Meet the artist behind the fabulously Sydney print created for Fringe

Photo by Sally Flegg Photography

Photo by Sally Flegg Photography

Today we’re featuring the talent behind the exclusive Sydney Fringe 2018 print, as seen on our Fringe faces Emily and Josh.

Sydney is a city of bold colours and big identities. The raving sapphire of our coastal waters on a sunny day, the blazing rouge of Kings Cross’s iconic Coca-Cola sign, and the fresh mint green of our many parks, their trees fist-pumping to the sky: these are the primary hues of the Harbour City’s kaleidoscope. And there, sashaying and bopping through the rainbow landscape is artist and fashion designer Stavroula Adameitis aka Frida Las Vegas. Her works are a visual, tactile love ode to Sydney, toasting its glamour with a humour-like-champagne while also celebrating its odd, shabbier eccentricities. Like the ibis.

“I grew up in Adelaide and would visit Sydney as a kid on family holiday,” says Adameitis, “Adelaide doesn't have a plentiful Ibis population like Sydney does, so when I saw these dirty flamingos casually roaming the city streets – and no one batted an eyelid – I was seriously stunned! I remember thinking that Ibises looked so majestic, especially when they were scouring through wheelie bins. When I moved to Sydney in 2011, I was shocked to sense a permeating feeling of disdain for the Ibis from the locals.”

The Frida Las Vegas collection references the bin chicken adoringly in a number of items, starting with perspex earrings back in 2014 and currently available as a limited run ‘glamour sack’. This is in aid of championing the PR of the ibis, a misunderstood bird doing everything it can to survive in rapidly developing urban spaces. “Long may they rummage!” cheers Adameitis.

Such irreverent humour and genuine exuberance is splashed all over Frida Las Vegas. Adameitis’ pop aesthetic cheekily licks at 80s and 90s Australiana, blending old favourites from the milk bar mixed businesses of suburbia with colours and cuts that you could imagine wrapping Grace Jones, Dame Edna, Jenny Kee or Leigh Bowery. When asked about why such a style is important for Sydney now, Adameitis demurs, “There are so many wonderful Sydney-based artists working across mediums that are tackling some mega important social and political themes with their work. I'm literally drawing packets of Razzamatazz stockings!”

But, she does point out that “this was a time when Australia proudly marketed itself to the rest of the world with colour, humour and flamboyancy. I find nostalgia a powerful lens by which to ask questions about what Australian popular culture and identity means today.” Rather than a yearning for a time past, Adameitis’s nostalgia comes across as serious play, standing up to unethical fast fashion and global homogenisation by brands like H&M, Topshop, Zara and Uniqlo, and hailing the unique quirks of local identities.

Some of these unique quirks are fully embraced in the Frida Las Vegas print for this year’s Sydney Fringe: the Coke sign, the Opera House, the pests of restricted parking and, of course, the ibis.

Photo courtesy of Frida Las Vegas

Photo courtesy of Frida Las Vegas

“I'm really excited for Sydney-siders to come out from winter hibernation and explore different spaces they might not usually make the effort to visit, in the spirit of discovering new experiences and creating a cultural fabric we can all be proud of,” says Adameitis, and her colourful calls to action are not restricted to those buying tickets.

“Skill up. Tool up,” is her advice to the artists, makers, future culture drivers in Sydney, “stay ahead of the game with real, practical, hands-on skills that render you valuable and flexible for a changing world. Support other people in the creative community by being present at their shows and sharing resources wherever possible.”

And, most importantly –
“Put down your mobile phone or computer regularly to really live life in the city. Inspiration is literally everywhere!”

Frida Las Vegas:


Words by James Dalton