If you have ever wondered if hard work pays off then keep reading. Margarita Georgiadis is perhaps the most determined person I have ever come across. She has dedicated herself to the pursuit of becoming a professional artist in a way that is truly admirable. And now she is enjoying the fruits of her labour - becoming a finalist in The Archibald Prize and exhibiting regularly at the Rex Livingston Gallery in Sydney (her latest exhibition is on until October 25) and the Edwina Corlette Gallery in Brisbane.
Which five words best describe you? Obsessive. Tenacious. Dedicated. Curious. Playful.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? My first ever job was as a hairdresser's assistant when I was 15. The only creativity I experienced from that job was after hours when I would steal as many different colours of hair dye to experiment with at home, a different shade for my mohawk every week. Since then, I enrolled myself into art school at the age of 16 and studied full time for six years, the final two at the University of Sydney for a BA in Fine Art. I also studied commercial printmaking and business studies. While still a student, I rented a small studio in Sydney CBD and worked on my own projects and began to exhibit my work. To earn money, I used to nude model for professional artists, designers, photographers, art institutions and often for my own drawing class at art school when the booked model failed to show up! On weekends I would work two jobs at The Royal North Shore Hospital from 6am - 10pm, as a catering maid and a cleaner in accident and emergency; I learned a lot about the fragility of life there. I never had time in between studying and working for a social life - good training in retrospect for an artist, as I am very comfortable working in solitude for long periods of time. After my studies, I worked part-time in advertising, commercial real estate and PR as a receptionist, and I would paint in my studio from 6pm to 3am on commissions and for solo shows. In my late twenties I launched into being a full-time professional artist. I have never looked back, but am very grateful for the path I took, the lessons I learned along the way have been more than character building. I still cut my own hair, very short, but no longer dye it.
What’s your proudest achievement? Being selected as a finalist for the Archibald Prize, which lead me to meet the man who is now my husband.
What’s been your best decision? To buy the ramshackle cinema in which my husband and I live and work, on the Southern Tablelands of NSW.
What was the starting point for this exhibition? Italo Calvino's book, Invisible Cities.
Who inspires you? Authors: Italo Calvino, Ben Okri and Paolo Zellini. Artists: Axel Geis, Michael Borremans and Lucian Freud. Music: Satie.
What are you passionate about? Universal enlightenment.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? Selflessness.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? The artist, Louise Bourgeois.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To create all the paintings I've yet to produce that bring me closer to truth.
What are you reading? T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets - I am always reading this book.
images courtesy of margarita georgiadis