Mickey Mouse, by Carla Regalado Teixido
'Kassianí', issue #173 in the Greek Classics Illustrated series (1955).

Takis Katsoulidis (Τάκης Κατσουλίδης) was a Greek painter, engraver and typographer, who played an important role in the development of engraving and letter design in post-war Greece. During the 1960s, he drew at least one installment in the Greek version of the 'Classics Illustrated' comic book series.

Early life and education
Born in 1933, Panagiotis Katsoulidis hailed from rural Messini in the Greek Peloponnese region. His father was a priest and teacher; his mother had a talent for cloth handicraft. His father died when he was young, causing difficult times for the family. Katsoulidis had his first job painting decorative crosses on a church roof, and with the 300 drachmas he earned, he headed for Athens to attend the Academy of Fine Arts (1952-1958). One of his teachers was the Egyptian-Greek engraver Giannis Kefalinos (1894-1957), who left a lasting mark on his artistic and cultural development. After that, Katsoulidis spent four years working in the graphic arts workshop of the engraver Tassos, separating colors on film.

While still a student in Athens, Katsoulidis also had a short venture into comic art, drawing an installment in the Greek 'Classics Illustrated' series ('Κλασσικά Εικονογραφημένα'), published by the Atlantis publishing house of Giorgos Pechlivanidis. Originally merely a translated version of the American comic book series with adaptations of literary classics, by October 1953 these translated editions were supplemented with locally produced installments, presenting tales from Byzantine/Greek history and ancient mythology in comic book format. In 1955, Katsoulidis drew issue #173, 'Kassianí' ('Κασσιανή'), about the 9th-century female Byzantine-Greek composer, hymnographer and poet Kassia. It was reprinted in the 1970s.

Between 1962 and 1966, on a scholarship by the Greek Government, Katsoulidis studied lithography at the École des Beaux Arts and typography at the École Estienne in Paris, France. In the French National Gallery, he had the opportunity to study the work of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, and see paintings by Greek masters for the first time. In Paris, he also had his first expositions in the Suzanne de Coninck Gallery.

Teaching career
Back in Athens in late 1966, Takis Katsoulidis was offered a teaching position at the Doxiadis School of Applied Arts. Between 1971 until the school's closure in 1976, he was the school's director. Subsequently, from 1978 to 1986, he was a Professor of Graphic Design at the School of Graphic Arts in the Technological Educational Institution of Athens (TEI).

Fine Arts
As a fine artist, Katsoulidis designed a series of postage stamps for Cyprus and Greece. He also designed a tapestry for the Hellenic Canadian Trust bank in Canada, and for the Atlantic Bank of New York, as well as six large silk-screen paintings for the Chicago branch of the Ethniki Bank. Between 1986 and 1988, he was artistic advisor of the Greek publishing company Aspioti-ELKA Co. Katsoulidis designed and printed six art books with woodcuts and lithographs.

Letter design
During his teaching years, Katsoulidis decided to improve the overall quality of Greek typography. Since 1982, he designed several modern Greek typefaces for use in phototype setting, including Apollonia and Katsoulidis. In 1991, he published a textbook called 'The Letter Design' ('Το σχέδιο του γράμματος'), chronicling the history of Greek typeface elements.

Work by Katsoulidis can be found in the Athens National Gallery, the Vorres Museum and the Gennadios Library in Athens. They can also be viewed in the collections of the Ethniki Bank Foundation in Thessaloniki and at the Municipal Art Gallery of Rhodes. Some of his works are in the National Library of Paris (Cabinet de Estampes) and in many private collections in Europe and the United States. In 2003, the Municipality of Messini established the Takis Katsoulidis Museum of Engraving with 200 engravings and 20 paintings, donated to the Municipality by the artist.

Katsoulidis received several awards for his groundbreaking work. As early as 1961, he won the First Prize in engraving at the Pan-Hellenic Exhibition of Young Artists, followed by two prizes in lithography at the École des Beaux Arts, Paris (1964-1965). In 1976, he received a medal in the International Exhibition of Painting in Ostend, Belgium. Other prizes were the 2001 Biography Award for his book 'Papamichalis' (Livanis editions), the 2008 Athens Academy Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution in Art and the 2010 Greek Graphic Designers Association EVGΕ Award for his outstanding contributions to Graphic Arts and Typography.


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