Jorja Kavellaris: How the VCE student’s mural ended up at George Calombaris’ restaurant

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By Mary Sinanidis

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as far as award-winning architect Billy Kavellaris’ talented daughter, Jorja Kavellaris, is concerned. 

Inspired by Greek culture and her ongoing project on Greek virtues, Jorja eagerly grabbed the opportunity to showcase her artistic skills by creating a stunning mural for George Calombaris’ newest venture, The Hellenic House Project

The artwork was commissioned by George Calombaris and consists of a two storey contemporary narration of Hellenic inspired themes that connects the ground floor and upper alfresco terrace. LinkedIn: Billy Kavellaris.

“I had known for a while that dad was working on the restaurant. Later they had commissioned artists to create contemporary line drawings for the walls. Knowing my interest in art and my ongoing project on Greek virtues for VCE, my dad asked me if I would give it a go,” Jorga explained. 

“I had already been experimenting with the subject matter, so I had done some prior research and started sketching different symbols and emblems.” 

Jorja Kavellaris fulfilling the brief to create a colourful and engaging artistic wayfinding element for patrons to navigate through the various spaces of the building. Photo: Billy Kavellaris.

With guidance from her architect father, she developed a monochromatic line work style that seamlessly connects the ground floor foyer to the first-floor restaurant. The artwork pays homage to Greek mythology and culture, incorporating Greek gods, traditional motifs, and a contemporary narration of the Greek taverna. 

Jorja’s skillful composition and passion for art shine through, leaving a lasting impression on this exciting collaboration.

“I wanted to create something that not only pleased my dad and George, but also resonated with my own artistic sensibilities. It was an opportunity to showcase my skills and prove to myself that I could excel in a challenging project,” she said, adding that she enjoyed the project and experience that opened her eyes to career possibilities. 

“It’s a career path I may consider exploring further.” 

When the architect presented the design options to the celebrity chef, he chose Jorja’s work as a design feature in the restaurant and was surprised to find out it was the work of Kavellaris’ own daughter. 

Jorja Kavellaris and George Calombaris. Photo: Billy Kavellaris.

Read more: Architect Billy Kavellaris embraces Greek kitsch and takes it from Reservoir to upmarket Toorak

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