It’s no small feat to create a wall mural and three Talenthouse Artists flew out to Crete, Greece to do exactly that. Thomas Cook Selected Artists, Normski, CuRu Miyuki Okada and Mark Walters spent 7 days at the “Cook's Club” Hotel to create their own large-scale pieces and place their stamp permanently on the Hotel. Facing the heat, heights and even bugs, these artists braved through the elements and created some show-stopping murals for the people in Crete and guests at “Cook's Club” to enjoy. Check out the behind-the-scenes progression of making the 3 murals and the exclusive interviews with the artists themselves! 

  

Sergiy Tsymbaliuk "Normski"

ello-xhdpi-38671691.jpg 

TH: First off, tell us a little bit about your path to becoming an artist. 
ST:
 When I was three or four years old my mom taught me how to draw ducks, and people were impressed with what I could do so I started from there, and I also used to sit with a pen and draw the land. I attended private lessons after that when I was working, one of the artists in Kiev was the teacher.

TH: What are some of your must-have tools or supplies? What could you not live without?
ST: It’s paper and a pencil - the easiest one to answer. But I really enjoy spray paint and rollers. They are really satisfying to use.

TH: What was your inspiration for this piece of artwork for Thomas Cook? 
ST: Actually, this piece is inspired by my favourite artists (a Polish duo called ETAM CRU, Norman Rockwell) and also the idea of the brief itself and the hotel concept. They helped inspire the detail of the folds and wrinkles in the towel. My friends actually reminded me when we were hanging out on our day off that I needed to submit for this brief, and they waited a couple of hours for me while I drew my sketch.

TH: Have you ever made or installed anything to this scale before?
ST: No - this is the biggest one! I was an assistant before, e.g. covering large spaces with black paint. But drawing a sketch and blowing it up this much is the first time it's this big. I’ve done smaller pieces but this is a different experience for sure.

ello-xhdpi-0a56dd20.jpg

TH: Did you enjoy the beginning stages of the installation process? What was the best bit? 
ST: Best bits is just how it's worked out. I’m enjoying how it looks right now, as well as the process. I was expecting it to be much harder but its fine I guess! Best bits are people’s reactions, and people approaching me with kind words.

TH: Have you tried to include or convey any emotions or messages in your work? If so, tell us about them and how you are using your medium / color / style to portray them?
ST: It’s kind of simple when you look at it, it’s a girl looking into the horizon. But I was trying to symbolize a “safe place” with the towel - you can see she is covered and feels safe and warm. I want people to be impressed after looking at it, and wonder how someone managed to do it!

TH: How do you see the role of the artist evolving in today’s ever-more-digital world?
ST: I think artists still have a big role - people are still more impressed from seeing a real piece of work being painted on a wall or a canvas. Myself, I was enjoying seeing the people watch. There were a lot of sweet artists out in Kiev, and I sat around to watch them work. It's pretty enjoyable to not just do digital things. But I painted the sketch in photoshop after I drew with pencil so actually both work. You cannot deny one or the other so you have to use all you’ve got.

Cooks Club Crete.jpg

TH: Did you run into any challenges or roadblocks during the project?
ST: I would say it's the hot weather and it's kinda hard physically to perform during that. And time is always a big challenge. Challenges are being up in the cherry picker; you feel like you’ve been on a train for two days, everything is a little floaty when you come back down! Also the heat and the insects up there. Bee’s fly around and now it's on the paint!

TH: What was one of the most surprising aspects of making this piece?
ST: Covering big parts with paint and a big roller is always rewarding. And also going down from crane to check the result from the ground. It's still the size of this piece.

TH: Why is it important to create art people can see and interact with in real life?
ST: You can make people feel something during the interaction or even think about something. And it's perfect when you can impress somebody to create.

TH: What new project or medium would you like to explore next?
ST: I would love to ceate another mural as big as this, located in my home city.

TH: What are you doing when you’re not creating art?
ST: Sleeping :)

 

CuRu Miyuki Okada

ello-xhdpi-f2a1f672.jpg

TH: First off, tell us a little bit about your path to becoming an artist. 
CO:
When I was 17 years old I decided to study art, after I graduated I worked as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. I had a good career in Tokyo, and then moved to London to study English. Now I live in the Netherlands now to finalise my Masters in graphics.

TH: What are some of your must-have tools or supplies? What could you not live without?
CO: MacBook, pen tablet, Mitsubishi uni ball (pen) on the glass table in a silent space.

TH: What was your inspiration for this piece of artwork for Thomas Cook?  
CO: Inspired by the Huraki Marukami, and Greek history.

TH: Have you ever made or installed anything to this scale before?
CO: No, this is one of my biggest projects. 

ello-xhdpi-108ac03b.jpg 

TH: Did you enjoy the beginning stages of the intsallation process? What was the best bit? 
CO: At first, I was very nervous, but my friend who is a great graphic designer coming to Crete to help me, gave me the confidence to finish well.

TH: Have you tried to include or convey any emotions or messages in your work? If so, tell us about them and how you are using your medium / color / style to portray them?
CO:
To look back at the historic story of Crete, regarding both its nature and in regards to literature too. Many guests are reading here - it would be good if the hotel would have Haruki Murakami’s works available for people to read. I only used the “Cook’s Club” colors from the hotel. The space is already colourful - so I kept with these colours to keep them familiar.

