Each October, Cyprus Open Studios (COS) offers the public access to artists, creators and makers and gives a valuable insight into how artwork is produced. For 10 days the early autumn event is all about visiting studios, meeting artists and artisans, seeing them at work, browsing completed works and seeing work in progress, and even trying your hand at making something for yourself where workshops are offered.
There is no selection process which means that anyone can have a go and build up some confidence in your home studio before branching out to bigger and greener pastures. But one thing is for sure: you will always have somewhere to create whatever it is you are creating – it’s usually called a studio or a workshop. That’s what the public wants to see, as it is fascinating!
Yes, this is a demo and… a studio!
Potters, painters, woodcarvers, jewellers and all kinds of creative people of all kinds of disciplines throw open the doors of their studios for an annual celebration of… ART.
Cyprus is SO much more than beaches, bars and tavernas! Let’s help the public find the hidden treasures of our beloved island – it will further help with introducing the public – including the tourists – to get to know what we are all about.
It’s always a good idea to join other artist(s) and will also alleviate costs. Who do you know in your area you could share with or who would like to share with you? How about approaching your local mukhtar and using the local school, church hall or … taverna!?
Get to know how Cyprus Open Studios operate by visiting the website, read the FAQ as well as our BLOG – that way you will be able to engage the people around you and make it a BIG event that will bring traffic to your village or town, and ultimately to your own work. Isn’t that what you want?
You need to fully buy into the Open Studios concept and not expect a lightning bolt of success immediately. Yes, it is a great deal of commitment but the outcome – although not always immediately apparent – can have many long-term benefits such as future commissions and connections which materialise over time. You meet some very interesting people and will emerge on the other side as slightly different human beings! As an artist, it is a bit too easy to lose sight of the main goal which is to keep making new work. Part of the point of opening your work space is to showcase that you are moving forward as an artist, year after year.
This year, Cyprus Open Studios will take a slightly different shape: We will be opening our studio or work space doors during a consecutive 10-day period, e.g. from 5 to 14 October 2018 and you can choose any days in that period… but at least two days. We would strongly recommend including at least one weekend.
The reason for this is that, in our experience, the four weekends that we opened in the past, just stretched it out a bit too long; by the third and fourth weekends, both artists and visitors got a bit tired… By compressing the time period, we will also be able to push more resources at it and make it sparkle and shine!
We have secured space in Limassol at ART STUDIO 55, which is provided by the Pegasus Art Foundation, from 5 to 14 October 2018 inclusive. Please see their Facebook page here:
A small catch is that the artists who choose to use this space will have to curate the show themselves AND be in attendance for the duration of the event. You will be able to work on the spot which is exactly what we aim to offer the public: to see the artist(s) at work and to be available for conversation. The upside is that there will be no commission charged on sales! And the space is very centrally located at Hero’s Square, close to the Rialto Theatre. Further details will be provided on request should you be interested in this option.
PLEASE NOTE: this option is NOT included on the registration page – if you would like to make use of it, please contact us email@example.com
Finally, we can all get a bit bogged down in the advertising, communications and social media – we at COS try to make things easier for you! Remember it is the work that matters most of all. You are only as good as your last piece.
So let me finish with the words of Andy Warhol: “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
REGISTRATION FOR THE 2018 EVENT CLOSES ON 30 JUNE 2018!
The catalogue is prepared in July and will be ready for distribution in September.
Printers often close during August!
DON’T WAIT – ACT NOW!
We would LOVE to welcome you as part of our art family!
As a creator, no one can tell you what to create; that is between you and whatever you are creating. What happens in your studio or workshop or even on your kitchen table, is your business. But a ’business’ it certainly is… if you are serious about what you do.
Once upon a time they used their walls…
However, what happens with your work when it is finished can become a problem. Traditionally, artists are not inclined to be business people as the left and the right sides of the brain function on different levels: left is for business, right is for creativity.
Often you will see, when entering the work space of a creative person, stacks of canvasses and finished pieces against walls, on shelves, in cupboards, and just about everywhere you can imagine.
What you do in your studio will remain in your studio forever if you do not engage with the outside world. It is very easy to become totally engrossed in what you do, but that will not provide the means to live a decent life.
All over the world, artists engage with the public in many ways; traditionally through the gateway of galleries. There is nothing wrong with that. However, it can be limiting. Enlisting the services of an agent or PR person is another way to promote your work but these methods, despite being excellent, can be pricy.
