Georgian Artist Tamoonz Takes Part in Top Street Art Festival in Bristol, UK

Tamoonz. Most likely you’ll have heard this name somewhere: a well-known Georgian female street artist who has adorned the cities of Georgia with her bright and colorful artworks over the years. The artist has embarked on a number of ambitious projects and this year is no exception, seeing her take part in the recent Upfest 2018, Europe’s largest annual free street art and graffiti festival, which attracts around 400 artists to paint 50 venues throughout Bedminster and Southville, Bristol (UK). Apart from Tamoonz (real name Tamuna Tsakhnakia), two other Georgian artists, Dr. Love and Oto, represented Georgia at the 2018 festival. Within the frames of the event, distinguished artists travelled from 70 countries and across the UK to paint live on 60,000 sq ft surfaces, watched by 50,000 visitors. As part of the festival, art sales, live music and art workshops were also organized.

Besides street art, Tamoonz, also makes animations for games, illustrates books and comics and does many other interesting things. The artist first became interested in street art after seeing the postcards depicting Amsterdam which she received from her father as little girl. “I became so interested in this part of underground culture that at the age of 17, I began to create my own works of street art by using paintbrushes instead of spray paint; there were no specific shops for this kind of art in Georgia at that time,” she recalled.

During her time in Bristol, the Georgian artist was hosted by the Consul of Georgia in Bristol, Derek Pickup.

GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Tamoonz about the festival and her career:

How did you end up at Upfest 2018 ?

This is the third time the festival has been held in Bristol. Originally, around 50 artists from around the world took part in Upfest, and the number is going up by the year. Participants are selected based on their applications. I applied 6 months ago and was selected. As far as I know, 15 people from Georgia applied and only three of us were chosen.

What kind of artwork did you come up with for the festival?

The festival lasts around one week. Several locations had been selected where artists could paint their works. I was given a space at Ashton Gate and painted my signature bird holding a spray can, itself in the process of painting.

Tell us about other festivals you’ve taken part in

Since 2012, I’ve taken part in several international and local festivals, including the Kosmopolite Art Tour 2012 in Belgium. This was the first street art festival I was actually invited to. In 2013/14/16, I was part of the Batumi Graffiti Festival in Georgia; and in 2015/16 I took part in Fabirkafitti Festival in Tbilisi, where both Georgian and international artists put their ideas into specially devoted spaces on the buildings, walls and streets around Fabrika. In 2016, I traveled to Nepal and took part in the PRASAD festival, creating a mural on one of the crowded streets as well as painting a wall in one of the rooms in the old palace Bal Mandir. There, I decided to introduce Georgian script to the locals and wrote some words on the wall. Everyone liked it and asked me what it meant and wanted to know more about the language, complimenting the Georgian alphabet. I’ve also taken part in group exhibitions with international street artists: Graffiti and Street Art at Médiathèque Lucie Aubrac 2015, Lyon; Strokar 2016 Brussels; Happanstance Gallery 2013, and I received the award Critics’ Choice for my artwork exhibited in London.

What are your future plans?

I’ve signed an agreement with and now my works are being put on T-shirts, bags and other items. I’ll add some more to the collection. I’m constantly busy. I recently finished painting a 300 square meter wall in Sairme, a Georgian balneological resort- the largest artwork I’ve ever painted. In mid-August, I’m flying to Berlin to be part of a project organized by an international organization which will see me spending one week painting and collaborating with other international artists.

By Lika Chigladze

02 August 2018 17:27