greece. More information is available online: https://100percentgreek.gr/.
Follow on Instagram: 100percentgreek.