Andrea Tyrimos is one of our favourite artists. A fine art graduate her art is a labour of love and requires hours and days of patient work. Yet despite this she has managed to carve out a reputation as a street artist of sorts, creating epic fine art creations for the public to enjoy with her BRICK project in particular causing a stir. Represented by our friends at the Curious Duke Gallery we are excited to be able to host her first ever public blog here on Inspiring City…
‘Play….. how can I make a painting more playful?’
This was the question I asked myself whilst studying ‘Fine Art’ at St Martins a few years ago, the question which led to the creation of my BRICK project – and which sparked the idea for me to create a hidden painting. I camouflaged my first BRICK painting into the surroundings of the wall it was hung, which gave the piece an element of interactivity, as many viewers struggled to find the piece, and as a result went on a hunt for it. It also touched upon notions of ‘trompe l’oeil’, and the hidden beauty that can be found in the unexpected.
The concept was put on the back burner, until a studio fire a few years ago left me without a suitable space to paint – I saw this as one of life’s opportunities and decided that this was the ideal time to continue with my BRICK series of works.
So I’ve expanded the concept behind the initial painting into an entire project; where I take to the streets of London and create hidden paintings (using only traditional oils and brushes). The project marries street art and fine art in a new way, and combines playful and interactive qualities which are not normally associated with paintings. I’m becoming more and more interested in what I like to call changing public space – looking at urban environments and exploring how art can alter people’s experience.
From street art festivals and graffiti laden walls, to swanky hotel lobbies and East London apartments – my Brick project allows me to explore London in a unique way…. my London. I often reference the environment in these pieces, as I feel it’s important for the history of a place to come through. I see the cracks and flakes on a surface in the same way I do wrinkles on a person’s face – filled with history and life.
Where possible I like for there to be cheeky additions to each piece, to inject a fun, unexpected, and signature neon element. So that the neon giraffe, or the tropical flower bursting through the grout in the brickwork may tickle the curiosity of passers by.
So far I’ve created twelve BRICK paintings, here are some of my favourites…
‘International Alert’ invited me to create a #BRICK painting for their ‘Talking Peace’ festival. I created my ‘Battle Wings’ #Brick which was exhibited alongside work from Yoko Ono and sold on the opening night – all proceeds went to International Alert. The image of a child soldier holding a gun, while wearing fairy wings, underlines a loss of innocence and the ever increasing need to be ‘talking about peace’. The fact that it’s on a street art poster echoes the propaganda and indoctrination that often takes place during conflict. It feels like conflict and war have become the norm, the fact that this piece is one of my #Brick paintings and camouflages itself into the background reflects this. ‘Battle Wings’ has been sold.
The Hoxton Brick
I was asked to be The Hoxton Hotel’s Artist in Residence in the run up to my solo show at the Curious Duke Galllery. This piece hints on society’s obsession with celebrity culture. ‘The Hoxton Brick’ has been sold.
This painting was commissioned by Southwark Council. Located at the entrance of Pasley Park, in Southwark, the council felt that the utility box was an eyesore. As with all of my #Brick paintings I was inspired by the environment and area. To reference the park’s history, I painted a meerkat, (as the park used to be a zoo) who acts as the ‘Park Patrolman’. In the same way that meerkats have ‘sentries’ in their gangs or mobs (a play on anti-social behaviour), I named the meerkat Ziggy as this was one of the many dog’s I befriended during the painting process. As this was a public art piece I felt it was only right to honour the park’s residents! (Ziggy’s Brick is a permanent public piece and can be found at the entrance of Pasley Park in Kennington)
The Dingley Den
A bespoke commission created in a beautiful East London home. I painted the scene so that it appears as though you are peering through the wall into a trendy, atmospheric London bar. The couple are originally from New Zealand and said that if they ever leave in the future they will now be able to ‘take a piece of their London home with them’. ‘The Dingley Den’ has sold.
This painting, together with ‘Barbican Brick’ was created at London’s iconic ‘Barbican Centre’ where I debuted my #BRICK project. ‘Barbican Brick’ was auctioned, with all proceeds going to the ‘Fairtrade Foundation. ‘Barbican Brick’ has sold. ‘Barbican Birdie is currently available.
Stir Crazy (oil on canvas)
This #Brick painting was painted in situ for the Whitecross Street Festival. I was immediately attracted to the blocked windows which appear along the side of the Peabody Estate. I decided that I would paint a new window in this space which would remain a ‘hidden’ painting, and the public were asked to go on a ‘hunt’ for this piece during the festival, making it fun, playful and interactive. ‘Stir Crazy’ is currently available.
Got the Hump (oil on canvas)
Another BRICK piece created in London’s East End. As always, capturing the character of its wall with my signature neon style. Dripping paint and torn posters sit next to crumbling brickwork. ‘Got the Hump’ is currently available.
Andrea Tyrimos is currently working on Southampton Row in Holborn in a collaborative live painting project with ‘Public Space Jam’ and ‘Treebox’. The project is to completely transform an old red telephone box into an interactive piece of public art. To find out more about the work of Andrea Tyrimos follow her on instagram or twitter. For an Inspiring City interview with Andrea have a look here and to see what art she has available to buy, check out the Curious Duke Gallery