Nick Georgiou’s studio is a hoard of books and magazines, his art a celebration – literally – of the printed word.
In a world that’s going mad for digital, Nick Georgiou’s art does the opposite. “It’s inspired by the death of the printed word. Books and newspapers are becoming artifacts of the 21st century,” says the New Yorker who has settled in Tucson.
Corners of his downtown studio are piled high with old paperbacks and newspapers. Shelves are full to brimming. The difference is, though, these books are turned backwards, with the pages showing rather than the spines.
Nick turns the pages into vivid, arresting 3-D paper images – everything from flowers to animals to human portraits. He used to just take the pages as they were. Now he paints them whatever color he needs for his art. These splashes of color come from living in the desert, he says, where he feels closer to nature and the sky. “I’ve been hanging out with a lot of painters and I opened myself up to taking my work in a different direction. It came to me that I could actively manipulate and create colors and patterns.”
Nick trained as a filmmaker and spent time as a production designer. Trailing the streets of New York in search of props led him to start collecting old books. One evening, tired from his day job (which was creeping into night time work as well), he wanted to make art for himself. He took a look at the books piled in his studio and started to envisage shapes. Not long afterwards, a friend showed him in a gallery, and the pieces started to sell.
He moved to Tucson four years ago to give some lectures at the U of A and, save for the occasional visit to New York, has never left. “The art community has been very welcoming. There’s not so much competition here,” he says. People bring him boxes of books and newspapers, and he also collects book from Bookmans, the book exchange store.
Does it make him sad to rip up books for art? “I don’t feel sorry for the book,” he says. “I’m excited about giving the book new life.”
He also loves the idea of creating art out of an artefact. That happened to an extreme degree when he first moved here in 2009 when, while he was working with copies of the Tucson Citizen, the printed version of the newspaper folded. “I was making art with something that became an artifact that day.” He still has a Tucson Citizen sculpture of a dog to prove it.
Nick Georgiou’s work sells from $500 to $6000. Contact him at www.myhumancomputer.blogspot.com