Tichy Tiles

In this month’s edition of Artlink: In Public/Inside is an article I’ve written about ceramic artist Vladimir Tichy, and the large-scale ceramic murals he made in the 1970s and 80s. Regular readers of this blog would know that I keep an eye on the remaining city Tichy murals – on York Street, Foveaux Street, and in the underground mall at Hyde Park Square. In the article I follow the story of these three murals, and the development of Tichy and his distinctive earthy, dreamlike style.

Sections of the Foveaux Street mural (1972)

Vladimir Tichy was a ceramic artist who came, with his wife and daughter, to Australia in 1968, as a political refugee from Czechoslovakia. He had been well known as a ceramicist there, known for his work with porcelain, but after coming to Australia, worked in architectural ceramics, making striking, large-scale, ceramic murals.

In partnership with Rudolf Dybka at Studio Tichy, then as sole director at Studio Tichy, he created murals and tiles for newly-constructed commercial buildings, bars and RSL clubs, and government buildings. The 70s and 80s were a busy and prolific time for Tichy, and his works could be see throughout the city and suburbs, but now few remain. I always keep an eye out for them.

Tichy mural in Bankstown library
St George Rowing Club
Bathurst Street/Hyde Park Square
York Street
York street (interior)
‘Electricity’ mural, Anita Theatre, Thirroul: thank you Nick for the photo.
Tichy mural at Queanbeyan Leagues Club: image courtesy Vladimir Tichy archives

15 Comments on “Tichy Tiles”

  1. Tony .. says:

    They look Brilliant .. have any been saved .. or moved .. I love them .. I’ll recognise that style .. maybe even a Sydney feel .. Tony:D 🌹 ..

    • Vanessa Berry says:

      Thanks Tony, yes they’re distinctively Sydney 70s/80s for me, the colours and textures. All of these are still around (the ‘electricity’ mural was moved from its original location in the council chambers in Wollongong) – apart from the Queanbeyan RSL club, which burnt down in 1972.

  2. Fletch says:

    I’ve seen these many times and always find them striking. I wonder what has happened to the ones on the buildings that are no longer there, have they gone into private collections or just been destroyed?

    • Vanessa Berry says:

      Sadly, they’ve been destroyed – it’s difficult (sometimes impossible) to remove them from the wall behind them – the ‘electricity’ mural was one that was saved, one of the demolishers decided he would make it his personal project to save it and painstakingly chiselled it off the wall that was to be demolished.

      • Tony .. says:

        Not everyone has the insight that demolition person had, but we have what we have . And here enjoying ..

      • fletma says:

        A bit of effort to retain some unique history, and probably add some value to the replacement, just a bit of vision – oh well. Thanks to people like yourself though who don’t let these things get lost to history.

  3. Bruce Searle says:

    Great stuff as always Vanessa!

    • Vanessa Berry says:

      Thank you Bruce! It was really good to find out more about these murals and hopefully the remaining ones can be preserved.

  4. Gary says:

    Thanks Vanessa. I saw the tiles on York St from time to time when I lived in Sydney. And every time I would think ‘well, they’re a bit cool’, but never went beyond that thought bubble. Now I know. Thanks!

  5. Kerry Fitzpatrick says:

    We have a lovely large wall tile piece of valdimer Tichy

  6. Arnum says:

    Thank you Vanessa for opening my eyes to Tichy. I’d long admired what I think is one of his murals in the foyer of the Edgecliff Centre. It’s aesthetic was to me a happy melding of sculptor Tom Bass’s modernism and the symbols the simians used in PLANET OF THE APES(1968). Little wonder Brutalist architects beat a path to his door.

    • Vanessa Berry says:

      Thanks Arnum – I know the mural you are referring to but have only ever seen it from afar. I’ll have to investigate!

    • Tony says:

      Impressively Deep, Edgecliff .. my old area .. I need to do more research .. lovely to see a wordpress message .. is there a future tour planned at any stage .. always Tony 🌟 ..

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