Briefly describe the work you do.
My artistic practice is, in general, focussed on ideas or concepts. My principle is to liberally use any medium or media that will help me convey each idea.
I try to keep the concept simple so that anyone can understand it and to eventually give to the project a dimension than has a capacity for further interpretations. Usually, there is an innate use of humour that can eventually be read backwards on a more existential scale. Many times my work develops in correspondence with the exhibition’s environment, be it in a gallery or a public space.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I come from Cyprus, a small island in the Mediterranean sea with a controversial political background. However, I left Cyprus after my basic education.
These facts are unavoidably part of me. Moreover, having left the island for so long, can be translated both as freedom and as a boundary.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
The studio acts both as a place of production and as my asylum.Usually, my imagination is stimulated when I am outside of my ‘headquarters’, when an already established perception or feeling is moved by the outside world.
Then, this ‘movement’ could be translated into an idea/project in the studio, at unexpected intervals.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
Now, I find my self sticking wires to hijack circuits, cutting wood with a jigsaw, editing movies on Premier, preparing soap solutions, building web pages, blowing balloons, writing poems, collecting feathers and hair, drilling holes, cooking art biscuits, extracting sounds, taking photos – as long as it is a good idea!I sometimes think I know how to do everything (and nothing…)
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
I use my studio daily, not always to produce art, just to exist.It is very difficult to stay faithful to the decision of art production, especially in an art market that is fluctuating between existing and not.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
The time I spent in Paris as an Erasmus student was significant for my artistic practise as my work shifted more towards conceptualism.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
Pop culture has influence on my work. I like to observe people’s behaviours and beliefs and to ‘investigate’ how these tendencies are generated. To an extent, (human) nature and existence (vs time) are topics that often occupy my mind.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
As an artist I have a lot of ideas/imagination. I have to confess that some days I wake up and I want to be a chef/film maker/life guard/bartender/swimming athlete/philosopher/ spiritual leader/psychologist/captain/air hostess/writer/farmer, etc.Then, I realize that everyone can be an artist – those that eventually do become artists, are those whose spirit couldn’t rest in something else.
Phyla is a Cypriot artist, currently based in Athens, Greece.Her work, of conceptual orientation, can take different forms, from materialisation to new media. Her artistic capacity to interpret situations under, at first glance, simplistic yet poetic / humorous spectrum, has at times pushed the boundaries of what is and what is not considered to be art.She studied Fine Arts, at Thessaloniki School of Fine and Applied Arts, the Athens School of Fine Arts and the École National Supèrieure des Beaux Arts of Paris.
She has participated in various exhibitions and workshops, in places such as Austria, Cyprus, France and Greece.