Somewhere, someone came up with an idea to assist artistic people in a much simpler way: bringing the public to the source. Yes, opening your studio in order to allow the public to enjoy your space, your creations and above all else, yourself!
Perhaps you work better when you are alone, hermit-style… I know I do! But we need to become available, accessible, and welcoming for those who wish to know more about where the art came from, how it was produced and by whom. You cannot assume that people will hear about your art in some magical or mystical way. Joining a Facebook group or creating a page of your own with your art on, is not going to cut the mustard, as the saying goes. You need to take people by the hand and lead them, step by step, towards The Source: You – and your work.
And even more that just becoming available, giving the viewer a reason to be there. A good reason – or reasons – to desire what you create; to want something they will look at every day, either in their home or at their workplace. Give the viewers what they want!
Derek Henry really loved this one by Mary-Lynne Stadler!
And that is where Cyprus Open Studios comes is. Becoming a member provides you with a platform in the form of your own full page on the website, organisation of the event, promotion via all media, and a printed catalogue to keep. The event takes place during a specified period each October when we welcome the public into our spaces in order to communicate, share and even sell directly to our visitors. However, the main objective is to introduce you and your art in such a way that is memorable and thus encourage people to return for more.
But that is not all you get when your register with COS! Your entry goes live as soon as you register, and it remains on the website until the end of February after which it goes into the archives, where it remains accessible for as long as the website provider will allow.
Not only does Cyprus Open Studios (COS) offer you all of the above, but we also offer you a non-participating membership at a reduced fee for simply featuring your own page on the website but without opening your studio or work-space. This gives you access to all the news and activities.
And there is more…
Next event is the exhibition, opening on 8 May 2018 with a “Meeting the Artists” evening, at the Hellenic Centre, 16-18 Paddington Street, Marylebone, London W1U 5AS on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 18:30 to 20:30. The exhibition will run until 30th May 2018.
That is followed by the exhibition at Candid Arts Trust, 3-5 Torrens Street, Islingon, London EC1V 1NQ under the auspices of the Salon des Refuses from 7 to 10 June 2018.
Why do we mention it here? Well, OGA – Open Galleries Abroad, are responsible for assisting artists with the entire process of registration, transportation and storage (between exhibitions). OGA is the international division of Cyprus Open Studios.
A few images from the 2017 Salon des Refuses exhibition:
Please visit our website, where you will find the necessary information. You will also find additional questions answered under the FAQ tab as well as much more by reading the blog posts. And don’t forget to click on the FOLLOW button when you are there!
Last, but certainly not least – the Winner of the free Prize Draw of 2017, Meg Adamson, claimed her prize of €150,00 and decided to use it towards lessons in sculpting. Her chosen teacher was Karen Betts of Artemis Studios in Chlorakas and here you can see a few items Meg has created under Karen’s tutelage. She is set on refining the art of sculpting and we wish her everything of the best.
L to R: Maria Etheridge, Meg Adamson, Karen Betts
In 2018, visitors will be able to choose between two juicy prizes, i.e. 3 nights’ free accommodation on a Greek island or four free lessons from a professional COS member. More information on these will be available shortly – do keep an eye on the website and/or blog.
Whoever you are, and wherever you may find yourself now, we hope to see you in our studios in October!
(author-of-myself on Tumblr’s artwork – thank you!)
There is very little in life that irritates me more than waiting… patience is not one of my virtues! They say that everything comes to those who wait; I say: eventually! I think we all want it now…
Apparently, it’s a millennial thing but I don’t even have that excuse… I’m from the rock ‘n roll era where everything was done with enormous energy and gusto.
The 1st of March 2018 sees the start of this year’s Cyprus Open Studios event when registration opens. The deadline for registration is 30 June 2018, which will give us just enough time in July to put together the information for the catalogue to go to the printers. As you know, August is holiday-month in Europe…
You have 4 months to register – do not delay – you will not be included
if you miss the deadline!
Please go to: www.cyprusopenstudios.com and click on Register here> Cyprus Open Studios – the form for online registration will pop up and further instructions will be sent to you by email.
This year, Cyprus Open Studios will take a different shape: We will be opening our studio or work space doors during a consecutive 10-day period, e.g. from 5 to 14 October 2018 and you can choose any days in that period… but at least two days. We would strongly recommend including at least one weekend.
The reason for this is that, in our experience, the four weekends that we opened in the past, is just stretching it out a bit too long; by the third and fourth weekends, both artists and visitors got a bit tired… By compressing the time period, we will also be able to push more resources at it and make it sparkle and shine!
