Thursday, 19 November 2015 21:42

A life dedicated to art

Spyros Demetriades with some of his latest work Spyros Demetriades with some of his latest work

The life of Limassol artist Spyros Demetriades has been as colourful as his work.

With a career spanning over almost 40 years, his figurative paintings have a distinct soft, nostalgic, yet realistic style. He paints landscapes, town, village and harbour scenes and mostly outdoors scenes in watercolour and his work has become a familiar artistic documentary of life in Cyprus’ towns.

The only child of a lawyer and parliamentarian, he was initially planning to follow his father’s footsteps. As a teenager, he helped out for a while at his father’s law office, but his family did not put any pressure on him and his calling for art and need to express himself through it had been strong from early on.

Things turned around when he was given his first camera that was able to create stop motion, frame-by-frame images. A young Demetriades had made his first two animated short films by 19 and in 1969 he left for Prague to study animation.

 

An early start

Even as a young boy, Demetriades’ future was boding well. He was able to skip first grade and his first picture drawn in second grade ‘Three children going to school’ was shown around as an example of outstanding work.

“I had already been drawing a lot at home,” explains the smiling artist. “My former classmates still tell me how envious they used to be of the fact that I was allowed to make pencil doodles on the walls at my house.”

Demetriades’ studies were in traditional animation at Prague’s Academy of Applied Arts at the department of TV and film graphics. The graduate’s final work was to be shown in Munich, where he went planning to stay for a week — which turned into several months. When his money ran out, he managed to get commissions from Greek taverns and painted Greek mythology and contemporary life subjects for them, thus discovering that he could actually live from his art.

 

Back in Cyprus

Returning from Germany, the young Demetriades organised an exhibition in Limassol which was a great success, with all paintings sold and 20 more commissioned. People wanted to see what the son of local lawyer Chrysses Demetriades was doing and at first Spyros son did worry if people actually liked his art or his father, but the busy times that followed were reassuring.

He established an advertising agency with scenographer Andy Bargilly, got married to Rena Chrysostomi and went on to exhibit in Limassol, Athens, Nicosia and Larnaca and published a book which supported his entrance into the world of fine arts.

 

His work

Demetriades bases his work on direct depiction of outdoor scenes to which he generally puts finishing touches at the studio. His favourite media is ink for sketching with a dip-pen then overpainting it with aquarelles.

The media of oil paint appeared in his works after a trip to Vilnius, where he had represented Cyprus in an art symposium and where the organisers thought his almost finished pieces were ‘drafts’ – leaving him to explain that this was just his style of work.

Returning to Limassol, Demetriades started working with oil paint and thus a new era began. His first exhibit with mixed media in 1988 was again a success. He did many collages during the 90s, often showing the influence of mass media on daily life. He also works with linear sketches and silkscreen to experiment with and learn. “Change is good, it helps us avoid stagnation,” believes the artist.

Spyros Demetriades will be exhibiting his latest works, some based on old works from Larnaca done by him in the early 80s, at the art gallery Apothiki 79 in Larnaca from November 13-20. For details the artist can be contacted via his personal Facebook page or via the gallery.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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