A designer by trade, Simon Silaidis has managed to remove financial motivation from his calligraphy practice, instilling it with a rare purity.
“Calligraphy for me is a way of life, “Silaidis says. “The sweeping brushstrokes, the formation of the letters and the control over the ink gives me a sense of freedom, but at the same time a sense of captivity to make the best possible art.”
“I try to completely express my inner self through calligraphy. Art, after all, is about expressions and communication. That’s why I spend so much time finding ideal locations that merge in harmony with my art instead of places where many people can see it.”
Void of explicit signatures, Silaidis’ style itself has become the key identifier for his murals. Drawing on his vast cultural experience, the western Arabic and Asian influences that are on proud display in his lettering are not easy to ignore. Given the scale of the works, it’s hard to believe his process is largely unplanned, preferring to remain dynamic and responsive to the site itself.
I try to find special spots where I intend to express the atmosphere of the surroundings
through my art,” he says. “I spend most of the time getting the idea out of my head to the wall.
“I use a variety of brushes; my favourite colour is black because it remains a neutral expression to the viewer while maintaining a strict character. I try to keep all my works as sharp as possible and this means that it can take quite some time before reaching the result I want.”
Silaidis adds to the disbelief when he reveals the meagre material output required to create the works.
“I manage to create all my big murals with only 500ml of paint. This gives me more control to know that everything used is 100 per cent important. I dry my brushes over and over in order to achieve as much sharpness as possible since I work on unbuffed surfaces and I want to keep the surface wall atmosphere as I found it.”