BlueScope boilermaker George Georgeou's artistic secret out

George Georgeou, craftsman and artist, with the artwork he plans to auction to raise money for breast cancer research. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

George Georgeou, craftsman and artist, with the artwork he plans to auction to raise money for breast cancer research. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

No art reflects Wollongong's unique combination of natural beauty and industrialisation quite like George Georgeou's work.

The 54-year-old grew up in Warrawong and has spent his career working with metal at BlueScope Steel.

He decided to turn his work into his passion, creating paintings overlaid with metal.

"I could always paint and then I thought I might as well put metal around it and try something different so it stands out," he said.

"A lot of people can paint, but not many people can make it look alive with metal."

Despite the unusual beauty of his work, the humble boilermaker has never showcased his art.

"A lot of people can paint, but not many people can make it look alive with metal."

"A lot of people can paint, but not many people can make it look alive with metal."

"It is a secret, no-one knows," he said. "I just enjoy doing it and I like watching it grow.

"It's like a seed."

It wasn't until a friend suggested he show his work that Mr Georgeou finally decided to place one piece on display at Wollongong's Project Contemporary Artspace.

His sister also suggested he show off his work, putting it on Instagram.

The photos drew attention from artists in Russia and America.

Despite how well his art has been received, Mr Georgeou isn't interested in making money out of it.

"People say 'sell it' but I get attached to [my artworks].

"Every one has a meaning to me," he said.

"If I could just show people and keep it, I'd love to do that."

But there is one piece he would like more people to see: a bunch of pink daisies overlaid with a metal butterfly.

The painting is a tribute to his mother, who died from breast cancer, and his cousin in Cyprus who has recently been diagnosed with the same disease. He hopes to auction the work to raise money for breast cancer research.

Like many artists before him, Mr Georgeou's artwork has also been therapeutic for him.

He describes his creative ability as a silver lining.

After separating from his wife last year, he has dedicated most of his time to art.

"It gets my mind off things," he said. "That's why there's so many [paintings] in a short period of time."

"If I didn't have art, what would I do?"

Mr Georgeou already has his next project in mind, an ancient creature looking out over modern Australian structures.

His first exhibition will be held at Project Contemporary Artspace in September.

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