New Portfolio & Blog

Hello! I’ve been posting on this blog since 2009 (Argh! Six years!) and although I do NOT plan to stop, I’d like to change things up a bit.

Until now, all my creative news has been posted here, whether it be Thefty news, or my personal freelance work. The time has come to separate the two streams. My personal illustration and photography work will now move over  to www.HelenaMaratheftis.com, my shiny new portfolio website and blog. You can follow me there on Bloglovin’ if you like, and I hope you come and say hello!

All Thefty-related news will remain right here, so don’t run away! 

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That’s all from me now, but I’ll be back soon with come exciting news…stay tuned!

Beetles! Emerald greens.

Hello! Welcome to my Beetles! series. I am the behind-the-scenes photographer in the beetles department at the Natural History Museum (aka the ‘Coleoptera section of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division’). The collection is an enormous jewel box of six-legged beauty, and I’ve got plenty of photos to share!

My favourite thing is colour, and unsurprisingly, that’s probably my favourite thing about the museum’s beetle collection. Drawer after drawer after drawer, there are beetles in shocking blues and velvety browns and luminous golds.  I could never pick a favourite beetle, but I have a particular fondness for those covered in green: shimmering emerald metallics, dark mossy hues, or glossy vivid greens. Nature’s colour palette is absolutely top notch.

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I’m currently working on a painting featuring beetles and foliage, and these green guys have been providing more than their fair share of inspiration. (You can see some of my preliminary sketches here and here.)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been collecting lots of visual inspiration for my project, and have come across lots of other artists and designers who have incorporated beetles into their work, some more literally than others. See: Necklace made from real beetle wings.

Helena-Maratheftis-emerald-beetles--07Above: A close up of Derbyana oberthuri, a specimen collected in Tanzania.

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Helena-Maratheftis-emerald-beetles--06Now, let me make one thing clear: there is much more to beetles than colourful exteriors. They are an astonishingly massive and diverse group of beings, and the more I learn about them, the more fascinated I become. However, just because they have Real Scientific Value doesn’t mean that we can’t admire how they look and, as the resident artist, I’m pretty sure that’s my job!

p.s. This is my first Beetles! post since June (whoops!) but that’s not because I haven’t been busy at the museum. I’ve got a set of exciting photos to reveal, but that won’t be until next month. Watch this space!

Theftypix on Instagram!

Psssssst! I recently joined Instagram, and as predicted, I’ve become a total Instajunkie.  Fortunately, I’ve managed to keep the food shots to a minimum (I swear). I’ve been having a lot of fun snapping at my palette and works in progress, and I’ve posted some of my favourites below.

Come and join me @theftypix!

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Are you on Instagram? Leave your handle in the comments so I can follow you back!

Mr. Turtle: My colourful plastic sculpture

Hello! This is Mr. Turtle, my latest in a series of colourful turtle sculptures (see here and here). He is the result of a private commission, and is destined to hang in the sunny kitchen of an Oxfordshire home, swimming for evermore through the air. The sculpture is made almost entirely of up-cycled materials, including plastic bottles and old shopping bags – his snouty little face is made of a ginger beer bottle! Have a look:

Plastic Turtle Sculpture by Helena Maratheftis

Plastic Turtle Sculpture by Helena MaratheftisSince the sculpture is going to hang from the ceiling, I focused on decorating the underside. I went for bold stripes and contrasting colours. I wasn’t given a particular colour scheme, but was simply told to make it as colourful as possible.  He’s covered in many, many coats of acrylic paint, and embellished with splashes of silver ink. 

Plastic Turtle Sculpture by Helena Maratheftis

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You know, I’m pretty fond of this guy. He doesn’t have a name yet (and could be a Ms. Turtle for all I know). I handed him over with the request that he must be given a name! I can’t wait to find out what it is.

Teleidoscopic: Colourful Photography and Film.

Hello! I’ve got something very different for you today! If you were a follower of my old blog, you might know what a teleidoscope is. I’ve had mine for years, and it lives on my desk in my pencil mug. Whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I pick it up and walk around my house peering through it. Yesterday, I took this to another level, and decided to shoot a short film through my teleidoscope!

The film is completely silent, but I strongly recommend you play this track by Andrew Bird at the same time!

Helena-Maratheftis-teleidoscopic-collage2I also took a series of photos through the teleidoscope. If you look closely, you’ll see books, wooden flooring, a fireplace, and even my slippers. I’ve uploaded many more to the Thefty Facebook Page. Go and have a look!

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Weekly Inspiration: Spring Colours and Jelly Brains!

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

Last week was oh so colourful! For a brief moment I convinced myself that spring had arrived.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-04A snippet of my embarrassingly large and tacky earring collection. The fish bones are my current favourites.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekinthelife209-16Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-08Isn’t this mask beautiful? I love the colour scheme and those crazy yellow eyes.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-07I dug out my old headphones last week, and realised that they’re the exact same colour as my new phone case. Ha!Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-16As soon as the sun came out I ran to the flower nursery. Sadly, I was too indecisive to buy any plants.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-05A massive pan of  melting marshmallows: Rice Krispie treats in the making.

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Clashing Colours & Video Cameras

Hello! I spent a day last week playing with cameras, tripods and video editing software (the latter being a first for me). I really enjoyed styling up my house  – and myself – and jumping in front of the video camera! The aim was to create an ‘about me’ video, hence why I went crazy with the colours and bright details. Here are a few stills:

Helena-Maratheftis-filming-day-2Above: As you can see, the bookshelves behind me are loaded with art books and cook books. I’m guessing you’re not surprised! My house is full of books, and what you can’t see here is the science section and the fiction section. Seriously. (Unfortunately, what you can see is my Argos catalogue. Classy.)