When you register, please make sure you have read the terms and conditions at the bottom of the registration form. The fee structure has not changed since we started in 2016 apart from one additional option: You may become a member only (non-participating) for €35,00 if you truly, honestly, absolutely do not have a space to invite visitors into. However, if you DO wish to be a participating member and wish to share with other artists at their venue, please contact us and we will see if that could be arranged. We are also looking at alternative venues such as community centres, schools and other possibilities. Your suggestions would be appreciated!
We have secured space in Limassol at ART STUDIO 55, which is provided by the Pegasus Art Foundation, from 5 to 14 October 2018 inclusive. Please see their Facebook page here:
The catch is that the artists who choose to use this space will have to curate the show themselves AND be in attendance for the duration of the event. You will be able to work on the spot which is exactly what we aim to offer the public: to see the artist(s) at work and available for conversation. Obviously, a rotation ‘duty’ schedule will have to be worked out. HOWEVER, the cost for using this space will be €145,00 per artist and you have to be a member of Cyprus Open Studios at €35,00 for the year – we need to include you on the website. The upside is that there will be no commission charged on sales! And the space is very centrally located at Hero’s Square, next to the Rialto Theatre. Further details will be provided on request.
PLEASE NOTE: this option is NOT included on the registration page – if you would like to make use of it, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In order to attract more visitors to the studios, we are offering TWO OPTIONS of prizes to be won:
3 nights FREE accommodation (see images below) on the Greek island of Kalymnos in 2019, depending on availability. Full details of the prize will be advised as soon as we have tied it all up – it’s gorgeous! All the winner needs to do is… GET THERE!
4 FREE sessions of lessons with a professional artist – the winner will be able to choose between several who have offered this option! Again, more details on the website very soon!
If that does not encourage visitors to your studio or work space, we can’t guess what will…
INVITE A FRIEND FROM ABROAD
We would, once again, encourage participants to invite an artist friend from abroad, who will be hosted at their home and share their COS space – FOR FREE! Yes, we will not charge a registration fee for your friend! Think of a dear friend whom you have not seen in a while and invite them to share the Cyprus art experience – they will love you for it!
OGA – OPEN GALLERIES ABROAD
This activity is part of the Cyprus Open Studios operation whereby we handle everything on behalf of each artist, from registration for each event to returning unsold pieces… and everything in between! More on the website very soon! See our previous blog post.
And the art is on its way… the pieces will be packed in a wooden container, which should keep it as safe as possible. Really exciting, isn’t it? We wish each participating artist the very best of luck!
Until the next one, keep on creating! And if you are not a creator, join in the fun by visiting studios in October!
Way back in 2015 when there were rumblings about Pafos2017, we at COS were a little concerned about the effect it would have on our own preparations and our events.
We went ahead with our planning and groundwork anyway and, as you will no doubt know, the 2016 event was very satisfactory for a first-year attempt. And then, along came 2017 and we quivered and trembled as we discovered that there were numerous artists who felt they would be spreading themselves too thinly if they participated in both Pafos2017 and COS.
Of course, Pafos2017 was a once-in-a-lifetime happening and one would be rather thick-headed not to opt for the opportunities afforded by such an event.
What we found rather surprising were the numbers that did register for the Cyprus Open Studios event despite the stiff competition. It was unexpected, to say the least, and we in COS’s virtual office were delighted! We wish to thank each and everyone who met the challenge head-on and helped us make COS 2017 the success that it turned out to be. It infused our resolve to make future years bigger and better!
In 2017, we have also introduced a further service to artists who are serious about their work: exhibitions abroad!
Work was duly submitted in digital format to the Royal Academy’s summer 2017 show but the competition proved just that little bit too tough. However, the artists then went on to be exhibited through the Salon des Refuses and, by a system of popular vote by the public, Aristi Hadjisavva came 8th out of the selected 12 artists. Well done, Aristi!
Marina Emphietzi Harris (left) with Aristi Hadjisavva at the Salon des Refuses show
In 2018, we will once again take participants to the Royal Academy’s selection – you never know when you might strike it lucky – and after that there is again the Salon des Refuses exhibition. Another exhibition is planned in May at the Hellenic Centre in London. Marina Emphietzi Harris is the person in charge of the
“Open Galleries Abroad” (OGA)
and if you are interested in getting your feet wet abroad, you need to contact her immediately! Judging for admission by the individual institutions is strict… and deadlines are very tight.
