If you have not seen the flyer that went out earlier, here is an updated version:
As you will see, Cyprus Open Studios will look a little different this year. In previous years you had a maximum of 8 days to open your studio/workspace. These were always geared for the weekends. 2018 offers you a minimum of any TWO out of 9 consecutive days, e.g. from 6 to 14 October 2018. You could, of course, open every day!
It has come to our notice that most working people who live away from the coast make a bee-line for the sea during the weekends, especially since October is still very much in season. It is mainly for this reason that we have decided to cater for inland artists during the week. We have also discovered that this is the norm for open studio events across the world. This means that you will be able to choose your dates to be open, rather than your weekends. We are confident that this will suit artists and visitors better than diluting it across the whole month. We will also be able to throw more resources at it.
The other big change is that we have decided to give participants the opportunity to recover from the Christmas mayhem and open registration on 1 March, with a closing date of 30 June 2018. You will still have 4 months in which to register, finalise artwork and plan your space before the August holidays!
And here’s another plus: If you really, honestly, truly do not wish to open your studio/workspace/home to visitors, we offer you a reduced membership of Cyprus Open Studios. As a ‘non-participating’ member, this will give you a page on the website with up to 8 images plus your biography, artist statement and other information. This will be featured as an option on the registration page when we open on 1 March 2018.
We are now in our third year and the initial logistics problems have mainly been sorted out. Of course, when we do new things, new things have to be learned!
One of those new things is the work that we undertake on behalf of the artists who wish to participate in exhibitions abroad. This year, there are 14 who have jumped at the opportunity to simply produce their work and let “Open Galleries Abroad (OGA)” take care of everything for them, ranging from registration with each gallery, submission of work for judging, transportation of the artwork, submission of the actual work for hanging at each venue, transportation in between exhibitions and safe storage when not being exhibited.
As usual, we will attempt acceptance at the Royal Academy of Art and after that comes the exhibition at the Salon des Refusés. There is a third venue lined up, name the Hellenic Centre – all of these in London.
This is a huge learning curve as we research venues, procedures, and logistics. The person in charge of this operation is Marina Emphietzi Harris, one of the three partners of Cyprus Open Studios. One of the biggest headaches is this…
Another new idea we are toying with is to use a gallery in Limassol where all the artists who do not have their own studios or who, for personal reasons wish not to open their homes to the public, may showcase their work. This will be regarded as a gallery show and not an open studio. It will also be subject to a higher fee for the participant who chooses this path and there may well be a commission charged by the gallery. This is VERY MUCH in the planning stages at this point; we will update you as soon as we know more.
You may know that www.art-en-route-cyprus.com has now been incorporated in Cyprus Open Studios. This means that the sponsor of the Prize Draw that we offer each year no longer exists. However, we are working on something even better that should attract a whole raft of interested people to visit studios in order to enter. A small hint: 3 nights (maybe 5) free accommodation on a Greek island… we are working on it!
There is just one final point we need to impress upon you: If you are able to host an artist friend of yours from abroad, this guest will not be charged a membership fee but will still be featured on the website and in the catalogue. I’m sure you have many artist friends who would love to visit you in Cyprus for a few days! Let’s show them what hospitality looks like.
If you are serious about your art, make it your business.
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.
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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:
Remember that fantasy art life you grew up dreaming about, the one the art schools perpetuate in order to make their nut, the one where you get your degree(s) and everything else just falls into place? You’re introduced to all the right people… the galleries, the curators, the patrons, the ones who count. The influential dealers and collectors visit you at your studio, see your work, and either buy it on the spot or offer you shows while all you have to do is create away knowing that you’re now officially on your way to fame, fortune and all that other good stuff. Yep, that’s the one.
Well, now you know better– that dreamtime is over and from here on in, the realities of survival require your complete attention. Read more here…
Permission to print granted by who is
Site principal, Alan Bamberger, an art consultant, advisor, author, and independent appraiser specializing in research, appraisal, and all business and market aspects of original works of art, artist manuscript materials, art-related documents, and art reference books. He has been selling art since 1979 and rare and scholarly art reference books since 1982, and has been consulting, advising and appraising for artists, galleries, businesses, organizations and collectors since 1985. Read more about him 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.
As we come closer to the October event, things hot up. Don’t simmer on the back burner – get to the fire and get hot!
We are just reaching the end of the Early Bird reduced registration fee structure and although quite a few have grabbed the opportunity, many are still simmering… However, no need to panic! As from 1 March until 30 April 2017, registration fees are exactly the same as they were last year. This is, of course, extraordinary as we are offering more than ever before!
Here at the virtual COS office we are working towards making the experience more and more exciting and this year, we have added the opportunity for professional artists to be selected for gallery exhibitions. This is a first! The attraction is the price. For a flat fee – way less than galleries usually charge – you will have the full force of Cyprus Open Studios (COS) promotional machine behind you. If you are selected, you will be listed under the separate heading of Cyprus Open Galleries on the website.
If you do not get selected by the galleries who are hosting this year, we would strongly recommend that you team up with each other or with other artists in your area to open a studio space together. If you have any questions about this process, please contact us for further details. It is an opportunity not to be missed!
One of the points he made was this: With more and more open studio events appearing around the country, this is a great topic. An open studio tour can be a great way to get your feet wet if you’re new to the art market, and for established artists it can be a great way to build connections directly with art buyers.
And the other point that really impressed me was this: If you think about it, it’s almost like a treasure hunt. Participants are provided with a map and then get to plot their course from studio to studio looking for art that grabs them. Participants also get to meet the artist. Art buyers love this! While it’s certainly possible to fall in love with a piece of art for its own sake (this happens all the time in the gallery), it adds a whole new dimension for clients when they can meet the artist.
At COS, it is our mission to make the experience of both artists and visitors one to be remembered and also to create the desire to do it again next time.
Another first for COS is that we have assisted 6 artists to register for selection at the Royal Academy of Art in London; their Summer Show is one that artists will forfeit their eye teeth for! The 6 artists are all members of Cyprus Open Studios and we will do everything in our power to make their experience as painless as possible.
The Royal Academy of Arts London
Should they not be accepted by the RA, they will automatically qualify to be exhibited at the Salon des Refuses, also in London. No mean ‘second prize’ – and yes, we at COS are assisting with that too.
One of last year’s Salon des Refuses summer shows.
There are several other opportunities abroad and when we have further information, it will be shared on our blog – follow us by adding your email address in the space to the right and you won’t miss out!
However, if you wish to participate in exhibitions abroad under the Cyprus Open Studios umbrella, you need to be a member. Don’t be shy – have a look at our website which is growing with 2017 members – and complete the registration form. Registration closes on 30 April 2017, which will be extended until 31 May 2017, but with a small penalty for late registration.
Have a look at the FAQ if you are unsure of the procedure; if you cannot find your answer there, please contact us either via the website or by email at email@example.com – we would be delighted to help.
We have often heard and read about artists toiling away in cold attics in bitter winters with no hot water and six flights of stairs under snow. Well, in this day and age there is no need to starve, or commit suicide, as an artist.
These days, what we hear a lot is: ‘I’m not really good with a computer’… Our advice is: Get better! It can only improve your chances of success if you know how to handle emails and images as there will always be people like us at COS who are ready to help you promote your art. But you need to get your skills honed not only to produce your ‘product’, but also to ‘launch’ it.
If you think we can help, send us a email… yes, that’s the way to do it!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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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