Stephanie Konstantinou is an artist who was born in Limassol (Cyprus) in 1991, a popular tourist destination that is located on the south coast. By the age of ten she moved to Paphos, a small city where she finished high school. Paphos is a city with beautiful attractions from Greek mythology. Stephanie got the talent and passion from her father. He always makes creations using wood or stone with his hands. In 2009 she came to the UK to study on a fine art course at the university in Wolverhampton. In 2011 Stephanie had her first studio so she can now create as much as she wants.
AP: Your first works. What did they look like?
SK: My first artwork on canvas was 2004 inspired by the sea and the beautiful mountains in Cyprus. When I was at junior school the teachers helped me to be better and I realized that I got something special. Every time we had to draw a subject in class, the other students asked me to do their drawings and I remember that the teachers were telling me to focus on my own work. Since I realized that I had the talent I started making research on art. I looked at books, magazines, TV and the internet and tried to copy some pictures that I found interesting. When I started drawing I wasn’t sure which subjects I was good at but by the age of 15 I was inspired by forests and now it’s something special to me and takes my attention; it’s something that seems to gives me the power to create. When I paint trees, my imagination goes into overdrive and it’s like I am in heaven, I go into my own world. I have always listened to music while drawing as it gets me inspired, and I believe it’s really important for my art.
AP: Do you have any formal education in your sphere or were you self-taught?
SK: I got my talent from my dad. My dad always creates sculptures and different designs using stone and wood. At the age of 15 I went to an art school until I was 18 and during that time I was able to develop my techniques in a better and professional way. I was drawing and painting all the time so I was able to prepare a good portfolio and a better knowledge of art. After I finished the school I used to go to evening art classes. There were many talented kids there and adults who love to experiment and learn about art. I learn a lot of techniques for charcoal, pencils, oils, soft pastels and we were introduced to other materials. In 2009 I went to the United Kingdom to study Fine Art at Wolverhampton University. I fell in love with the beautiful Britain and since then I decided that I want to stay. I have since started renting my first ever art studio at the White Tree Gallery in Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton.
AP: What genre are your works?
SK: When I started drawing at school, I mainly did portraits of my family and friends. I also found portraits in my research and tried to recreate them in my own way. However, as I became more aware of my love for nature, I started to focus on landscapes, and did a lot of work with rivers and trees. When I started my university course, we were introduced to abstract art, and I have also done quite a few abstract pieces. I have also tried to combine abstract and nature in some works. I would say that my favourite genre is landscapes. I am always taking photos when I am out and about and when I get back to my studio I try and paint them.
AP: How would you describe your works?
SK: The art works that I am creating is modern art with a lot of brush strokes but with meaning as you can understand what the image is about. Most of the time I enjoy changing the shape of the canvas and I try to experiment to see what unique shapes I can create instead of the traditional square canvas. Also I love to give more depth to the image and also it can make it more interesting with the colours. The colours that I use often depend on my mood or the environment. There is often a contrast in the pattern of colours that I choose. I can also be influenced by the music which I like to listen to when I am working. I feel that creating my own canvases gives them a personality and provides me with further inspiration for my work. One of the main things I am trying to share with my work is the beauty of our natural world.
AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use?
SK: I would say that I mainly use acrylic paints, canvas, brushes, painting knives, sponges to give different effects and paper. I have also used the filler that you use on your walls to give more texture. I mentioned earlier that I take a lot of photos, so I often use Photoshop to change the colours of the image so I can get a better idea of what my painting will look like. It helps me to plan my work.
AP: Would you consider yourself as an expert in this sphere?
SK: I would not say I am an expert yet as I am still learning and getting experience. I am still learning how to exhibit and have done a few exhibitions and got involved with art festivals and I am getting better. I am very enthusiastic and I believe that I have a lot more experience than other people who are my age. I have already planned a lot more exhibitions for the next year and will not stop.I am also networking with other artists so that I can get more help and advice. Eventually I want to sell my work on a global scale. I know it will be hard work to get myself known but I am prepared to do it as art is my passion.
AP: What is your success formula?
SK: I have done a few exhibitions. I am also about to participate in two art festivals, one in Paphos in Cyprus and one in Wolverhampton. I have also had my work exhibited in 2 different exhibitions for local artists in 2 empty shops in the main shopping centre in Wolverhampton. Now I am renting my studio at the White Tree Gallery, I will be in regular contact with other artists who are a lot more experienced.
They have already told me about future festivals and exhibitions that I can participate in. Also, they will be promoting me on their website. I am always looking out for other events that will be beneficial to me and my future career.
AP: Is there someone who helps you in your creativity?
SK: My family have been a big part of my success as they have always supported me and paid for my evening classes, allowed me to go to the UK for my studies, and of course given me their opinions on my art. As I said earlier I believe that my father gave me my artistic skills. I also believe my evening art teacher, Marie Constanti, who is often exhibiting across Cyprus, taught me a lot of skills. Also Harris was also my teacher for two years was helping me to make a good portfolio and have the confidence about drawing. He had an art school in Paphos which had a good reputation. Also Matthew Sambrooks, my fiance who I met in Wolverhampton. Everytime I have an exhibition he helps me to display the work and most important communicate with other people. It was difficult for me for the first year to talk because I didn’t have much confidence. He often translates for me.
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