The 2017 Prize Draw proved very popular again and the winner was drawn out of the bag on 15 November 2017. Unfortunately we cannot upload the video but you may see it here.
The lucky winner is Meg Adamson and she will claim her prize when she returns to Cyprus in the new year. Congratulations, Meg! We are sure you will enjoy your lessons in sculpting enormously at Karen Betts’ Artemis Studios.
Here are a few images of this year’s event…
We have also introduced something exciting this year: an ART BUS which, due to a shortage of funding, we could only utilise for one day. However, we must give a BIG thank you to Cyprus Tourism Organisation for the sponsorship of this bus for 2017. We are working on a greater, in-depth coverage of the art routes for 2018 with several buses and several weekends/days and hope that CTO will support us again. These images were taken at various stops along the way from Kato Paphos to Polis.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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Planning the 2018 COS event has already started and it would be great if we could get more feedback from the 2017 participants so that we may improve the experience for members and the public alike – let’s hear your voice!
You may know the ‘other’ sister website which came into being when we were not able to use the ‘open studios’ words in a name. When that hurdle was out of the way, www.art-en-route-cyprus.com became a bit redundant and it suffered neglect. In the last few weeks we have been forced to take action as we were not going to be blackmailed into paying for something we did not need, e.g. a security upgrade. It was decided to phase out art-en-route and link it to COS where members enjoy far greater exposure.
In addition to that, in 2018 we are offering an alternative membership to those who, for any reason, wish not to open their own studios to the public. Often studios are inside homes, which artists prefer to keep private. If you wish to register for COS 2018 but feel reluctant to open your private dwelling, please contact us and we will inform you of the alternative membership we offer.
And here is another little gem: we are considering offering “alternative spaces” whereby artists may get even bigger exposure than ever before. This is in the planning stages and we will keep you updated as plans progress. However, as exciting as that may sound, we must stress that the main objective of Cyprus Open Studios is to introduce the public to the creative process of each artist; they love it! That is why the events – worldwide – are called OPEN STUDIOS.
We are also considering offering venues where artists and artisans will be able to offer workshops and demonstrations – again something very popular with the public. And… we will get you in the loop as soon as the Festive Season is in the past.
And speaking of which… may we take this opportunity to wish you and yours a joyful Festive Season and the best ever year for 2018!
Finally, for those of you who like to keep a finger on the global pulse, here is some reading matter which we found informative! There are some really good points here:
Yes, 9 weeks before the first Cyprus Open Studios 2017 weekend…
Are you ready?
We would urge you to read your handbook and see what needs to be done and when. You will soon receive the final draft of the catalogue with this year’s schedule to proofread and sign off. You will also soon receive the order form for promotional material such as the number of leaflets and posters, directional signage, etc. Here at the virtual office of COS we are not on holiday…
However, what we would like to share with you is a really interesting collection of famous (and not so famous) artists and their studios, giving you an insight into why the public love to visit YOUR studios – they want more of what you’ve got! Let’s give them satisfaction and let them experience the agony and the ecstasy of what it means to be
Have a look at these; they really are fascinating!
Have fun with your summer holidays but don’t forget that there are only 9 weeks before we have to be on show! Exciting, isn’t it!
We have a few plans up our sleeves for 2018 as all the excitement of Pafos2017 will have passed – we need to carry the momentum into new projects to get more and more exposure, here and abroad, for our beloved artists and artisans who live and work on our Island of Love!
She’s beautiful, isn’t she!
From the COS Team – till next time!
P.S. Apologies, but we do not know who to credit for the image – no intention of copyright violation.
Stepping up to the plate is a baseball term and in essence means: Throw me that ball so that I can hit it for six!
Life has a way of throwing curve-balls at one. If you know anything about cricket, there are more ways to throw a ball than batsmen would like, especially Shane Warne’s googly. We are all batters or batsmen, constantly stopping those balls ending our innings.
Now that had absolutely nothing to do with art or artists! Just felt like having a bit of fun…
Sometimes that canvas sits on the easel and you look at it with suspicion; it could at any moment throw you a ball you were not expecting. It could go either way, causing you to have a brilliant end product or… binning it. I’ve had one on my easel now for the best part of five or six weeks which started off really well. Then came the ‘leave it for a bit’ period and let it talk to you. Well, this one spoke loud and clear and said it was all wrong. Scraped off lots of the oils in certain places and let it rest… and that’s where it still sits. I honestly feel like binning it, as the only way I could rescue the thing would be to use my electric sander and get rid of all the impasto oil paint – and start again. Time will tell…
The time I spent learning from Jerry Fresia at Lake Como in Italy resonates within when a painting doesn’t work. His lesson was simple: When you paint, become more of yourself. He was so right!