TH: How do you see the role of the artist evolving in today’s ever-more-digital world?
CO: Nowadays many people can express themselves on digital media. It is important to remember to keep life/”Real-life” art alive.

Cooks Club Crete.jpg

TH: Did you run into any challenges or roadblocks during the project?
CO: High temperature, and height (11 Meters) were definitely some of the challenges

TH: What was one of the most surprising aspects of making this piece?
CO: That although I submitted with a computer finished piece, it worked out on the wall. The masking tape and paint made it really sharp despite being hand-done. 

TH: Why is it important to create art people can see and interact with in real life?
CO: It’s like a conversation between artist and audiences. It can make something new in that vision etc..

TH: What new project or medium would you like to explore next?
CO: Paper cut, kinetic art. 

TH: What are you doing when you’re not creating art?
CO: Reading novels and comics, watching films, visiting museums & art fairs. Seeing & traveling.

 

Mark Walters

ello-xhdpi-33fa470f.jpg

TH: First off, tell us a little bit about your path to becoming an artist. 
MW:
Studying art from a young age I have always had an interest in art thanks to my nana, who took me to a lot of galleries and exhibitions when I was young. I have focused on making a career in the creative industry by studying as a designer and then working as a professional graphic designer for the last 7 years. In the last few years I have been equally focusing back on creating art pieces and working with the skills that I learned earlier in my studying but now with the knowledge and drive of being a designer makes me want to create more art and be as much of an artist as a designer.

TH: What are some of your must-have tools or supplies? What could you not live without?
MW: It depends mostly on the job but I would say the main three would be pens, pencils, and paper, this is the starting point where you get down your sketches and ideas. I also use adobe illustrator because this is good for my style of work and working up your ideas digitally so you can see a visual of how the piece is going to look. For this project the must-have tools have been blue scotch tape think I used about 240 metres on this project, string, tape measure and a good set of brushes.

TH: What was your inspiration for this piece of artwork for Thomas Cook?  
MW: I wanted to create something that would invite people to interact with the work. The brief asked for something “instagrammable,” so one of the pieces is the perfect backdrop for a picture. When you think about going on holiday, you immediately think about the sunshine, so both pieces have elements of this; the rays of colour on the photo ready wall, and the phrase “you are my sunshine” on the inside wall.

TH: Have you ever made or installed anything to this scale before?
MW: I normally work digitally or on large canvases and I’ve created custom artwork for interiors before but never this large.

ello-xhdpi-c66e55d8.jpg

TH: Did you enjoy the beginning stages of the intsallation process? What was the best bit? 
MW:
When you’re faced with a blank page, or in this case a blank wall, it’s always a bit daunting but as soon as you start painting it’s great. Seeing the brightness of the colours and peeling off the guide tapes to reveal the straight edges is really satisfying. The most challenging bit is getting the measurements right - both pieces are graphic and rely on precise measurements. And then the fun bit starts - the actual painting.

TH: Have you tried to include or convey any emotions or messages in your work? If so, tell us about them and how you are using your medium / color / style to portray them?
MW: I wanted to capture the warm, fun, feeling of being on holiday and make people stop, rather than just walking past. The Cooks Club brand colors are really strong and I always like to work with bold color palettes in my work, which results in a nowadays striking piece of work. I’m passionate about typography and love working and experimenting with letters, so to be able to do this at such a large scale is great.

TH: TH: How do you see the role of the artist evolving in today’s ever-more-digital world?
MW: I work digitally most of the time as a designer but I always start with a pen and paper. I think it’s valuable to still use physical craft because there are some things that you just can’t replicate digitally. I think it’s both easier and harder now for people to get their work seen, because everyone has the tools to be creative in some way and it is easy to share your work. But now as much as ever, it takes a lot of time and commitment to being an artist.

IMG_0874.JPG

TH: Did you run into any challenges or roadblocks during the project?
MW: The texture of the outside wall was quite challenging to work with as it was really bumpy and irregular. Because the piece relied on sharp, straight lines we were using tape, which didn’t want to stick to that surface! So it took a little longer than anticipated to get all the guides taped up. But that makes the end result even more pleasing.

TH: What was one of the most surprising aspects of making this piece?
MW: The guests at the hotel were really interested in it through the whole process. It was really nice to hear people’s positive comments before it was even finished. It was being used and photographed literally as soon as the scaffolding came down!  

TH: Why is it important to create art people can see and interact with in real life?
MW: With so much work being viewed and created digitally now, I think there’s something extra satisfying about seeing something tangible. There’s an extra layer of experience when you can reach out and touch what you’re looking at. I think it must be exciting to be able to see something in person that you’ve only seen on a small screen through mobile, especially seeing colors in front of you that are as bright in real life as they are on screen. 

TH: What new project or medium would you like to explore next?
MW: I would like to carry on painting more murals in my style of art, but also work more on creating paintings that I could get exhibited one day.

TH: What are you doing when you’re not creating art?
MW: I really enjoy cooking, which I think is because it’s still creative but in a different way. So I cook and go out for food a lot. If I am not creating I’ll either be watching films, on the Xbox or playing poker.

We want to thank all the artists who submitted to this Creative Invite.