(above) Detail: Cape Town Civic Centre IRT Station Mural by Julia Anastasopoulos, 2010 (click to enlarge)
Cape Town artist, Julia Anastasopoulos recently completed installation of a massive, finely detailed mural at the Civic Centre Station of the new IRT (Integrated Rapid Transit). If you're near, have a good look. Meanwhile, these images will give you an idea. Its packed with Cape Town character and landmarks, with a sense of innocence, warmth and wonder. Explore and enjoy.
Currently, there are few images of this piece online so I've erred towards more here, including some of my snaps in situ for a sense of scale. The huge whimsical cityscapes extend for many metres inside and outside the station.
I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her art.
Bollemakiesie: What’s an artist?
Julia: Someone who gets to use their imagination for a living. Someone inspired and who inspires.
What are you?
I’m a bit of a creative balancing act, but I guess an artist would cover it. I’m very lucky.
What do you tell people you do?
I dread the question and generally mumble something about being either an artist or a designer, in fear of being perceived as pretentious. Isn’t it funny how we do that? Then I kick myself and wish I had said, “I’m an artist!” with a flourish and a twirl, without thinking twice.
How did/do you develop your skills/style?
I’ve been drawing these funny little characters for as long as I can remember. I found some drawings that I drew when I was about 8 and you would recognize them as mine. From there it has just developed in time on its own, I draw on everything, all the time. Hand me that fine liner.
What inspires you?
Beautiful children’s books, people, architecture, Raymond Peynet and Saul Steinberg.How would you describe your work to someone who’s blind?
Fantastical, intricate, playful line drawings that you can get lost in.
What do you do a lot that you don’t normally mention to people?
A day at a bookshop or the Milnerton market.
How long did the mural at the station take you?
It took approximately three months from inception to completion. The illustrations took a few weeks, even though they were made on a smaller scale.
How did you approach it?
With much anxiety! But I had a really amazing team who I wouldn’t have managed without. There was a lot of photographic research, mapping and brainstorming. And google earthing, believe it or not. It’s a brilliant reference tool.
(above) Section of Interior Panel
(above) Exterior Panel: Future. (Click to enlarge)
(above) Detail: Bo-Kaap
What was the brief?
To create an artwork for the large double-sided walls under the Civic Centre bridge. The nature of the wall surfaces needed to be taken into consideration as well as the location’s particular history and context. I made four representations of a Cape Town cityscape; “looking forward and looking back in space and time” was my concept.
What ways do you express your creativity
In whatever ways I can, I’m constantly re-arranging furniture, making things out of found objects. I draw little comics and make stop frame flash animations. I am also a performer.
How do people find out about you?
Where are you going?
To Paris! At the end of the month. I can’t wait.
What do you want to be doing next year?
I want to develop a range of mural wallpaper, and open up a shop. I also want to complete the children’s story I’ve started. I don’t think it will have any words, only pictures.
What would you love to do that you’ve never done yet?
Ride in a hot air balloon.
Have you got a dream?
I would love to design and build a house.
(For more of Julia's art, see knolc link at right or here.)