Interview with artist Chicu Eugenia Toyma
Tell us a few things about yourself so we can get to know you better.
My name is Chicu Eugenia Touma and I am an artist! I was born in Calarasi city, Republic of Moldova. I’m coming from a simple family; my mom was an account manager and my father worked in construction. I have got 2 sisters and one brother. All of us, except my brother, loved arts from childhood. I’m a self- taught artist, my younger sister finished fine arts school, now she is a little artist in Romania, and my older sister chose the path of dance. Only my brother loves cars 😉 I was doing arts since my primary school; I even won few Olympiads there. As soonest I finished the primary school, I did an year of cooking studies, then I jumped to secretariat studies for one more year, then I did a year of body massage and reflexology studies, I even worked a bit in this direction. After all these studies I become a fan of technology, and I went to school of graphic design and web design. As soonest I finished these studies I moved to Cyprus, in 2009 Cyprus become my new homeland! My older sister was already living here. Because of not having experience after my studies, and my Greek and English languages were not particularly good, the only job I could get was to work as a waitress. I worked until 2015, I managed to learn Greek language by talking only and I hope in the future I will learn and grammatic also. (I speak 5 languages now). I’ve met my lovely husband here, he is French Lebanese, and we are together since 2010, we’ve got 2 wonderful kids, a boy and a girl. About Cyprus life, I love souvlaki kai frappe ha-ha. I love the culture here, I like the Greek music, I love the food, I love everything here!!! My babies were born here, in the end of the day they are the future of Cyprus, like many other babies.
What does a painting mean to you and when did your relationship with it begin?
In 2016 my first baby was born, and while he was growing, I wanted to teach him something from what I can do…Arts!I wanted to keep him busy 😉. So, my art path started in the end of 2016 in Larnaca, I consider my self a local artist because my professional path it started here. My first exhibition Art Fair was in Pathos in 2018, after that continued in the same year with a solo exhibition in art wine bar, for 3 days I had 5 group exhibitions and 1 solo. Now art is my second job, my first job is my babies 😉. The painting process is a kind of relaxation, even if that happens after 9 pm until 2-3 am, is like a fresh breeze for me in the end of the evening. And if one day I did not touch the brushes or palette knives, I feel like I wasted a day!
Did your family encourage you by seeing your penchant for painting?
Yes, they like what I do, and they are enormously proud!I’m very thankful for that to my super husband who supports me, and sometimes accept the mess I do in the house with my colors ha-ha
What else do you do in your free time?
In my free time, I love walking around, I may take my daughter in the pushchair, and walk between the small streets, about 1-2 hours. I also do like to take photos of local nature or architecture. Every time I go to walk, I choose a different road. Also, I like to watch detective movies and to read psychology books.
What are the themes that inspire you and what emotions dominate when creating a painting?
Themes are always different, I like experimenting, for example today I can start a landscape, tomorrow I will work on an African portrait, (I love African culture), most of my themes are sunsets, landscapes, skyscapes, nature static, nudes, snails, fruits, now for example I’m working on a set of seashells and beach stones. About emotions I can't say so much, cause when I start working on, I put my favorite music, I take my coffee, and I don’t see anything around, I’m just in the painting, what’s going on around me, feels like happens on parallel planet. An I stop when I feel tired, imagine, taking care all day of the babies, (no kindergarten since march), husband, all the work in the house, and the end I still have the power to work 😉 I don’t know how long I will keep going on this rhythm, but when someone choose a painting for his house made by me, makes me feel so proud, so energetic…
Have you ever admired another painter’s work?
Of course, I like many artist’s work, for example recently I discovered a local artist and her amazing art Katerina Parpa.
What is your opinion on the role of criticism? What is your reaction to the negative reviews?
I haven’t any problem with the constructive criticism, I openly receive the criticism and accept all the opinions. Arts has no borders, so of course is all about people’s views, everyone sees what they want to see, everyone judge based on their experiences., and yes, sometimes this criticism opens my mind, or shows up of some mistakes I’ve done, and makes me work and achieve more from the art world!
Did social media help your work?
Yes, a lot! I use only Facebook and Instagram to promote my art.
Did the period of quarantine affect your inspiration?
No, not at all.
The painter you admire..
Yes, I’m a big fan of Sonia Ben Jemia’s arts, she is a Tunisian artist, whom I’ve met in a group exhibition in Larnaca.
The painting also works therapeutically in humans, did it help you psychologically?
Yes of course is calming, you know women after giving birth, all they see is baby, pampers cleaning, cooking and taking care of everything, at this point you may have the feeling that somewhere you lost yourself, your identity… I had the feeling that there’s no me anymore, that I have nothing, that I’m no one except being a mom…. To be mom is great, but to be a happy mom who has own interest is better! I was wondering what my babies will say in the school, that their mom is a just a housewife, or what example they will get from me? And another plus is now my house is full of paintings, vibrant colors are making my house feeling like a place of a positive fairytale.
Are there times when you don’t want to paint at all?
Yes, when I sleep ha-ha
What advice would you like to give to children who choose fine art schools?
Do your best there! Actually, I haven’t a lot of recommendations because I didn’t do it, if I return back the time, I will definitely go an art school!
Are you preparing a new project for a future exhibition and want to share it with our readers?
For this summer I am registered to 4 group exhibitions, one is ending today. The next group exhibition will be in the Art Studio 55 Gallery, (23A, Andrea Drousioti str. Limassol), the opening will be on 17th July and will end on 24 of July, the exhibition name will be All Colors 2020 Multicultural Art Fair. The next group exhibition will be in Larnaca, on 24th July, and end on 31st July, at 3 Angels Modern Gallery, opening 8 pm, (6045 Larnaca, Andrea Themistokleous). And the last exhibition of this summer will be also at 3 Angels Modern Gallery on 7th August until the 7th September.