In the heart of the bustling city of Albany, New York, resides a talented artist whose roots span the rich cultures of both Albania and Greece. Efthimios (Altin) Stoja, an esteemed artist and iconographer, has left an indelible mark on the art scene in Upstate New York, especially within the Orthodox community. His journey began with ancient frescoes adorning the walls of his father’s village church in Albania, igniting a lifelong passion for art and religious symbolism.
Altin’s artistic journey led him to Nea Makri, Greece, where he underwent rigorous training in Byzantine/Macedonian style iconography under the tutelage of the esteemed master artist Tsuni Spilio. Armed with newfound skills and a deep appreciation for the tradition, Altin ventured to establish his own studio, where he continued to refine his craft and create stunning works of art that spoke to the soul.
In pursuit of his dreams and seeking new avenues for his art, Altin made his way to the United States, where he found a home in Albany. His artistic talents quickly caught the attention of the St. Sophia Orthodox Church, which invited him to collaborate on artistic projects. Since then, Altin’s mesmerizing iconography, characterized by intricate movements and vivid facial expressions, has found a cherished place within Albany-area Orthodox Churches.
Altin’s artistic approach is nothing short of remarkable. He employs a diverse range of techniques, such as canvas transfer and architectural drawings, to precisely position the subjects of his creations. His distinctive style is particularly evident in the portrayal of facial structures, with a signature reflection in the eyes, adding a touch of uniqueness to his religious and secular art.
While his religious works breathe life into biblical figures and contemporary portraits, Altin’s secular pieces often draw inspiration from the picturesque landscapes of the Mediterranean and Upstate New York. The serene waters of the Mediterranean and the abundance of lakes, rivers, and waterfalls in New York have served as a wellspring of creativity for Altin, making his art an exquisite reflection of the natural beauty that surrounds him.
Beyond the sacred confines of churches, Altin’s large-scale murals and smaller masterpieces have graced numerous public venues, further expanding the reach and impact of his art. Notable showcases include the Albany Center Gallery’s Member Show in December 2020 and the 2021 “Angels and Icons” exhibit in The New York Folklore Gallery.
Celebrate Tradition and Artistry at the Folklife Center’s 30th Anniversary Festival
For those eager to experience the magic of Altin Stoja’s art and the cultural diversity of over 50 other artisans, musicians, dancers, cooks, and more, mark your calendars for Tuesday, July 25, 2023. The Folklife Center’s 30th Anniversary Festival will be held at City Park in Glens Falls, NY, from 10 AM to 5 PM. This vibrant event promises to be a celebration of heritage and creativity, a platform where artists like Altin can showcase their talent and passion to a diverse and enthusiastic audience.
The festival is open to all ages and is free of charge, making it an ideal opportunity for families, friends, and art enthusiasts to come together and experience the wonders of tradition, art, and culture.
As we immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of Altin Stoja’s artistic journey, we witness the power of art to transcend borders and time. His work serves as a bridge that connects the ancient traditions of Albania and Greece to the vibrant art scene of Upstate New York, reminding us of the enduring beauty found in the fusion of cultures and the creativity of passionate individuals.
Join us at the Folklife Center’s 30th Anniversary Festival and be captivated by the brilliance of Altin Stoja’s artistry. Let this event be a testament to the enriching power of art, as we continue to celebrate and preserve cultural heritage for generations to come.