Below: I used my mobile to take a photo of the camera set-up…and later in the day, used my camera to take a picture of my phone! (Confusing? Yes.)

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Below: The full backdrop for the shoot. I took some of my favourite objects and art prints form around the flat and piled them onto the shelves. I wanted the backdrop to be bold and cheerful, but I didn’t want it to overwhelm me (which explains my choice to wear super-bright and block-coloured clothing).

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Oh, and, here’s a little GIF I made (Yep, that’s me!).

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You know what? I’m at my happiest when surrounded by colour.

Weekly Inspiration: Snowy, colourful London.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

This has been a busy week. My parents came to visit me, I wrapped up work on my latest project, and…it snowed. A lot.

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Helena-Maratheftis-aweekincolour16-03A night at the theatre. We watched Billy Elliot and it was great. (I cried. Twice.)

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Helena-Maratheftis-aweekincolour16-16I took my parents to the Tower of London.

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Weekly Inspiration: Allsorts.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

This has been the sort of week where I’ve been doing a million things: Drawing, photographing, cleaning, baking, (eating), partying. It’s been manic, and it looks set to stay that way for another few weeks. Argh!

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour15-03Hand washing clothes: My least favourite (but most colourful) chore.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour15-02Hand decorated flower pot number two! I used bright yellow acrylic paint and drew the triangles with a silver marker.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour15-01Animal cupcakes at Whole Foods.

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The Rocking Horse at Trafalgar Square.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour15-06I spent a morning in Dalston on a photo shoot.

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2013 Poster Calendars by Thefty

Hello!  I’ve been busy designing two poster calendars which you can buy in my online store! Yippee! They’re printed on beautiful 235gsm satin photo paper with a semi-gloss finish. They would look beautiful framed, or just tacked onto the wall (which is what I’m planning to do). Both designs come in two sizes, A3 (£8) and A2 (£11).

The first design is called ‘Colour Lovers’, and is a happy explosion for your eyeballs:

I reckon this design would make any room look joyful!  If you look closely (see below) you’ll notice that the poster comes fully loaded with intricate patterns, and the killer ‘Bebas‘ font by Dharma Type.  I’ve also included the quotation which inspired the design. That way, all you colour lovers will remember to give yourselves a little pat on the back every time you lay eyes on your poster.

Click here to buy the Colour Lovers Calendar Poster

My second design is called Starface. (If this looks familiar, it’s because you can also purchase it as a cushion). This one has a lovely organic, hand-drawn vibe…if I do say so myself.

Here’s a close-up. There’s a subtle polka-dot print in the background, and a lot of rich colour and texture. Velvety grey is one of my favourite colours, believe it or not! For the month names, I’ve used the gorgeous Deftone Stylus font by Larabie Fonts.

Click here to buy the Starface poster Calendar

I hope you like them! I figured they’d make great Christmas presents (Yes, yes,  I know, I said the C Word in October). I like the idea of a gift which looks good but will actually come in handy the whole year ’round.

While we’re on the topic of Christmas, don’t forget that my Christmas cards are back in stock, and that my cushion designs will be available until the end of October 2012.

Get ’em while they’re hot!

Weekly Inspiration: Food, Flowers and Radiohead.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

This has been a very good week. Last weekend I went to Columbia Road Flower Market with a good friend, where we ate steamed buns and perved on cupcakes. There was so much to see and photograph! Monday was also super good, because I went to see Radiohead (for the third time). I was Radiohead’s biggest fangirl in my teens, and I still love them.

Mosaics on Columbia Road.

An elaborate, lacy wire fence, seen in East London. Too beautiful.

Mountains and mountains of technicolour tulips.

Piles of salmon-stuffed bagels in a shop window. Oh, yummy.

Sunday sunlight and rows of very cool shops.

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Weekly Inspiration: Rain, Patterns, and A Giant Fish.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

This week, London was rained on. A lot. However, I managed a trip to East London, and the Natural History Museum for Science Uncovered.

First up, here’s my face through a teleidoscope (which is not the same as a kaleidoscope).

The Natural History Museum is one of my favourite places in London. Ain’t it grand?

A coelocanth is a very large fish, and is often called a ‘living fossil’.

The leftovers of an autumn downpour.

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For the Love of Colour: Doodles and GIFs.

Hello! I found this quotation by John Ruskin and felt as though he was giving me a little pat on the back. Colour, you see, is my dearest and most favourite thing.

After I finished the above drawing, I thought it was an ideal candidate for the GIF treatment, as only with animation could I fit in all the colours I wanted to!

Which is your favourite colour? I find it hard to choose, but I think mine might be sea foam green.

Weekly Inspiration: An epic round-up.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

This is a special edition, because I moved house in late August and didn’t have proper internet access until this week. I therefore have a backlog of photos that I’m going to share today.  Enjoy!

Let’s start off with a giant Yayoi Kusama at Selfridges.

Fruit vendors on the street.

I saw this in East London. I really, really like it.

Now let’s skip to a glorious Saturday at Hampstead Heath. I love those pillowy clouds.

Lacy tree shadows.

Geometric stained glass. (Love it.)

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Weekly Inspiration: Summer colours in my camera.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, snapping pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colourful and heavily-patterned things through my lens!

London was very hot last weekend. Consequently, there are two photos of my feet in this batch. I hope that’s not a deal breaker! I like this batch of photos because of the nice balance between urban and natural shots.

A mid-week tea with pin-ups in Hoxton. As you do.

A shimmering Sunday in St. John’s Wood.

Nothing is more joyful than a rainbow of fruit.

…Speaking of fruit and colour, my friends have this gorgeous tree in their back yard.

And now for something more sharp and urban. (Yes, this was taken in the toilets.)

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