This makes me wonder how I could wander so far away from myself when I painted that painting – or attempted to paint that painting! Where did I take the wrong turning? Time to retrace my steps and look again.
So it is with the creation of all art; we need to keep on track, stay focused and aim for self-satisfaction. There is nothing Narcissistic about that; you simply do what you were put on this earth for in the first place: to create. Reach for that place within that makes your Being sing with joy!
I guess that is one of the reasons – if not the main one – why we love doing what we do with Cyprus Open Studios. It is almost as good as going to an art gallery or museum, familiarising oneself with the work of the wonderful creators who live and work in Cyprus. We feel as if we are getting to know each one rather intimately when they share their reasons for creating their art, even though we have never met.
The good news is that we do have the opportunity to meet these creators of beauty and joy – each October during Cyprus Open Studios month. We are still accepting registrations until the end of May!
More good news is that we will be hosting, in collaboration with Paphos2017, a one-day open studios event in Makarios Street in the old town, between the market and Kennedy Square.
Several of the shops selling arts and crafts will also be participating, with artists working on the spot and ever ready to tell you more about their techniques, passions and inspirations. Pafos2017 will be creating a route map and COS will be in one of the shops currently awaiting a new tenant, where visitors will get a taste of what’s in store in October. We would love to see you there – watch the press for further details and we will also keep you updated on progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Last, but most certainly not least – in case you have not seen it before, COS actively assist artists to exhibit in London at prime venues. Six COS members tried their luck with the Royal Academy of Arts and, following on, can be seen at the Salon des Refuses venue in Islington from 1 June 2017.
We are preparing to follow on to another venue later – more information will follow once available.
Opportunities arise all the time and it is heart-warming when someone from abroad, planning a visit to Cyprus, contacts us to ask for information about workshops. That is where we want to be! It is not all about October; it is all about the entire year of your membership!
In closing, this quote from the Dalai Lama caught my eye:
“The intelligent way to be selfish is to work for the welfare of others”
The annual open studios events all over the world provide the means for self-guided tours of artist studios and workshops, totally free of charge to the public. This art-loving and art-buying public enjoys one-on-one exchanges with creative people and appreciate learning more about what inspires the creators of the pieces they particularly like – and may buy. They are fascinated by demonstrations of techniques and enjoying some refreshments at the same time.
You may wonder why we do what we do. Well, I asked myself that same question just yesterday!
The answer was quite simple: to serve those who take the trouble to share the manifestation of their hopes and dreams in the form of their creations, and the second part of the answer: to serve an appreciative public who respect what you do and are taking the trouble to pay you a visit!
It also gives us the opportunity to collaborate with organisations such as PAFOS2017 and Cyprus Tourist Organisation as well as other respected people island-wide. Don’t you think that’s exciting? Your name and what you do become better known in the process.
BUT… here’s the catch: You need to register as a member of Cyprus Open Studios by 30 April 2017.
Here are some benefits of becoming a member of COS – Cyprus Open Studios
* A website entry – a page of your own – on the site with 8 images of your work, directions and a map to find you, your artist statement, as well as your detailed CV if you wish it to be included
* Publicity over all media, newspapers, magazines, radio and television
* Publicity abroad in art and culture publications and travel magazines
* Being featured in the printed catalogue with 1 image, again on a page of your own – not only distributed locally, but also published on a global publishing platform … the entire year of your membership – and beyond. Valuable beyond measure!
* Gaining recognition is critical to being or becoming a professional artist or artisan
* Signage to guide visitors to your studio or workshop
* Networking opportunities with fellow members
* You gain exposure to the art-loving and art-buying public
* You take 100% of the direct sales of your artwork as well as the proceeds of any commissions you gain
* Be a part of the larger community and meet other artists from all over the island and abroad
* You have the opportunity to build your vein of gold: your mailing list!
* COS serves as an inspiration to create new work every year and to interact with a deeply admiring public – yes, they love it! Hundreds of open studio events worldwide are proof of that!
Cyprus Open Studios have also negotiated with galleries in Larnaca, Limassol, Nicosia and Paphos to host Cyprus Open Galleries – register as a member under Cyprus Open GALLERIES and you stand a chance of being part of a curated exhibition in one of four or five well-respected galleries island-wide. The fee is incredibly low for a curated exhibition!
