Meet P3YMON: the artist bringing creativity to Nea Kavala

Written by Flavia Ceccarelli and Sara Ferrigno.

For many, painting and drawing are a way of expressing feelings and communicating emotions. Drawing can be a calming and soothing activity for the soul when everything around you is always changing and out of your control. In part, this is the case of 20-year-old Peyman, from Herat, Afghanistan, who is currently one of the OCC Greece volunteers living in the Nea Kavala refugee camp. For him, drawing is a way to stop thinking, turn off his brain, and just create something. 

P3YMON – he prefers to be called by his artistic name – started drawing when he and his family arrived in Greece six years ago, when he was fourteen years old. It was his mother who encouraged him to start drawing and developing his talent. P3YMON told us that she showed him a picture of him at four years old drawing and she encouraged him to cultivate this talent, initially by copying other artists’ works and by trying different techniques and tools. She provided him with different art supplies so that he could experiment and find his own form of expression. 

He tried oil painting, acrylic, crayons, and graffiti-style drawing. However, what caught his attention, and what is now one of his main means of expression, is doodling. He is passionate about this form of art, which he regards as extremely fun and challenging at the same time: he pays careful attention to details and he wishes to express as many emotions as possible in just one drawing. 

Youtube was a valuable source of inspiration and learning for P3YMON: he told us about his days spent watching artists from all over the world creating their works, trying to get as much as possible from their techniques. He has never had a teacher, or the opportunity to attend an art academy. It was also rare to find someone around him, in the community, who was interested in arts with whom he could share his passion. This is also one of the reasons why he decided to start a YouTube channel where he shares in timelapse the creative process behind his pieces of art, with the aim of sharing his works with as many people as possible and maybe having the chance to connect with fellow artists. He is also very active on Instagram, where he shares his final creations.

In a context where a sense of emergency is the norm, after leaving everything behind to escape life-threatening situations and having to overcome challenges to provide safety for your family, you may lose interest in art or in fact any hobby. P3YMON, however, was keen to pursue his art, having to do it all on his own, with the tools and the space he could get. Maybe this is the reason why he feels so proud every time he realizes how much he has improved day after day. 

In Greece, P3YMON lived for a while in a house provided by the ESTIA program for refugee people. The Greek government is currently dismantling it and transferring the people to refugee camps. He explains that when you live for years in a house, where you get your own space and some privacy, and all of a sudden you are forced to move out and be transferred to a refugee camp – where everyone gets at most 2 square meters of personal space – your whole life changes and, in consequence, your creativity and motivation as well. 

Little by little, P3YMON is starting to get his motivation back to draw. During the tough process of moving out of the apartment into a refugee camp, he lost the will and the energy to create new drawings. But he kept thinking about new ideas that he could not wait to turn into real pieces of art, once this tumultuous, yet temporary, situation would come to an end. 

He has many plans and ideas for the future: he wishes to get in touch with more artists to see their creative process, get inspired by them, and eventually collaborate with them. To make this dream come true, he has started to think about applying to a school of fine arts, somewhere in Europe, preferably in Germany, to keep improving and learning. 

One of P3YMON’s biggest goals is to create his own clothing brand with his art on it. He already has a piece of clothing with one of his first digital drawings printed on it: a very nice hoodie!

He was so excited when he found out that there was a printing shop in Kilkis that could print his digital drawing onto a piece of clothing. 

Additionally, he has found a website where you can upload your artwork and let the customer choose which piece to print on t-shirts and buy them. But he wishes to find people who know this world well, with whom he can collaborate and receive advice from, and then start realizing and producing his own designed clothing.

We share P3YMON’s story because we believe it is truly inspiring. There are many different aspects and nuances worth seeing when you get in touch with the complexity of asylum seekers’ lives. In him, we saw the driving force of perseverance and passion being cultivated in an uncertain situation.