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She has allowed us into her world and has released her fear and vulnerability.  She has dug deep into her soul for us and has done it masterfully.

Meet Maria.  Many of you know her as @muzbanger or @_calipso_, a truly talented artist who I would love to meet in person one day.

She also co-runs HorrorClub, which is how my idea for a short horror film came to be.  Perhaps this is only the beginning of a horror series for WeAreJuxt?  You decide…

B: First and foremost I just want to say that I’m so thrilled that you’ve created these original images especially for We Are Juxt readers. How were you able to get in the zone and produce this series for the short film?  What were you feeling at the moment?

M: I was having a blue day or moment.  I was getting down about a personal issue or confrontation of sorts and on arriving home I found myself acting on the moment as it were.  Though if I get depressed or down I thankfully come out of it within a few  hours or less… and my little shoot certainly helped that!

B:  You initially started on Instagram as @muzbanger and then later on introduced @_calipso_ , the minimal side.  What made you create another account and how have you maintained the balance between the two?  Do you prefer one over the other?

M: Initially @muzbanger was a mixed account of art and snippets of minimal bits of life. I couldn’t sustain a regular audience for both. It seemed people enjoyed one or the other and well, so did I,  which became increasingly so as I went along. One minute I was floored by the intricacies of people’s art, then on other side just as gob-smacked at the beautiful clean lines of minimal work!

It seems easy to do both. @_calipso_ is the every day snippets of looking up or closer to detail. We pass things on our way to work etc that can be capture in a single moment without too much extra editing!  I try going by each account daily.

B.  What apps do you tend to use for special effects and general editing?

M: General editing (say for @_calipso_) would be maybe shot first with native or Hipstamatic camera, then using Snapseed mainly (ps express and diptic sometimes)

If creating art for @muzbanger I shoot first with native camera (or Hipstamatic) then multiple apps are used there after. Sometimes up to 5 apps or more  are used at any one time (lovingly known as app-stacking!) Some of my favourites are Snapseed, blurfx,  Decim8, Blender, montage, scratchcam, Mextures. Others I have include pictureshow, Pixlromatic, VSCOcam, diptic, psexpress, slow shutter, art rage, deco sketch, king camera, filter mania and distressedfx, just to name several ;-]

B: You co-run Horror Club with founder and fellow _uxter, John.  How has the experience been?  How would you describe the type of photographs featured in your gallery?  What classifies an image to be a part of Horror Club, aside from the typical blood and gore?

M: I was so thrilled when I was asked to join the team,  I think I said yes immediately from memory!

It has been quite an eye opener and more to it than meets the eye… people play out there fantasies on that tag, some too gruesome for my liking and that just make me cringe. I think my own influences come through when I choose someones work, I love artful blood but not ‘blood and guts’ so to speak. I draw the line on people doing re-enactments of a murder scene or sacrifices that have a satanic undertone.  I do enjoy a dark scary undertone with a twist of psychological thriller!!  Hitchcock comes to mind. However what the next moderator would choose may be different to me, a good balance all around I guess.


B:  Tell us what childhood was like.  Where did you grow up? Have you always been artistic?

M:  I had a happy childhood and third in line of 4 siblings. I was born in Papua, New Guinea and then moved to Brisbane, Australia with my family when I was 2 years old.  My Dad was Cypriot and my Mum Greek. Then when I was 8 years old we moved to the country town of Gladstone where I completed school.

I dearly wanted to move back to the city for art college but for financial and personal reasons (my Father died of lung cancer when I was 18 years old) stayed there and completed a hairdressing apprenticeship instead.  My artistic ability showed through even with hairdressing, I won many competitions, worked at fashion shows etc. Instagram was the new outlet for re-igniting my love and passion for art.

B:  Is there a person who inspires you?  Someone you can relate to and feel a strong connection to?

M:  Many artists inspire me, not only from a commercial and graphic art perspective, but interiors, architecture, photography, music etc…. people inspire me, cities, fashion and more.  I could rattle off names but probably too many to fit into this slot!! I relate to lots of people but feel a strong connection to a subject than a person… be it the topics I mentioned before, but also emotions of depth, compassion, empathy, love, hate, depression, anger etc.  I’m drawn to (figuratively speaking that is) either black or white, and not much of the grey in between!

B:  Your images are full of emotion.  They’re deep and vulnerable.  Strong yet sensitive.  What would you like people to know about you and your photography. What’s your message?

M:  It is a reflection of my personality, I am all those things you described above.  People should be themselves when they make art, don’t allow people’s criticism to put you off. It couldn’t be a more vast topic, expressed on so many levels and it so it should be!

B:  You have recently joined Jason Flett, Kaily Koutsogiannis, Giulia Macario and George Politis in creating a new Australian photography site called, The Mnemonics.  What brought you all together?  What are some of your future goals and plans?  What can we expect from the site?

M:  A few of us Aussies had formed a friendship via Instagram. Some of us had met from this, but through the genius mind of Giulia had come the idea to form the group.  Showcasing our work to head down the track of having future exhibits and selling our prints on our website!  We hope to blog on various mobile photography techniques, apps, styles and artists eventually! I’m extremely excited to be part of such a talented bunch. We will be launching our website very soon and hopefully have an exhibition in one of Australia’s major cities by the end of the year.

B:  What are your hobbies?  Tell us something unique about yourself, something we wouldn’t otherwise know by looking at your gallery.

M:  Making art for various photo sights is a big hobby of mine outside work (I have my own hairdressing salon) and kids.  I like going to the gym and cooking!! Not much time for anything else!!!!!

B:  I’m always curious about people’s preference in music.  List some of your favorite bands/musicians.

M:  It varies, from work to home to play! From Flume,  compilations like Hôtel Costes and Buddha Bar, Adele, Sarah Blasko, Kings of Leon, La Roux, Morcheeba, Róisín Murphy, Angus and Julia Stone, The Knife, Florence + The Machine… and golden oldies like Eurythmics, De La Soul, Black Eyed Peas!!

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Maria Flourou 

Bio:

I excelled in the arts at secondary school and pursued this career at University. Deviating from this path, I then began a career in hairdressing which remains as my current occupation.  Various accolades were achieved throughout my career, including State L’oreal Champion 2 years running, IHS colour awards, state and regional judging, teaching at seminars for Wella, and working at many state level fashion shows and magazines.

Passion for photography began in the simplest form of mobile photography, where I used my creative eye to design layered artworks focusing on emotion as the core subject behind each piece, this is showcased on my @muzbanger instagram page. This style comes easy to me as it helps ease the depressive state that I feel from time to time due to a medical condition that occurred around the time my first child was born. Being mostly on top of that, it is still good to reflect when making a piece… I find solace in the moment of creation.

The other style I adopt, focuses on the fundamentals, that being perspectives, minimalism and architecture which can be found on my other IG page @_calipso_.

My work has been exhibited at the LA Mobile Arts Festival (LAMAF) and selected works have been chosen for various mobile photography sights such as: AMPt, WeAreJuxt, Shooter Mag, Mobile Artistry, Amselcom, Instagood, finalist for Mobile Masters iPad ebook and many others.

Along with those accolades I am proudly part of a group The Mnemonics along side with Giulia Macario (@giuliam), Jason Flett (@lafletcher), Kaily Koutsogiannis (@kaliopy) and George Politis (@_giorgopolitis_), this is simply a gallery showcasing our work. We hope to write blogs about our experiences and sell prints in the near future.

Instagram // EyeEm // backspaces // iphoneart