Over and above this, we also assist artists – physically – to exhibit abroad. Six hopefuls applied for the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Show, and whilst they were not accepted, they now go on to the Salon des Refuses exhibition, also in London. Marina Emphietzi works tirelessly to promote you and your work in London. There are other venues lined up, still in negotiating stages, but if you are serious about what you do, we can help you widen your platform. The intention is to show elsewhere in Europe throughout the year of your membership.
Lastly, the winner of the 2016 COS Prize Draw came to claim her prize. She chose to put the €150,00 voucher, sponsored by art-en-route-cyprus.com, towards a sculpture made by Karen Betts of Artemis Studios. Here are some happy faces on the occasion:
Karen Betts, Terri Cook and Maria Etheridge at Artemis Studios with Aphrodite’s Tail
Cyprus Open Studios run a free prize draw during the month of October whereby visitors collect signatures from four separate studio locations to qualify. The completed form goes into a big bag and an impartial observer publicly pulls out the name of the lucky winner of the Gift Voucher. This year, it will once again be sponsored by art-en-route-cyprus.com, a directory website for all artists living and working in Cyprus, some of whom are participants in Cyprus Open Studios.
Collaborating with Pafos2017 for a one day event in June for COS members – more next time.
The opportunity to use empty shops as studios for those who do not have their own studios and wish to participate anyway. We are in the process of negotiating with Pafos2017 in this regard.
Sometimes it does help to trawl through stuff on the internet! Often I think that I’m wasting time by sitting and reading what others have written, but more often than not, I pick up really useful tips and tricks.
This blog post came right up to scratch as we at Cyprus Open Studios have just started the on-line registration process for our second year. We are trying to learn as much as possible from others who have been there before – this one is a diamond:
Everyone who is interested in art will have pursued their interest by visiting museums, galleries, street art fairs, open studios, or someplace where they could feast their eyes on the magic that is art.
Let’s consider art as magic. Firstly, magicians do sometimes appear out of a puff of smoke but how long has it taken that magician to create that magic trick? It was first a thought, then the work began to manifest that thought into reality. After much hard work and many mistrials, the magician goes ahead and charms the audience who responds with oohs and aahs. What we often forget is that the trick may have taken years to perfect.
Art is magic. The artist walked the exact same path as the magician by first dreaming about making the piece of art you are looking at and has probably taken quite a long time arriving at the point of showing it. Possibly even years of study, with mounting student loans and burning the candle at both ends, but in the end, there it was – magic manifested.
All over the world artists, makers and creators share their magic with those who admire not only the end product, but also the making of such magic. There are many who aspire also to create such magic. Not the same magic though; a trick is only a trick when no one else can do it. But those who wish to make their own magic go ahead and do their years of study and hard work and experience mistrials until they are able to share their own kind of magic with others.
Here in Cyprus there are many magicians who create their own form of magic: ART, manifested in paintings, sculpture, mosaics, glass work, jewellery, ceramics – oh, too many to name here. If you happened to have been in Cyprus during the month of October, you will have had the opportunity to see how this magic was made. Cyprus Open Studios 2016 ran over the first four weekends in October and if you were amongst the close-to-2000 visitors to the artists’ studios and work spaces across the island, you were some of the lucky ones who could meet these magicians.
If you were not so lucky to be visiting our Island of Love during this period, do not despair – it will happen again in October 2017 and it will be even bigger and better and more magical than Cyprus has ever seen. It’s not every day you get to talk to an artist about their work and their process, especially in the place where they make their work. We think it is magical. We trust that you will agree.
There are plans in the pipeline to make our second year of Cyprus Open Studios truly magical. It is a very important year for Cyprus, and especially for Paphos, the 2017 European Capital of Culture, twinned with Aarhus in Denmark. Expect works of art in every imaginable medium celebrating the rich cultural heritage of this jewel in the Mediterranean. Excitement is running at fever pitch as we are all preparing for this momentous occasion.
If you wish to be part of all this (as an artist – of just about any kind), registration for participation will open on 1 December 2016. You will be able to access the registration form on our website at http://www.cyprusopenstudios.com/index.php/en/membership – BUT … we are in the process of giving our website a face-lift which we think will knock your socks off.
And there is one really big surprise waiting in the wings. But you will have to be patient as it needs to be ready for unveiling when it has been fine tuned. Don’t forget to click on the FOLLOW button on this page so that you will get automatic updates in future.
