For this article in the international artist series, we turn to Romania, featuring six artists who create fantastic work, from beautiful illustrations to concept art and more! I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers. Enjoy!
Raluca is an illustrator based in Bucharest, Romania. Her work features mind-blowing illustrations with vivid colors and surrealistic themes. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
11 Months of Happiness
I love that here in Romania, anything is possible. I see this place as a never ageing land, always disregarding the civilized world's rules and making its own along the way. It’s imperfect, impure, and immensely tolerant. It’s home.
11 Months of Happiness
Surely I’m a product of my environment and I think the one thing that inspired my work the most is that there's so much to be found in all areas of Romanian expression. Due to its geographic situation, Romania is a mix between the Eastern and Western worlds, and has managed to get influence from all. Of course there's also the centuries-old traditions and the classic literature but they mingle with all the new habits, the kitsch, and the under-culture in an incredibly surreal, picturesque way.
SOS Children Villages
To be extremely honest, I see myself as an outsider to our art community. Most of my time is spent denying its existence or frowning upon its trend waves.
Gabriel is an illustrator based in Bucharest, Romania. His work features expressive illustrations full of wonder. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
I tend to view Romania as an eclectic country, that strange little spot on the map where west meets east. It's a mix you can see and feel anywhere around you. And it is an amazing thing if you think about it, to experience this diversity and ongoing change. It's authentic, unique, and beautiful, but by the end of the day, the warmth and generosity of the people are the elements that make Romania worth living.
Even though it does not necessarily reflect in my work, I can't deny the influence of Romanian culture on me. After all, whether we're conscious of it or not, the place which we create, and in which we dwell, creates us in return. But I strongly believe that an artist should always experience new forms of expression and take his inspiration from anywhere that resonates with his way of understanding the world. And to not be captive of his culture or region.
Lincoln - Vivid Dream
A lot of growth has taken place in Romania in the last 27 years since the fall of communism, especially in fine arts, theater, and cinema. Nowadays, more and more art galleries are open, bringing the community much closer together.
Livia is an illustrator based in Timisoara, Romania. Her work features stunning illustrations inspired by nature. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
We are a developing nation with some economic growth and because of that I think there is a general air of optimism around us. I'm also really glad that Timisoara, the town where I live, was elected as one of the 2021 European Capitals of Culture. All in all, in a gloomy worldwide situation we still have a little bit of hope left. And 2017 started with the Romanians peacefully protesting to regain all of it.
The Littlest Prince
I'm based in Banat, the western region of Romania, a multicultural and tolerant place with a wonderful history―before the communist period, of course. Therefore, I have several projects where I'm going back into that time to remember and hopefully bring back values that I think should stay with us forever. Also, the beauty of nature and the nostalgia of it being destroyed is a recurring theme in my personal projects. I think this has happened because of what I was experiencing firsthand on both a local and national scale.
We can already see the effects of Timisoara being elected as the 2021 European Capital of Culture, and I expect that we will all be brought together through different collaborative projects. I'm sure the community will grow and increase its visibility in this exciting period. I'm happy to have my small art community here, as I'm sharing my studio with two awesome artists, Ana Kun and Razvan Cornici.
Cosmin is a freelance concept artist and illustrator based in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. His work features exceptional conceptual pieces as well as beautiful line drawings. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
What I love about living in Romania is the nature. I have very fast access to nature and I am a great fan of hiking, biking, and camping.
Romania does not usually influence my work at all, although the culture has had an influence in my latest work. I wanted to bring a new light to some old customs, but I still want to elaborate them some more and make them into colored illustrations. I was also recently inspired by a Romanian band called Subcrapati, which mixes folklore music with new vibes. You should check them out.
I am not a big art community man, I help and support wherever I can with whatever I can. I am very open to talk to anyone about any subject. The community is growing more and more these past years, because of social media I suppose. We have a lot of great artists that we can brag about, such as, Ioan Dumitrescu, Robert Simon, Alex Negrea, Cristi Balanescu, Adrian Barbu, Bogdan Covaciu, Vlad and many more.
Evelin is an illustrator based in Bucharest, Romania. Her work features an incredibly unique style that mixes vivid colors with geometric forms. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
First of all I think that being born in Eastern Europe influenced the way I see the world around me. I love that I can feel the presence of the past as I walk on the streets of Bucharest, I love that I can turn around a corner and end up in a small alley with no people and only a grumpy stray cat. I love the architecture of the city, especially the modernist buildings.
One of my favourite destinations for travelling outside of the city is, by far, the Danube Delta. It has the most beautiful and surreal landscape. Look, I'm not saying Romania is perfect, it's far from that, but I love it. I guess it's more of a melancholic type of love.
I think that being born in Bucharest, in the year of the revolution, and hearing about my parents' stories from the communist era had an effect on my inspiration. I've always been attracted to simple shapes, and to the idea of finding the true essence of an object.
I am also deeply inspired by the Art Deco style, be it in posters or architecture, and have always been a Bauhaus fan and an admirer of the socialist graphics. Now I know that my current style doesn't have that focus particularly, but I like where it's headed and I can't wait to see how it will develop later on.
One Step at a Time
The art community is growing but there is also great room for improvement. The local community is getting bigger and stronger. Galleries are opening, design related events are starting to take place, and not just in Bucharest but in other big cities across Romania too. In fact, last year, together with a couple of close friends, we formed an NGO called Visual Playground.
Visual Playground is an illustration and graphic design school in which we hope to elevate the standards of visual arts education in our country. Once a year, we have one big event that spreads out across two full weeks of workshops and conferences, held by talented artists from all over the world. I'm very happy we started this. It's a great feeling to see someone grow and to know that you were a little a part of that.
Lucian is an illustrator based in Timisoara, Romania. His work features cleverly humorous illustrations of food, animals, and everyday objects. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
I like the same things about Romania that I hate about it. Like the fact that you can’t make any plans for the future, even for the nearest one. This is a gift packed in both freedom and anxiety. It’s an exotic island of opportunities in a sea filled with sharks.
Made For Tastemade
Having a certain cultural background is like having a visible birth sign. Sometimes you hate it, most of the time you try to ignore it, but in the end, it defines you. I can’t see a direct link with it. I’m a child of pop culture and the internet, but I’m pretty sure I’ve inherited a certain eastern sarcastic approach to serious things, and a stubborn lack of trust in activism and authority. But, maybe it's just me...
Give Peas a Chance
I‘m much of a loner. I wouldn’t be qualified to have an opinion on the Romanian community of artists. I like them. They are bound by the same addiction to beauty as me.
Many thanks to the artists who took time to answer my questions and share a bit about themselves and how their country and/or culture has affected their work. You can check out more of their work in the links below: