Translating classic tales into immersive works of art Translating classic tales into immersive works of art

Translating classic tales into immersive works of art

By Chiara Aliotta

Translating classic tales into immersive works of art Translating classic tales into immersive works of art

I (Chiara) am a designer. Spiros is a painter.
I am Italian. Spiros is Greek.

It was on a sunny day in November 2015, when we decided to embark on an adventure together, which we named The Pattern Tales.

It all began with the smell of the sea, the warm feeling of the sun on our skin, and the beautiful colours of Syros, the Greek island on which we both live and create from. Anyone who has ever met us at Plastico, the home-like gallery-cafè we own on Syros, can't help but notice how different we are!

But many also agree that a project like The Pattern Tales could only have emerged from two such contrasting minds.

Spiros and I may have two different personalities, but we share the same creative flame.

For example, we are both hungry bibliophages* (or, bookworms!). So, we felt that starting a project to illustrate books would be an interesting idea.
But when you look at our work, you clearly understand our different approaches to life and art.

It is precisely these individual, personal interpretations that make The Pattern Tales so engaging and unique.

Chiara and Spiros reading a book in their office in Syros


The challenge of creating an immersive experience

The Pattern Tales began with one wish.  

To keep alive those magical, otherworldly sensations that a story creates in our minds, long after the book finds its place back on the shelf.

Names, places, and people are the essential elements that make up a literary work. In the hands of a talented writer, these elements interact to create a fantastic story, a masterpiece.
While a story may be fictional and live in the mind of the author, what remains are the emotions that a literary work leaves in the mind of the reader.
Being two bibliophiles* and sensitive artists, we know those emotions well.

For every story, the biggest challenge we confront is the ability to create original artworks. We didn’t want to create a simple representation of the literary work, but an immersive experience that is close to that offered by the book.
We work with two different styles and approaches in mind. Our artworks may be figurative and abstract, but they all share a critical visual element: the use of pattern, or the concept of repetition.

Chiara and Spiros checking the quality of their prints in their office in Syros

The creation of an artwork

Creation is a long process of discovery, and it is the most exciting part of our work!

The selection of the featured book is a personal choice for each one of us.
As well as avid readers, we are chronic book sniffers*. We love the smell of ink on paper, and for this reason, we only read books and not their digital reproductions (e-books).

We pinch and add stickers to the pages. We underline concepts and add notes. The book changes shape and form in our hands; it becomes old, used and, most of all, ours.   

We are also book-bosomed**, which means that wherever we go, we have a book with us. For some stories, we may need to travel to look for more inspiration. Sometimes, we need to visit places described in the books themselves, to grab detail that we will later use in our artwork.
Our choice of colour play a big part, too. Sometimes, colours jump out at us from the story itself, as described by the writer. Sometimes, we decide on the colour palette based on the mood and the feelings evoked by the book.
Whatever our approach, one thing is a must: the colours should be as harmonious as the words on the page.
The third and last step before printing is to turn the chosen passages of the book into digital format.

In this case, the process is different for each of us.
As a designer, I prefer sketching on paper before using Illustrator to refine the details and create the motif.
Spiros has a more artistic approach. He incorporates drawings and watercolours by scanning and layering them to create the final artwork on the computer.

The final, joyful step is printing!

We print our artworks on demand, guaranteeing that each edition is limited. Each print is numbered and signed by the artist, and  is shipped with a certificate of authenticity, which is also dated and signed by the artist.

On the wall, Homesickness from our series inspired by the Odyssey

The idea behind the pattern

We believe in the discrete influence of repetition in our daily life.

A book read by different people, at different times, is a story brought to life ad infinitum. Every single detail in our artworks creates a complex rhythm, a flow, that only words on a page can imitate.

By choosing pattern and repetition as our narrative visual elements, we have discovered a new way to experience books and stories.


Alice in Wonderland notebooks printed by MaCart in Athens

The added value in the execution

No compromises here!
There are two initial facts to consider when ensuring the longevity of a digital print: the inks used, and the support.

All of our artworks are printed on acid-free, archival, 100% cotton paper. We proudly use the Epson SureColor P600 printer, loaded with nine professional quality, pigment based UltraChrome HD inks. The printing process happens in our studio, and no third parties are involved.

For our notebooks, artbooks and marble souver, we couldn't find a better ally than MaCart, one of the most innovative printshops in Athens. They follow the printing process for us with love and care, so that the result matches the same standard for every printed product.

Woman posing wearing our t-shirt Behemoth
For our fabric prints, including T-shirts and bags, we found our perfect match in the printshop, Kontrast Platform. They use water-based inks that feel natural to the touch and resist wear and tear from washing, and they do not harm the environment.

Our bags are designed and produced in Athens, while our T-shirts are made from organic cotton that is Fairtrade, Vegan Approved, and low in its carbon footprint.

Here’s to many more years of The Pattern Tales...

In 2020, The Pattern Tales celebrated 5 years, and although it was a very different year for everyone, we were happy to think how far we have come!

We couldn't be more grateful for the support and love we have found in the people who know us.
Some of them have trusted in this project since day one, and have supported us with their constant presence.
Of course, more people joined later, and they follow us with lots of passion, through all our new adventures and creative processes.

Exhibition at Plastico Gallery, Syros.

In May 2021, to celebrate this wonderful milestone, we organised a beautiful exhibition in our gallery in Syros, in which most of our artworks were presented.

If you visit Syros, or you live here, please stop by for a coffee and a chat, but also so you can see the originality of our work with your own eyes.

Considering the whole process and the time we dedicate to each design, we are unafraid to say that you will fall in love with the incomparable quality and value of our products.


Bibliophage: an avid or voracious reader.
Bibliophile: a lover of books especially for qualities of format.
Book sniffers: a person that has the uncontrollable need to smell books.
Book-bosomed: people who can't manage to go anywhere without a book .






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