Philadelphia, PA – Two words define an artist. “If you don’t have passion and conviction as a creative person, your gift and desires only remain dreams”, says Venetia Bebi. Bebi certainly posses these attributes and a history to prove it.
She was a small child in kindergarten, when the teacher held a meeting with her parents and told them that their child had a gift of artistic ability. “For Greek parents this can be hard sometimes,” says Bebi. Having serious jobs was a concern for them. It took her parents years to accept their daughter’s creative ability and love of the arts. For Venetia Bebi, it is a path she’s crossed in her life several times and now appears to be destined for.
Venetia Bebi is a Philadelphia Artist who paints, draws, designs and creates jewelry, and is part of the creative duo Moon Sirens with her Sister Anthoula. On weekends you can find her creating jewelry at places like the Coty Perfume counter at Macy’s in Philadelphia, while her jewelry is often given as gifts with purchases of Marc Jacobs perfumes. Recently, her paintings were exhibited at the Philadelphian Art show gaining her much attention, which is evident through media publications that have been featuring her work as of late.
Born in the States to Greek parents, she moved to Greece when she was 6 years old and lived in Thessaloniki for 10 years. “Our family comes from Lehovo, a village (now more of a small city) in Florina. It’s nestled in the mountains close to the border with Kastoria in northwestern Greece. At night you felt you could touch the stars, they were so close.” Being exposed to the blue sky, sea, all the ancient art, ruins and culture, had an emotional effect on Bebi while living in Greece.
When she returned to the states as a teen, she says, “I missed the colors, the sounds, the smells of Greece. So I started putting them on canvas.” Although she applied her creative skills to her whole life, she didn’t do much with it as a profession. Instead, she chose to become a Special Education Teacher.
“Art made my job a lot easier but a work injury ended my teaching career rather early and that is when I started focusing more on the healing qualities of Art. Through Art and creating I was able to heal my injury, and in the process found a new passion”.
Moon Sirens Art/Jewelry Company launched in 2006 with sister Anthoula. “Everything we do, has a piece of Greece in it. Most of my artwork has the beautiful blues that I was exposed to, and my wirework was inspired by the delicate ancient jewelry I used to see in the museums as a child.”
She was looking for something different, something with flair in jewelry and nothing was satisfying her so she decided to make her own. Her first pieces were beaded earrings and big bold domino bracelets and rings that she hand drilled, painted and embellished to make a statement.
“People would stop me everywhere and ask me where I got my jewelry”, says Bebi. That is how Moon Sirens was created. Now she makes the Domino jewelry as custom orders, and the Photo bracelets are her biggest sellers.
She makes anything from fine wire jewelry to rubber band bracelets! She’s also working on a series of Energy paintings that she hopes to exhibit and share with the world.
“Our company name is based on Greek Mythology, as I still remember seeing the top of Mt Olympus from my balcony in Thessaloniki thinking that Zeus was watching my every move.” She lays much credit to her wild imagination and to her 3rd grade mythology class for her artistry.
“During my healing I made my first piece of jewelry out of the plates and screws from my injury while recovering from the operation,” says Bebi.
A member of the Philadelphia Greek community, Bebi was also a Sunday school teacher at St. Demetrios church in Upper Darby for many years. She also taught Greek school in the Aristotle academy, St Lukes in Broomall, and St. George in Media.
When asked about her decision to become an artist, Bebi responded with a flashback from her childhood in Greece. “When I was 4 years old visiting Greece, we went to our village and there they had a special school called Το Σπίτι του παιδιού for the girls that chose to not continue with school but instead learn Home Economics and a trade. They all sat in a circle and some girls would embroider, others were making Κιλιμια and others were making υφαντα στον αργαλιό and they were all singing as they were creating. I remember thinking that, that must be the best feeling in the world and I was so envious that I wasn’t old enough to enjoy such pleasure.”
Upcoming dates where Venetia will be featured are:
Friday October 11th at Macy’s in Center City 12-6pm and
Saturday October 12th at Macy’s in Lehigh Valley Mall 12-6pm