Isolation Interview with Margaret Paraskos, Cyprus College of Art in Lemba



Cyprus College of Art, Lemba

April 2020

Margaret Paraskos was born in Leeds and grew up in Canterbury. She spent many of her summer holidays in Paphos with her family and later went on to study Fine Art at the University of Brighton. After graduation, Paraskos completed her Master’s Degree at the University of Northampton. Today, she is an Artist and Director of the Cyprus College of Art in Lemba, which she runs with her son, Emilio Koutsoftides. Her father was the late Stass Paraskos, who is, without question, one of Cyprus’ leading artists and the founder of the Cyprus College of Art in Lemba. His brightly coloured figurative paintings are in the collection of the Tate Gallery in London.  

Where are you spending isolation and with who?

I am in isolation with one of my three sons, at home in Emba.

How are you coping with isolation? How are you staying busy?

Like many, I am doing a lot more cooking than I usually would have time to do. I am also using the time to paint several artworks in preparation for my future exhibition at the Blue Iris Art Gallery in Paphos. It is due to take place in June and will hopefully still go ahead if things are back to normal.

What is the current status of your business?

The Cyprus College of Art is temporarily closed. We had several bookings from artists and students coming to join us from across Europe, but these have now been postponed. One of these is a group of ten undergraduate students from Central St. Martin’s who will now come  for a month in August.

Do you have anything you would like to promote?

During these hard times, everyone needs to keep in touch with each other. My son, Emilio Koutsoftides, has set up a Facebook page called piXel which will feature the work of artists from all over the world. We are also looking forward to the Art Exhibition by the Central St. Martin’s group at the end of August. Further details will be advertised on our Facebook page – Cyprus College of Art.

Do you have a message/advice for other business owners?

I think when everything slowly returns to the healthy life that we knew before, we need to remember to support small businesses. Everyone is having a hard time and losing income so these businesses should be our priority, to help them through these unknown times.

What is positive about being in isolation?

The main thing is that we have a lot of time to do the things we usually don’t have time to do. It is a luxury for me to spend time with my son, Paris and we are enjoying each other’s company as he has only just recently moved back to Cyprus. Also, I now have time to research artists I admire and with whom I share a similar subject matter. I like to compare how they treat the same subject in their art. To have the time to do this is a source of inspiration for me as with the College, my art and my family, I am usually swamped.

What is negative about being in isolation?

I am obviously missing family and friends. On a professional level, it is challenging to be at home as my studio, and most of the equipment is at the College in Lemba. Before the lockdown, I did manage to bring quite a lot of it home.

Are you cooking and if so, share your favourite dish?

Having so much time to cook at home has been very enjoyable. My favourite dish at the moment is a Three Bean Salad with lots of fresh mint which I grow in the garden.  I also like Black Eyed Peas with Fresh Spinach.

What have you been watching to pass the time? Can you recommend any films/series?

I have just watched the series, Freud, on Netflix. It is fantasy all about the theories of Freud and is a combination of a thriller/murder mystery. I am just about to start the series Unorthodox which is based on a true story. I like Netflix as it has a wide variety of stimulating series to watch.

What have you been listening to in terms of music? Can you recommend an album?

I have been listening to a lot of the Canadian country singer called Neil Young. He is a multi-instrumentalist and a self-described activist. Music is uplifting through these times.

When things get back to normal, what are you looking forward to the most?

I am really looking forward to getting back to walking along the coast and also my classes at Vanessa Morton Yoga. It will be nice to see the College full of artists creating again. Most of all, I look forward to being reunited with my family and visiting my younger son, Nicolas, in the UK.

Short Interview by Cyprus in Style Magazine. Join our Facebook network to stay updated at @CyprusinStyle.

Margaret was awarded Featured Artist by Cyprus in Style Magazine. Read the FULL Article Here.