“With heightened sensitivity to where we find beauty, I have a preoccupation with why humans are cruel to both the presence and absence of it. Abandoning my compulsion to restore the representational, I reconstruct beauty where we normally find fear.”

Fotini Galanes | Artist & Founder of My Mark Matters™ | Buffalo, NY

How it Started


Drawing Surfaces was the unforeseen origin of the project My Mark Matters™. Since 2011
educators, business owners and diverse organizations have been inviting the artist and founder Fotini Galanes to present this interactive experience in where differences are found and where we are the same.

The Useum

In 2011 the Burchfield Penney Art Center invited artist Fotini Galanes of Buffalo NY, to design an interactive installation for their visitors to discover the motivation and process for her abstract drawings. Drawing Surfaces was an experience and immersion into the response to objects, mark making and involvement. The five month installation produced over 7,000 one inch drawings by visitors.

Fotini’s profoundly controlled work is heavily based in vulnerability. Its focus, how humans
respond to surfaces, questions where we find beauty in the unrecognizable. For the BPAC
Useum space she designed, built and constructed 124 individual objects on solid 2 1/2 inch wooden cubes. “I originally planned for spheres, but they roll!” and invited a local coffee shop to furnish the space to simulate where she produces the majority of her drawings. All visitors to the BPAC were welcome into the ‘coffee shop’ and choose a surface to document in increments of
time. These timed drawings created progressions in values of light, medium and dark and progressions in detail. A 30’x 9’ wall was designated to a hand-drawn one inch grid where participants placed their individual drawings. At the closing of the 5 month installation well over 7,000 drawings were placed into the public piece.

Entering the Useum installation, Drawing Surfaces, is like entering Fotini’s world. She is letting you in on her secrets. Just like in any coffee house, patrons come and go and in Drawing Surfaces, visitors can drop-in and enjoy working as the artist does. She invites you into her studio where she spends hours upon hours drawing her surfaces. Visitors are provided paper and pencil, a timer, and a comfortable seating area. The timers provide a means to measure how long it takes to complete a drawing. Visitors can calculate and record their own drawing times.
Kathy Gaye Shiroki

Curatorial Associate, Burchfield Penney Art Center

Make your mark.