If you wish to be part of this phenomenal occasion by sponsoring our event, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please send us an email: email@example.com
Angela runs the Kouklia Artworks, an Aladdin’s Cave of artistic treasures, where she represents many talented and creative people.
However, I wanted to find out a little more about the person and set out with some questions and a notebook.
Maria Etheridge: When did you start painting? Has it always been a passion or are you a ‘late bloomer’?
Angela: I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t sketching and painting, in fact I can remember drawing on my bedroom wall, and indeed, on the classroom floor when at Infants’ School – so I guess it’s always been a compulsion with me. I went to art school many years ago – back in the ‘70s – Leamington Spa, but then followed the family trend and pursued what appeared to be a ‘safer’ career in Social Work. However, my artwork has been a real bonus in working with people, so ‘it has always been there’, as part of my working life. I have used my art professionally throughout my career, without the specific title ‘Art Therapy’.
I suppose I may be referred to as ‘A Hobbyist’ by some. However, now having time to develop, I enjoy an excellent turnover of sales and demand, therefore let’s hear it for ‘The Hobbyists’ as it is possible to enjoy a great deal of success and recognition.
M: Do you only use acrylics or do you work with other mediums too?
A: I will use any medium. For portraiture I prefer oils, but have produced work in watercolours, pastels, and colour pencils, plus other media. I use acrylics for my ‘series’ paintings as I find it the fastest medium, and some of these paintings are very detailed, and require an amount of ‘easy layering’. My caricatures are pencil sketched, scanned to the computer, and colour applied with a ‘digital’ palette.
Drums, a portrait, and two from ‘Cyprus Life’ series
M:What do you believe is the key element in creating a good composition?
A: This so much depends on the subject. I’m aware of all the formal ‘rules’ – however, for me there must be ‘points of interest’ which draw the eye to different parts of the whole. If there is space, this too should bring ‘something to the plate’. I look for light and depth, and a composition which ‘tells a story’ or stands in its own right as a single item.
M: You have created series of paintings under the headings of Cyprus Life, The Professionals, Musicians in Hats and so forth. Could you tell us a little more about each series?
A: When I first came to Cyprus I followed the usual route of seascapes, sunsets, doors, etc. – there was inspiration at every turn, together with the ‘time to do it’. However, being among ‘the people’ and listening to their stories, I found a catalyst which lead to the Cyprus Life series, all of which are the result of things which I have observed, or things which have been said, around me. I believe I have a good sense of humour and can usually see the amusing side of life, therefore the style appealed more and more, both to myself, and as it turned out, to ‘the market’ which spurred me on to capture the continuously appearing material onto canvas. I discovered that I was actually smiling whilst I painted and new ideas emerged.
Foreign Delegates, the latest one, a local inhabitant, and a Stormy Kouklia Sunset
From this came the Professionals – having realised that I had ‘a style’ which people appeared to enjoy – I was inspired by stories from a number of people in different professions – and having painted ‘Yes, Chef’ (because we were once involved with the Hospitality trade) – I decided to expand on this. Like Cyprus Life – some of the paintings have real people in them, some don’t but for the Professionals series I always take advice as to how far I can ‘push the boundaries’ and still remain credible.
I am an amateur musician and wanted to create a series to celebrate this. It’s a very different style to my other series, because the focus is different, i.e. I was particularly interested in encompassing lighting, posture, and the interaction between the instrument and the musicians’ hands – hence just the ‘tilt of a hat’ and no face. Having started with the series, people commissioned pieces with specific instruments in the same style – so the collection grew.
I then did a ‘Family Group’ commissioned painting for a customer in UK, in a similar style, and have since been commissioned for these highly detailed and personalised paintings.
There are paintings and prints from these series now hanging all over the world, and I often take orders through the Kouklia Arts website which are delivered direct. Many images work well as merchandise, so they are printed onto mugs, key rings, fridge magnets etc., my theory being that if you like the image, then you can buy it at a range of prices and in a number of forms – but there is only one original!
M: Your paintings seem to have a humoristic twist and are expressed in naïve style. Would you like to expand on that?
A: The style is just how they ‘come out’ – nothing thought through or contrived. In fact, the figures are often slightly out of proportion, but it appears to work. I don’t usually have references for these pictures – just the overall concept and ‘shape of composition’, so each is a journey and most of the figures and faces present themselves to me as the work develops.
For the Professionals I do a good deal of research to ensure that details are correct, although they may well then be distorted to suit the humour of the work.
