Twenty-seven year old, Vasili Kreatsoulas is the creator of Greek themed iPhone stickers (graphics that you can send to your friends via iMessage) called ‘Kalimojis’, which launched on the 2nd May on the Apple store.
Vasili studied advertising at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and is currently working at an advertising agency on Long Island, New York where he also lives. While studying and living in Pittsburgh, he reconnected with his Greek roots, also dancing for a Greek group his parents helped start called the ‘Grecian Odyssey Dancers’. It’s a tough question for Vasili to answer, when asked what his favourite Greek dance is?
“I love a good Kotsari and Pentozali. But my favourite is a variation of the Hasapserviko. It’s a lot of back and forth and can get quick depending on the band. My dream is to come up with a smooth Chiotiko routine I can bust out any time. I learned most of my Greek reading and writing by printing out the lyrics to greek songs and writing them over and over.”
It was in summer of 2017, when Vasili saw that a comedian created an iPhone Sticker Pack and he says “it planted a seed in my head that iPhone Stickers were something anyone could do. Fast forward a few weeks and I really wanted to send a text talking about Greek Gyros and a Frappe to a friend of mine but couldn’t find anything that really matched what a they look like. That’s when I decided to look into it.”
A good friend of Vasili’s works in the App Developing field and gave him the information required, and the best part, he was willing to help. “We started with iMessage because he knew the program and the majority of Greeks I know have iPhones. Procrastination set in and I didn’t start any graphics until October 2017, when I told a friend of mine I wanted to do it but didn’t have the time. She said she was going to hold me accountable to make sure I did it because she saw I was so passionate about it. So every Tuesday for a few months she would text me and make me send what I had designed so far to her. By New Year’s I had finished 90% of the graphics but got stuck on a name and the remaining graphics. I decided 2018 was going to be about doing things I’ve never done before and to express my Greek identity more so I buckled down and finished. And here I am!” Vasili says enthusiastically.
Vasili originally wanted to include the word Greek in the name but didn’t want people searching to think it had something to do with sororities and fraternities “I wanted it to sound like a Greek word that would roll off the tongue naturally. As I designed the Kalimera graphic I said Kalimojis to myself and really liked it.”
The Kalimojis app has lots of graphics from the word ‘Opa’, ‘Kalimera/Kalispera/Kalinixta’ with the Parthenon in the background, to ‘Xronia Polla’, ’S’agapo’ and many more to come. Vasili notes that “ironically the lack of a true Gyros emoji was the reason I started this and I never made it. So my next phase is going to be Greek food and Greek dancing graphics. I’m always looking for ideas but of course everyone who has it wants Greek curse words.”
You too can download the app on your IPhone or IPad by searching ‘Kalimojis’ on the App store and downloading it for only 99 cents! Once it’s downloaded open iMessage and you’ll see the App Store icon next to the Camera icon. Click on the App Store icon and the Kalimojis logo will be there and you’ll be able to add the stickers to any iMessage conversation.
Currently only available on the Apple App store, Vasilis is looking into making it available on Google Play and associated software devices, but wants “to make sure the demand is there. If enough people are requesting it for Android I will put the wheels in motion for it.”