Sheis a visual artist famous for her seascapes, for her endless energy, for her projects she takes on and working to find ways to promote emerging artists. In her art she talks about time, life, and memory representing waves, boats, sea, marinas. Art Gallery 5'14 is pleased to introduce you to Marina Emphietzi.
- What do you enjoy the most about your artistic life?
- The passion and challenge that go hand in hand. I constantly challenge my own talent by trying to experiment with subject matters and techniques for new creative effects and do feel a satisfaction when viewers leave positive comments about my work.
- Do you remember the earliest memory of when you wanted to be a visual artist?
- Since childhood, I had a love for art. I remember painting a colourful ’snail’ at primary school which was exhibited at the end of the year’s school exhibition.
- Most of your paintings are seascapes. Is there a special reason why?
- My work explores issues of time, life and memory. Through painting I channel life experiences to create works of art.
I grew up in a house by the sea in Famagusta, Cyprus, a home I lost in the trauma of war, and, although I didn’t set out to produce art about anything specific, as my portfolio developed over the years I realised that the pleasure and energy I was getting from painting was when I focused on water, boats, beaches, marinas, wet stones and rocks, subjects emanating from childhood memories of my early life by the sea.
... I realised that the pleasure and energy I was getting from painting was when I focused on water, boats, beaches, marinas, wet stones and rocks, subjects emanating from childhood memories of my early life by the sea ...
- What other themes interest you to paint and why?
- Over the years, I have developed different themes such as my ‘stones’ series as well as my very successful semi abstract figurative theme called ‘impressions’ from when we lived in Ethiopia for a while. People’s colourful clothes fascinated me there, so I was very inspired and creative.
- Do all your artwork have a specific story behind it?
- When an artist paints he/she creates visual music. I create artworks that evoke feelings and emotions that come from within and to achieve this I relate my artwork with a story. For this, before I start a painting, I give it a title before I even start.
... I create artworks that evoke feelings and emotions that come from within ...
- When is the best time for you to paint?
- First thing in the morning to allow me to spend the whole day painting.
- How long do you take to complete an artwork?
- It varies depending on the subject, size, technique and medium. I could start and finish it in a week or in months.
- You are traveling all over the world, how have your trips, your experiences changed the palette, the compositions, the light of your art?
- Having travelled and lived in various countries I am now convinced that other than the colour palette that influenced me according to the country I was in, the subject matter still needs to come from within; I wasn’t necessarily inspired by the country, I was inspired by a subject of interest that I discovered in the country I was in.
- What are the difficult aspects of working as an artist?
- There is a very tough competition for trying to make it in the arts world no matter how good one is. The Internet and social media has facilitated things but at the same time made the competition more aggressive.
... The Internet and social media has facilitated things but at the same time made the competition more aggressive ...
- You are a co-director of the Cyprus Open Studios. Tell us about this project and about the events that offer the people the opportunity to interact with artists in their own studios.
- This annual event offers the visitor the opportunity to interact with individual artists and artisans, who live and work in Cyprus, in their own studios. It takes place every October throughout Cyprus and an art bus can take you to the villages around Paphos area where artists live and create. A catalogue is printed every year giving the chance to the visitors to chose which studios they want to visit beforehand but also to vote for an artist/artwork of their choice for an annual award.
- How Cyprus Open Studios helps their artists? What advise could you give to an emerging artist out there?
- Not all artists in Cyprus are confident and not all artists in Cyprus speak English to easily apply to exhibit their work abroad. We created COS to be a platform to help artists exhibit their work outside as well as in Cyprus.
COS did exactly that. Some starter and/or emerging artists are excellent artists, and whose work through COS marketing and promotions enabled art lovers to buy their art works.
We also helped Cyprus based Artists to apply to the Royal Academy Summer exhibition as well as the Salon des Refuses in London.
What do they say? If you want to go far, walk alone; If you want to go fast walk with others. COS is there to help artists walk faster to achieve their artistic goals!
- You also open the doors of your studio for visitors. What are your opinions about receiving visitors in your studio in comparison to receiving it at the exhibition in the gallery? Which one do you feel is more exciting?
- For me exhibiting in a Gallery is definitely more exciting. A Gallery will bring more clients, hang the paintings in a professional way and promote the artist. The whole atmosphere and interaction is completely different to opening your own studio to visitors.
- How do you see the art market; how would you define the current art situation?
- Up to a few years back the art market which comprised of a few art forms was considered to be a physical venue i.e a Gallery, a studio a Sunday market, where a buyer would go to buy a piece of art. Nowadays due to the technological revolution the ‘physical’ concept has been supplemented by the ‘virtual’ one, online arts sales, anywhere in the world. Also, new art forms (e.g. digital art) have been created due to the technology; these compete with all the traditional ones.
Art is a component of culture, reflecting the economic and social climate in which it is generated. As cultures change, perhaps more rapidly today than at any time in history, so art must and will change. At a very practical level experts suggest that slowing global growth and economic uncertainty worldwide will result in a downturn in sales. Let’s hope not.
... Art is a component of culture, reflecting the economic and social climate in which it is generated ...
- You also teach painting. Who gives you the most inspiration and energy to teach, the young students or the older ones?
- The aim of art classes for the older students is not necessarily just to learn to paint. For them it is to join other people in a friendly, sociable atmosphere. Some are amazing artists who have had no time earlier in life to develop their artistic skills and only at this age they can get to learn and to exhibit their work. It is providing opportunities for them to enhance their artistic skills which might have been dormant for years.
Some younger students have an inbuilt talent. It gives me great satisfaction to teach them, believing I contribute to their artistic progress and, hopefully, achievements.
So, to answer your question, both young and old students give me great satisfaction to teach and to help them move to the next level of their artistic path.
- What genre of art do you enjoy teaching the most? Why?
- I teach the classic techniques to students and once they advance they can chose their own style or follow mine if they wish which is semi abstract, expressionism.
- Are there any upcoming projects for the near future? Tell us more about this.
- I am always receptive to exciting new opportunities to promote my art. Right now I am delighted to have secured two major commissions, which will see me into the new year before I finish and deliver them.
I also applied to exhibit at some fairs in London such as the Other Art Fair (Saatchi) and I am looking at having a solo exhibition in 2020 in London and another in Cyprus.
P.S. At the end of the interview Marina received a news that her painting Moonlight won an award. Congratulations!
Images courtesy of Marina Emphietzi
More artworks by Marina Emphietzi