The Heroine’s Journey of Maria Pierides

What is the best thing that I love about my work?
I love shutting myself away in my studio, music in the background and feeling my creativity unfurl, a bit like my yoga practice where as you start to move, the body starts to open up. I get into a rhythm as the day goes on, where I become completely immersed in the process. I love how the frustrating bits are tolerable and I can work with it. And exhibitions. I do also love exhibiting and private views, where I get to meet other artists, potential collectors and unwind with a glass of something after all the hard work. Plus, I love not having to travel for hours to get to work anymore.
What is my idea of perfect happiness?
Having the space for creativity.  I love where I am right now, being able to paint everyday, exhibit my work, connect with nature, scour the land for materials, cook from scratch and practice yoga.  A bit more sunshine (I live in Wales), and it’s perfect.
What is my greatest fear?
Losing those I love. It was bad enough losing my cat, Russell!
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
Not being more confident in some aspects of my life. I can hold myself back sometimes.
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?
Anyone who is brilliant at what they do but are kind, grounded and don’t think that the world revolves around them!
What is my greatest extravagance?
Michael Harding oil paints, yoga and acupuncture.
On what occasion would I lie?
I’m ashamed to say that I have lied, when I thought that I might be protecting someone’s feelings.
What is the thing I dislike most in my work?
Having to pay huge amounts of money to enter exhibitions, art fairs etc. Actually, you can add that to the above question on my biggest extravagances!
When, and where was I the happiest, in my work?
Here, and now. I’ve never had so much time to paint, without masses of distractions.  I love the feeling of resolving an unresolved painting.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
I’m always striving to change, so perhaps accepting myself as I am would be a good one to work on.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
That I moved to Wales and worked hard to establish new networks, get into galleries and start making a name for myself.
Where would I most like to live?
I have always wanted to move back to Brighton but I have come to terms with the fact that it was never meant to be. Plus, apart from the rain I really love where I live now.
What is my most treasured possession?
Hmmm, I’d say my yoga mat. I can easily carry it everywhere and making the time to get on it makes sure I make the time to be grateful for where I am right now!
What is my most marked characteristic?
I’ve been told I’m very thoughtful.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
Our garden. Think bubbling spring and nearby enchanted forest.
What is my most favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?
At home as there is not that much around here. But if I’m going to our nearest city, Swansea, I would say the vegan place, Canteen 18. They do an epic Buddha bowl.
What books influenced my life and how?
Reading in general has been a big part of my life and I even just love the ritual of going to a bookshop to pick out a book. Otherwise there are so many, but years ago when I worked as an art therapist  I read a lot around the human psyche, groups, relationships etc and ‘Beyond Madness,Psychosocial Interventions in Psychosis, edited by Joseph H.Berke, Margaret Fagan, George Mak-Pearce and Stella Pierides-Muller’  was definitely one of the books that helped my thinking in my work.
Who are my favourite writers?
Again so many. Iris Murdoch, Rose Tremain, Ian McEwan, Emile Zola, Jonathan Franzen, Zadie Smith, my mum!
You only die once, what music would I listen to on my last day?
I would put my iPad on shuffle with some yoga Nidra in there for good measure.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
All the female characters who have a quiet strength.
Who are my heroes or heroines in real life?
My parents. And PJ Harvey for pulling it off so well.
Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?
The movie that comes to mind is Withnail and I. I’ve seen it so many times and still have a little giggle.
What role plays art in my life and work?
Art has always been in my life. Everyone around me is also very creative so the only time I switch off from working out ideas in my head or speaking with others about ideas, is on my yoga mat.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
My partner and my parents who encourage me, support me and don’t let me give up!
Whom would I like to work with in 2018?
My partner, Rubin Eynon.  We work so well together and so far this year we have been mostly working on separate projects. So, to more working together hopefully.
Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2018?
I’m dying to meet and do a workshop with the artist Nicki Heenan. I also did a residency at Stiwdio Maelor in Corris, Wales. Unfortunately, the artist who set it all up, Veronica Calarco was doing another residency herself when I was there so I never got to meet her.
And Liz Doyle, because I love her paintings and her Facebook posts.
What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to working on?
I’m part of King Street Gallery in Carmarthen, and will be having a solo show in their spotlight room next year. I love playing with a space and how I can make the most of it. Which is also why I get involved in hanging exhibitions at King Street, and said yes to being part of the  curating team. I’m also looking forward to working on expanding with Urbanopulence, the business that my partner and I have started, making industrial and quirky pieces for the home.
Where can you see me, or my work in 2018?
King Street Gallery in Carmarthen, Queen Street Gallery in Neath, Gallery 54 in Ross on Wye. I’ve just had a painting long listed for the Royal West Academy in Bristol so hopefully there too. And I often exhibit in Cardiff and in London with the Free Painters and Sculptors, another group of artists whom I belong to.
What do the words “passion never retires” mean to me?
Creativity is what keeps people alive!
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
Liz Doyle.
How can you contact me? Pieridesmaria@me.com
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