Sitting and chatting with an internationally recognized artist might seem intimidating. But when speaking with the celebrated Stathis Trahanatzis, one finds just the opposite – rather, the approachable Greek native has made it his mission to share his life philosophy with students around the world.
Upon the request of Dr. Andreas Toupadakis, the world-renowned artist and philosopher Stathis Trahanatzis will come to UC Davis and share his life story.
Trahanatzis will be speaking Nov. 16 in Wellman 106 from 7:10 to 9 p.m., and Nov. 19 in Wellman 6 from 8:10 to 10 p.m.
“I’m very happy to discuss with students the importance of having faith and a vision in order to achieve your goals,” Trahanatzis said. “I want to give the ingredients for success that I learned from my own experiences to the students.”
Trahanatzis discovered his passion for painting at a young age. Despite harsh opposition from his parents, he immigrated to Paris to pursue his interest in art at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts, where he persevered through homelessness and poverty. Today, he is internationally recognized as a leader in the revival of Byzantine art, and is known among some contemporaries as the “modern-day Michelangelo.”
Based on his experiences, Trahanatzis emphasizes the role of self-reflection and the importance of disregarding external pressures to arrive at success.
“He encourages you to be yourself and to break away from the pressures that you might be feeling from your parents,” said Adrian House, senior microbiology major. “His philosophy is inspirational because in one way or another, it can apply to all of us. I’m not pursuing an art related career, but his advice still is important on how to be successful.”
Next week will not be Trahanatzis’ first trip to UC Davis. He previously spoke in Toupadakis’ freshman seminar in Spring 2009, “Success in College and After College.” Toupadakis initiated Trahanatzis’ return after witnessing the positive impact of the first visit to help promote his similar philosophy of inner happiness as the key to college success through his website, the lifecurve.com.
“Students, by listening to his message, will be able to focus on their inner-born abilities and can stop worrying what they can do and how,” Toupadakis said. “This time, I want all students on campus to be invited to listen to this important message, not just my freshmen seminar students.”
Opportunities like Trahanatzis’ visits are made possible by the Teaching Resources Center, which allocates grant money to the various freshman seminar courses. But due to the recent financial crisis, professors are being asked to sacrifice money allotted for their seminars to accommodate the cuts. As a result, students that have become accustomed to programs provided by the stipend money may see a reduction of these educational outlets in the coming years.
“I hope that despite this financial crisis we are in, the program providing more than a hundred seminars per quarter to students will continue being unaffected,” Toupadakis said. “I have been able to keep these programs going by having financial support from the Teaching Recourses Center. This money, even though it is not much, still has been a great help to me and therefore to my students. Without that help these projects would not exist.”
Toupadakis indicated that all students can benefit from listening to Trahanatzis’ universal message.
“Because his message is profound and universal, it doesn’t just apply to my seminar students or art students,” said Toupadakis. “His message is that by knowing yourself, you have completed the first step toward total success.”
REBECCA SHRAGGE can be reached at email@example.com.