Meet Alexia Tryfon, a talented visual developer and concept artist, living and working in Vancouver, Canada. Alexia is known for her interesting characters and imaginative backgrounds, as well as her completed works for gaming companies and exhibitions. Alexia is currently an artist in the Rolemodels Exhibition and in the upcoming 6 Degrees! We are in love with her mystical and playful style, and cannot wait to celebrate all of her work.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up on a small island country called Cyprus. I was lucky to grow up in a place full of cultural history. In school, we'd go on field-trips to see churches built during the Byzantium era and visited museums filled with jewelry and statues dating back 3000 years. I think the history still affects my art.
I attended OCAD in Toronto where I got my Degree in Industrial Design. I loved Industrial Design but after working in the industry for a few years I needed a change and decided to get into concept design and visual development.
Can you tell me a little about your studio practice? What you are inspired by at the moment?
I work from home most of the time. In my studio i have a large collection of inspiring art books that both my husband and I have purchased over the years. I've collected books ranging from Dali, Van Gogh, Escher, Rockwell, Payne to the art of James Jean, Peter De Seve, Pascal Campion and James Gurney. The house and the studio walls are filled with artwork from my favorite artists. I love being surrounded by color and have paintings that tell a story or depict a moment.
In the Rolemodels Exhibition, your prompt was a little different than most in creating a landscape verses a character. Can you talk about your process in developing the Fire Kingdom? What were your considerations and mood you were trying to set?
Initially, the 'Fire Kingdom' was going to be depicted as a inhospitable desert. I decided instead to see fire for its beauty not for its destructiveness. Growing up in a place where snow was rare and rain was scarce, there was something about home that made it beautiful none-the-less. Here, the light is very different and everything has adapted to the heat of the sun. I thought of fire as something beautiful, full of life, dancing in the dark and the warmth that everyone wanted to be around.
The Fire Kingdom became that place. A place where the ground is lava, always changing, always moving. Where life grows out of it, uses its energy and blooms and bursts with blue flame. There, the animals have adapted to it. The stag you see in my piece takes the energy from the lava, igniting his antlers with blue flames in a vibrant courtship display. There are also jellyfish in this sky that float in the air from the heat rising up from the ground. Crystals that help the light travel further as the lava runs passed them. The ecosystem exists because it is fueled by the fire.
You are really talented at creating these dynamic and other worldly landscapes. Are you inspired by travel or your own landscape?
I love traveling! I was very fortunate to grow up in a family that loved art, and I was able to visit so many museums around Europe, although I don't think I appreciated them as much until I was older. I also loved exploring and finding new hidden places around our home. Snorkeling with my dad and going into caves and caverns in the summer. I guess I have always loved observing nature, so each piece I create I try to imagine what it would sound like, what it would be like.
Do you have different approaches in creating landscapes verses characters?
Creating landscapes is second nature to me. Honestly, no pun intended. I always have difficulty creating characters and I actually joined this project to push me out of my comfort zone! Character design takes me longer then any landscape piece and I get overwhelmed sometimes in what style of character to create and the technicalities behind it. But when I create a landscape it feels more natural. Okay, pun intended that time.
During Rolemodels, we are celebrating all of our real life heroes. Who are your mentors or art role models?
Role models, to me, need to be real people. People I can actually speak to and get feedback and advice. My first role model was my mother. She was always running me around getting art supplies, pushing me to be better, and was supportive of any decision- She kept me honest about it.
My husband is someone who I really admire. He helps me focus and has pushed me to pursue avenues I did not believe I could take, avenues I did not think I was ready for and he has been there to pick me up when I fall. And I fall a lot. I'm clumsy. And he continues to be my first line of defense for bad ideas.
On a professional level, a role model I have only recently met in person, Pascal Campion turned out to be everything he proved to be on paper and more. I had communicated with Pascal over email and finally got to meet him at San Diego Comic-Con. He is delightful and full of life. You can recognize his work anywhere. The simplicity in his rendering, his lighting and his subject matter and how each and every single piece he creates has so much heart is something I have always tried to perfect in my work. He is honest, friendly and gave me some wonderful advice that I'm still working through.
To every artist I'd say, it's not about having the role model, but having lots of them, who push you in different ways from different walks of life.
If you had the chance to create any project, what would you make?
Realistically, I'm creating this app with my husband that I am very excited about and have been working hard at it for everyone to enjoy.... but I've had a dream where each and every artist, young and old from around the world come together in a old city to paint the whole city, each and every inch with whatever they like, with any and every color under the rainbow, while drinking lemonade out of fountains and eating fruit from the trees. Whoa, I gotta stop eating goat cheese before bed!
What is upcoming for you? What can we expect to see in the coming months?
At the moment I am working on an app for kids. My husband and I created a company named 2BLoo Studio where we are creating a game for children. I'm also making a children's book with a friend about a little girl superhero. Starting in January I will be doing the backgrounds for Atomic Cartoons new IP called "Pirate Express Ship" with TELETOON Canada.
Thanks, Alexia! You can see her piece along with the other artists from the Rolemodels Exhibition on the digital gallery here. You can also check out Alexia's upcoming work for the 6 Degrees Exhibition on the online shop and digital gallery here. Or check out her own website.