NICOSIA (Cyprus) • An Athenian “neo-muralist” is mixing Greek mythology and Byzantine iconography with graffiti and street artwork to depict how the coronavirus pandemic has compelled folks the environment in excess of to put down roots.
From Bangkok to Rabat to Zurich, Fikos has painted the partitions of many metropolitan areas, but he is now including a splash of colour to the sunlight-crushed facades of the Cypriot cash Nicosia.
“Right here in Cyprus, there are not lots of murals nevertheless,” he says. “It truly is the commencing period of the avenue artwork scene in Cyprus, so they are impressed and sort of awed when they see this going on.”
The 33-yr-aged spends time wandering the slim again alleys of Nicosia’s Old City in search of walls to use as a canvas.
The 1 he chose for his latest undertaking is the cracked veneer of a crumbling mud-brick house in an deserted, dusty great deal in close proximity to the United Nations-patrolled buffer zone, which divides the city’s Greek and Turkish-speaking halves.
The Greek artist, who describes himself as a “neo-muralist”, states he has been residing on the Mediterranean island for the earlier calendar year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a theme reflected in his newest piece.
Standing on a wobbly system, he gets to do the job with a brushstroke alongside the brow of Amaracus, the perfume-maker of the legendary goddess Aphrodite, whose destiny he states befits daily life in the time of the pandemic.
Bit by bit, a sketch evolves into a jade-eco-friendly male figure with leaves sprouting from his head, branches protruding from his chest and roots extending from his legs.
“He acquired punished by the gods and got turned into a plant or flower,” suggests Fikos, who explains that he utilised the story from Cypriot mythology as an analogy for the pandemic, for the duration of which men and women “have developed roots” by remaining in one particular area for so prolonged.
Fikos suggests Cypriots have taken to his artwork, unlike some others who tend to attach to it the stigma of graffiti.
His performs now adorn 5 facades on the Greek-Cypriot side of Nicosia, which has been divided on ethnic lines due to the fact communal unrest erupted in 1963 to 1964.
Fikos states he attracts from a assorted palette of influences, from artwork in ancient Greece to Egypt to Japan.
1 these kinds of artwork is located in the vicinity of the Green Line that divides Nicosia. It demonstrates King Onassagoras, who dominated the kingdom of Ledra all over 672BC, upcoming to three feminine figures – one of them Nicosia, depicted as a lady break up in 50 %.
“I’ve analyzed Byzantine portray considering that I was 13 several years outdated in Athens, and I studied the artwork of the road in the streets,” states Fikos.
“Road art has progressed from graffiti and it has unique policies. You have to leave your stamp,” he states. “But my position of see is totally different. I’m often striving to adapt my sketch to the environment and get impressed from the colours of the neighbourhood. My strategy is far more like fantastic artwork.”
Fikos states in the earlier he was not able to convince Athenians to enable him paint about the garish graffiti that blankets the town, even for cost-free.
But now his charm is developing both of those at dwelling and abroad, and he gets paid for his operate.
He has been commissioned to paint murals in many nations around the world, including France, Ireland, Mexico, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.
They can include whole facades of properties as substantial as 17 storeys, like one particular in Kiev, however they are not overbearing and do not seem out of place.
“Most of the time, they have a little something in head, they give me a theme,” Fikos claims of his commissions. “But I do my analysis on record, mythology or what ever I uncover appropriate, then I sketch and I begin to paint.”
The moment the investigation is accomplished, the process of portray the murals can acquire just two or three extra days, he states.
“I’m generally encouraged by Greek mythology, for the reason that I belief that if these myths have survived, they will have to have a thing to say.”