She is a nomad artist although, for the last 13 years, she has found her inspirational paradise on the island of Cyprus. Mare Paraskeva is an artist from Macedonia but for the last 13 y. she has been painting faces of tourists and passers-by in the city of Paphos. Her hand painted glasses, candle holders, glass souvenirs can be found round the world. Also, her collection of hand painted women’s bags My Mare brought her success in the world of fashion.
You have been a nomad artist since you were 17-18, when you left your hometown Gevgelija. You live in Cyprus now. Which places did you visit before you came to Cyprus and why did you choose Cyprus?
Yes, right after high school I left my beautiful Gevgelija and moved to Skopje to study architecture at Sts. Cyril and Methodius University. After my second year I decided to go to England. I lived in Maidstone, Kent, and then moved to London in search of new experiences. There I met artists from all over the world with whom I shared a similar destiny and ideas. There I met Kyp, a musician who later became my life companion. He is a Cypriot born and raised in London. In fact I first visited Cyprus when we moved here 13 years ago.
Art is your guiding light through life… Where does your love for art and painting, in particular, come from?
That’s so true… Art is definitely my guide through life. Being creative is like breathing to me. As a child I would always express my emotions and feelings through art. I am a person who doesn’t like to talk a lot but instead I like to paint, draw, create.
You paint on all kinds of surfaces, bags, glasses, people… How did it all begin?
I did my first glass painting as a child, I secretly took two of my mum’s small glass vases and painted them using using nail polish. I always used to say how much I love to do glass painting and it was in London, 14 years ago, when as Christmas gift from my babe Kyp, i received my first glass painting kit. I was so happy! It was then when I started and haven’t stopped since. With the years, I have developed my own style and from painting decorative plates, candle holders, mirrors, vases, tea pots, wine glasses, etc..
Painting faces and changing them into characters and animals is something I have been doing for almost 10 years. Six months during the year I do face paint every day! For the last 7 years I have been resident face painter in the most visited entertainment restaurant in Paphos, Fat Mama’s. I have always been in to the art of fashion. Creating a wearable piece of art has been yet another way to express myself. I have chosen painting on hand bags. Women love their hand bags and owning a unique or customised one, makes us even more special! My first collection of My Máre hand painted bags was launched in late 2010 and is now successfully selling worldwide. I must say that I feel so lucky to do a job I love so much!
You live with your husband in Cyprus? How’s the living there?
After living in the city of London, I would say life in Cyprus is an easy going, life on a beach. From the day I came here, honestly, I never really felt as a foreigner. Cypriot people are so welcoming and as similar in tradition to where I come from. I feel so much at home here. Being an artist and being married to a professional musician, my life here is: music, art and the sea. We wake up with it and we go to sleep with it.
Mare’s tourist tips and tricks about Cyprus:
Which is the fastest and the cheapest way to get from Macedonia to Cyprus?
I usually fly to Thessaloniki, then by car to Gevgelija. Return ticket costs around 300 eu, the good news is that, recently there are cheep flights here in Cyprus. There are flights to Thessaloniki too.
Beer price in bar in Cyprus?
Price for a beer in a bar is 2 euro, in a club is around 5 eu, all depends if is a club or a bar with entertainment or not. In the bouzouki clubs prices go way up.
Cost effective is if you come to Cyprus with friends and you share the expenses. For a 2 bedroom apartment for up to 6 people with a communal pool, price start from around 450 euros per week. Or, 3 bedroom villa with a private pool, for 6 people, price start at 600 euros per week.