Our interview with Chryso Iasonos, an ambitious and talented artist, who has been working on a freelance basis in the past years, was very interesting. She is a full-time Marketeer and she spends most of her free time painting. Chryso graduated from the University of Cyprus in 2010 with a B.Sc. Economics and a few years later attained her MBA from London South Bank University. Even though her studies and professional life has been focused on the field of Business, she also has a very creative side to her personality which she reveals through her artwork and her ‘side-business’ called ‘A Stroke of Art‘.
Q1: When did you start painting and why did you start?
I was always interested in Art, especially during school as Art was always a main subject for me. However, I never thought of pursuing it as a career and considered it just a hobby. I became quite serious about Art at the age of 15, when my teachers acknowledged that I could paint well. They encouraged me to participate in several major Art Competitions and helped me realise that Art is something that I could gain a lot from. A couple of years later, I started taking Art lessons once a week at a local studio and this was the time when I became really committed to it. My teacher taught me how to use oil on a canvas (as I was only familiar with using acrylic paints and water colours until this point) and she taught me some new tricks and techniques. For me painting is a way to escape reality for a while. I find it very relaxing and it helps me regain calmness and balance.
Q2: How would you describe your painting style and what are the themes of your collections?
I still consider myself a ‘young’ artist who is still experimenting, so it’s difficult to answer. I would say the majority of my paintings have an ethereal style, they have mysterious vibe and romantic tone, they focus on movement and they show intense emotions like sadness, loneliness, shyness.
My collections consist of female figures, nature, and animals and they are mainly made up of oil paintings. When I use oil, it is a lot easier for me to correct mistakes and blend-in colours, but also to start from the beginning by painting over the same canvas if I need to. I often use several different oils in the same painting, depending on specific pigments and desired effects, and I really love this flexibility. My paintings are made of high-quality materials, intense colours and anyone can see that I am very generous with the amounts of paint I apply onto each canvas. I put my heart and soul into every creation and I think it shows through the final results.
Q3: Where do you source your materials from?
I mainly buy my oil paints, canvases, brushes, and spatulas from local art shops. Every canvas I use is hand-made and also bought locally from a someone who makes them especially for me. I tend to buy expensive materials, but I find that it is completely worth it as you can really see a difference when applying the paint.
Q4: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from anywhere but usually my paintings reflect my mood or the specific phase that I am in at a specific point in my life. Sometimes I take pictures of things that catch my eye and then take them back to the studio to try and recreate. Generally speaking, I would only paint something that I myself, would hang up on the walls of my own house. Having that in mind, this usually results in me selecting happy or pretty things to paint. I am a little bit of an idealist and a perfectionist, so I generally have the tendency to want to paint everything and anything beautiful. Idealists are those who represent things as they might or should be rather than as they are. As a visionary person, I will choose to paint the most beautiful lady, the most perfect golf course, the most magnificent swan. I avoid painting sadness and if I do choose to paint sadness, it will still be done ‘beautifully’.
Q5: How do you reach clients?
One of the biggest concerns for artists in Cyprus, is that Cypriots don’t really see Art as a priority; so being able to reach clients in Cyprus is a challenge. A lot of my clients have become friends of mine over time and these are the people who have purchased quite a few of my paintings over time. Other clients will hear about me through Word-Of-Mouth or will find me though Social Media. I must admit I don’t really go out of my way too much, in search for clients, they kind of just find me 🙂
Q6: What are some challenges you face as an artist?
Very often people will try to negotiate with the price of my paintings, which gives me the impression that they don’t really understand or appreciate the effort and time that goes into each painting. A lot of challenges involve being able to meet the requirements of my clients. Clients may ask me to paint something very specific that they have in their mind, but without an actual photo of this, it is difficult for me to understand them perfectly. Also, sometimes clients may want a painting to be completed in a very short time, which puts alot of pressure on me, especially because I want to get the best results possible. Other difficulties can include the lack of time (especially due to the fact that I have another full-time job), the lack of inspiration and of course the cost of the materials I need. When I start a new painting, I am never sure if it will be sold later, so my art can be considered an expensive ‘risk’.
Q7: How do you manage your online presence?
I spend the majority of my time managing my Social Media accounts, through which I try to increase awareness and inform people about what I do. I will upload photographs of my latest completed paintings, inform everyone about upcoming projects or show them the process of a specific painting, by revealing the progress step by step. Many times, I ask for suggestions and ideas, which I think is important to do as it encourages communication. I find Social Media to be a great tool for communication with potential clients and art lovers and for me good communication is very important. I am looking into creating a website especially for my artwork, which I am very excited about. Of course, marketing doesn’t only take place online. For example, I’ve recently finalised the designs for my business card which is very handy. I also participate in several Art Exhibitions that take place at the ‘Palia Ilektriki‘ Cultural Centre which is an excellent opportunity for me to interact with visitors and let them see the paintings for themselves, but also network with other artists.
Q8: Any new projects coming up?
Well, I don’t want to reveal too much about my plans, but I am planning on trying something new in the upcoming months. Believe it or not, I am I want to try a different style of art and I am ready to create some work that is a little more abstract and contemporary. I will simultaneously continue to work with oil paints, as I am also planning on working on my new collection of Architecture and Landscapes.
Q9: Tell us about your long-term goals?
For me, painting is a way of life. It is an opportunity for me to express myself, to show the world what I am feeling and send out important messages about specific cultures and ways of life. I definitely do not plan to stop painting any time soon. In the future, I would love to have my own studio, in order to have my own space to paint. Perhaps I could even have a gallery to exhibit my artwork, or a space that would be more inviting for the public to stop by for a coffee and a nose-around. One of my favourite quotes is by Shepard Fairey, who explains that ‘Creating is about sharing ideas, sharing aesthetics, sharing what you believe in with other people’. For me being able to work with other like-minded individuals is a dream come true, whether this means to collaborate with other artists or to share my art with people who care and are interested.
Another one of my aims for the future is to start cooperating with several charitable foundations where part of my sales proceeds will go towards those in need. This will also be a great opportunity for more people to connect with Art and learn how it can be a form of therapy for the mind and soul.
Q10: What is your advice to other young artists?
My advice is that you need to go for it! Whatever it is that you love, you need to give it a try. We all owe it to ourselves and it is so liberating and heart-warming to be able to practice an art or a skill that you are good at. For those thinking about starting up a business of some kind, they need to be sure that they have a genuine interest in what they want to do. If they are willing to put in the work and effort, then they have much higher chances of being very successful in all the things they pursue.
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