Nikolas Ventourakis

  • Business / Project: Leaving Utopia
  • Category: Photography
  • College: University of the Arts London

Winner : 2013


What advice would you offer to potential applicants?

"Work very hard on your application. Don't be afraid to discuss your ideas and proposals with people close to you that you trust. Don't think of "Not applying" because "everyone is going to be better than me". Make sure that you believe in what you propose to actual do with the award." - Nikolas Ventourakis

Nikolas Ventourakis Case Study

What was your winning business/project idea?

In “Leaving Utopia”, I compiled a visual narrative as a reaction to the social crisis in Greece. This is not a documentary project presenting the current deterioration of Greece. However it is a body of work about the notion of crisis.

During the height of “The Crisis” all billboards in Greece stood empty. The constructs were still there, but no products or services were advertised in them. The empty billboards could be the perfect example to visualize the financial melt down. There they were, products of the consumer and capitalist system, existing without function. The reality, however, is much different. The billboards do not stand empty due to “The Crisis”. They had to be abandoned as tools of commerce before the crisis hit, when the Greek government tried to rectify a situation, where too many illegal
constructions existed. They failed and by putting together a law that was so badly written that essentially made all billboard advertising illegal, they had to stop any advertising on them and they were emptied. That potential misreading of something that is based so much on conveying visual messages prompted me to create my project. An interpretation could be that of a newly discovered continent that is Europe of the 21st century, where billboards advertise no brighter lives and the people are offered a multitude of dystopian futures. For Leaving Utopia I have chosen places and situations based on my memories of Greece, and my experiences living abroad as an expatriate for the last eight years. As mentioned before I purposefully deny the viewers a solution and I invite them to fill in the missing parts of the story and then to reinterpret and question what exists in the photographs.

What did winning the Award mean to you and how did it help launch your career?

It gave me great exposure as a young artist, and financially it helped me fund my new projects that lead to exhibition opportunities and more awards- including a Fulbright Artist Fellowship.

What skills did you develop as a result of DBACE?

  • Presenting your work / ideas
  • Developing business plans / funding applications
  • Articulating your ideas / creative vision
  • Applying creativity / innovation within a professional setting
  • Flexibility / adaptibility
  • Self management
  • Self confidence
  • Networking
  • Cashflow / budgets

What have been your greatest achievements since winning the Award?

Winning the Fulbright Artist Fellowship and exhibiting in a solo show in the Athens Photo Festival.

Have your objectives and long-term goals changed since winning the Award? If so, how?

I am still on the path that I had set: Working as an artist and being able to earn a comfortable living from my art.

For more information on this project/enterprise, please visit:

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