I get great delight from the ‘license’ which these subjects give me, i.e. I look at the clock on the operating theatre wall and think: ‘Hmmm – what to do with that’? Like many offices, they may have left behind a Christmas decoration or two, and in a hospital setting, this may well be a blown up latex glove, so in goes the glove, holly and ribbon.
Sometimes people say my paintings remind them of ‘Beryl Cook’ style, although I say my style is very much ‘Beryl Cook meets Giles’, which would make sense as I used to pour over the Daily Mail Giles cartoon books for hours, enjoying the depiction of the interaction between people, and the little details that you don’t initially notice.
M: Do you use other styles of expression such as abstract, still life, or any other?
A: I have a wide range of works including still life, abstract, and much more – some of which are on display in the studio. The demand to develop new images in the cartoon painting style means that other subjects are rare for me nowadays.
I take great delight in painting trompe l’oeil, (trick of the eye) and have painted on several walls in Kouklia. I have also ‘reverse glass painted’ a series of ‘stained glass’ windows in Konia.
I also create digital pictures which I have transformed into two animated movies ‘(The Adventures of Noggin Clontith). I have written and illustrated children’s books, namely The Adventures of Noggin Clontith, Cyber-Gran, Olivia and the Dinosaur, and The Adventures of Padistan Bear.
I have been very pleased to create props, staging and backdrops for Kouklia school and Youth Club plays, and a number of Taverna signs around the village.
M:Tell us a little more about your charity work, especially with regards to the cats. And how you raise funds and awareness, please?
A: Ah, the cats – actually, I wasn’t really a cat person before coming to Kouklia, but there they were – just everywhere, and we found kittens needing shelter – so off it went – cat rescue, both at home and the studio. Then I met Cynthia Smith, from Mandry’s Fund charity, and became involved in the Trap Neuter Release programme. We have an ideal location at the studio, and cats gather each day for feeding, so we are able to trap them for neutering.
We sell second hand books at the Gallery to raise money for the charity, plus I have painted a picture especially (Caterwaul) for the Cat Charities, for which they have the copyright, and can create merchandise to sell. I am currently doing the same for the dogs.
I’m also involved as an advisor / consultant with the Aiya Napa / Famagusta Autism Parents group, who are incredibly driven, and are working toward the first residential and respite Autism unit in Cyprus. I have pledged to create a specific merchandising image, for them also.
Indeed, I am a very busy person, having Management and Autism as key specialities. I am involved with a 3 year EU funded project developing Parent Training in 4 European Countries, which takes me to some interesting places. I am also delivering Soft Skills training, again EU funded, in other parts of Europe including Cyprus, plus Management training in Abu Dhabi, so there is not a great deal of down time.
M: You are participating in, and are hosting five other artists for the Cyprus Open Studios. Please tell us if the public should be aware of any particular points that will make their visit to Kouklia Artworks as pleasant as possible. How easy is parking, for instance? And what should they be looking out for as landmarks.
A: I am really thrilled at the team who will be exhibiting for Cyprus Open Studios! Between us there is a range of works and styles, and all of us are ‘on our journeys of development’, and therefore it is interesting to see how people have varied their subject matter over time.
A taste of the other participants at Kouklia’s work
As well as paintings, visitors can see a range of other items produced by the artists.
At one time the Capital City of Cyprus, Kouklia is a destination village, boasting Aphrodite’s Temple, the medieval fort museum and a ‘real feel’ of Cypriot Culture. There are a number of Tavernas where you can sit and watch village life, and enjoy good food and wine.
The Studio / Gallery is situated just off Kouklia Square, in a building which, I believe we have ‘authentically’ restored, between Sophia’s and Gabriel’s Tavernas. There is a main car park just before the square, or near the Temple entrance.
M:And how long have you operated in Kouklia?
A: Kouklia Artworks was established 3 years ago, and provides the opportunity for Artists and Crafters from as far away as Nicosia to Polis to display and sell their work. We have a number of different nationalities, producing a variety of styles and products.
There is a small classroom to the rear of the Gallery, where I give painting / drawing and other classes to both children and adults.
M: As one of the organisers of Cyprus Open Studios, I wish you and your fellow participants great success in this year’s event – we are planning to make next year’s event bigger and better! Thank you, Angela.
Ed.~ To see all the participants in Cyprus Open Studios, please visit our website, download the catalogue and do a final check of the revised 2016 schedule – all on the website: www.cyprusopenstudios.com And don’t forget to get your entry form signed by four participants (in different locations) to stand a chance to win a voucher for €150,00 sponsored by www.art-en-route-cyprus.com – and have fun!
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