Archive for the ‘ Interview ’ Category
Hi everyone, my name is Madi and I’m a Romanian illustrator, currently based in London. I have a BA in Graphic Design from National University of Arts, Bucharest and now I’m doing an MA in Illustration at University of the Arts London : Camberwell College of Arts.
I was born in a city by the seaside, where I grew up in a small family; I wasn’t allowed to play with dirty children and I still don’t know how to climb a tree, so it’s easy to figure out that I used to spend my days drawing and playing in my grandma’s backyard. My “thing” with art became clear when I first started to use the walls in my house as canvas for the impressive murals my mom was forced to clean every week, until one day, when my grandma thought it would be easier to just take me to a painting class to unleash my demons there. So I started taking art lessons since kindergarden, trying almost everything, from glass painting or life drawing to ceramics and linocutting. When I was about 12, I wanted to go to a real art school, yet my parents were still dreaming of me becoming a doctor or an astronaut, so their initial answer was “no”. But I was really decided and eventually they transferred me to an art high school. I studied product design for 4 years and after the Baccalaureate exam I applied for the BA Graphic Design course at the National University of Arts in Bucharest, where I was accepted first on the admissions list, with full tuition scholarship. I experimented a lot during the next 3 years, but I realized that, although I enjoy it, Graphic Design is not my love. So after graduation I applied to some master programmes in UK, I got accepted everywhere and I chose UAL.
I don’t think I was the first one to notice my interest in illustration, but my exasperated tutors from Uni. certainly did! I always had the tendency to transform any graphic design project into an illustration one, whether it was a logo or a poster and I never understood why that was such a bad idea. But my real turning point was my ERASMUS scholarship in UK during the 2nd year of my BA, when I studied Illustration for 6 months and I discovered that it was the thing I enjoy doing most.
Dd: Could you outline your creative process? Can you describe the execution stages of an illustration?
I believe the “creative process” is a very personal thing and each illustrator has its own ways and preferences to produce work. In a nutshell, my illustrations come to life after the big Inspiration strikes; I do some research if needed, then a few quick sketches to define my characters/ settings/ composition and eventually I start drawing the final piece. I only support my main shapes by pencil drawing, adding all the details and layers as I go, from my imagination. There are good days, there are bad days, but I always have some lines drawn at the end of each day, even if nothing good has come out of it. Oh, and lately I discovered the advantages of keeping a reflective journal along with my actual illustrations – it helps me clear my head and keep track of all my creative thoughts and processes.
I always have the big picture in my head before starting the actual work ( a color palette, a composition, or different objects or points of view could act as a trigger). I usually follow my instincts and end up building an image based on a certain obsessive visual I keep turning around in my mind. So yeah, most of the time, I already know what I want, but there are cases when I change things as I go, depending on my mood-swings.
(This is one of the most inept questions I usually hear and I still can’t seem to figure out the idea behind it). For me, inspiration is an unselfconscious process, depending on every person’s pleasures, personalities or lifestyle. So I guess it comes from everything you are as a person, from the little things that make you as you are – from the inside, not from the outside. But to precisely answer your question, I get inspired by bad boys & pinup girls, vintage dresses and Mary-Jane shoes, cherries, fairytales, women, dirty small talk and wine (not necessarily in that order), jazz, purples and blues, curly hair, polka dots, beards, poetry, handwritten letters, cockerels, macaroons, French illustrations, Desperate Housewives, folk motifs and funny trips with my ex.
Obviously, there is more, but you don’t wanna go there 😉
In Romania? No. Anywhere else? I hope so.
I guess you can answer yourself to this question; you were the one who found me 🙂 I used to have some accounts when I was younger, but I deleted them since nothing good came out from them, unless you consider spam and idiot off-topic comments something worth wasting time with. Now I only have relevant online portfolios and a blog started initially for my graduation project, which has now become sort of a multi-gapped creative diary, since I forget to immediately update it.
I am currently in my “Romanian spirit” phase, since my graduation project. It acted like a starting point for my recent interest – how to rejuvenate and bring our traditions and folk motifs into children’s attention nowadays, so the project I am working on focuses on this specific aspect, mixing traditional fairytales and folk motifs with contemporary illustration.
Typical day? Getting up (usually) too late, breakfast (I think of it since I go to sleep the day before), then either lectures/tutorials or library research (OK, or shopping), then back to work for quite a while; after that, maybe some small talk with my friends or parents or salsa classes or just some old-school argument with my flat mates about who gets to clean the kitchen. And of course, some lame Grey’s Anatomy just before going to bed at 4 am (sorry, Mum, I know I stay up until late, but at least be proud of me: I’m eating everything that says “organic” on the packaging)
As I said, in terms of illustration, I love French contemporary illustrators who induced me the pleasure for details, flowy materials and finely decorated surfaces. As for the big artists, I love Klimt (for the decorated surfaces) and Egon Schiele (for the women), Elvgren (for the naughty pinups) Aubrey Beardsley (for compositions), Hundertwasser (for colour, of course) and Mackintosh (for his whole art nouveau). These are only a few; I can go on like this forever.
My favorite piece of artwork is my graduation project, an illustrated encyclopedia based on the characters of the Romanian folk fairytales and their personalities behind the scenes of the storyline. It is called “De-adevaratelea sau ce se intampla cand Fat-Frumos sta acasa” (Behind the scenes: fairytale heroes or what happens when Prince-Charming stays home) and it presents the most popular characters of our childhood as heroes with double-lives, during their daily activities. All the personalities are imagined by me, with small bits and pieces from my life and experience and text written by me and my best friend.
As the British say, I plan to “keep up with the good work” and improve what I already have. On the other hand, I intend to experiment more with different printmaking techniques; another thought is related to the versatility of paper and 3D illustration – maybe try a stop-motion project.
Dancing, eating and cooking (or cooking and eating, either way), Woody Allen movies, laughing, ‘modeling’ for my friends’ photographs, reading poetry by Cummings, watching ‘The Notebook’ over and over again (yeah, I know, kind of silly and lame, but somehow I like it, so get used to it; I’m also watching ‘When Harry Met Sally’ in the same sorry plight, if interested in my S&M tendency), hand-writing letters to my friends, finding true love – or at least looking for a funny one, reading Margaux’s blog, talking and talking and talking and talking, and, boy, I talk a lot….
As with inspiration, in terms of style you “choose” what suits you best (although “choose” is not a good word), what feels right for you and your personality. My illustrations are a response to all the things that I see or feel, like, then filter, process, transform and give back to those interested in my way of expressing my desires and dreams. But I guess the technical definition of my style is a mixture of delicate line-details, funny inside jokes, either a rich palette of bright colours or just a splash of one or two shades, textures and layers, decorated surfaces, attention to composition and interesting use of proportions.
I don’t have a favorite character; I just have characters who are more “me” than others, since I was the inspiration source for them. For example, in my book I drew a hero addicted to nasal spray, which liked chocolate and wanted to live in Bruges for the rest of his life, doing nothing but eating waffles and taking long walks on the narrow streets lined with fairytale-like houses. Well, guilty as charged.
I rarely listen to music when I work; I’d rather have some movies playing in the background, since I can focus more on what I do if I keep the ‘other’ part of my mind busy with some quality drama or juicy dialogues.
Dd: Your favorite animation/anime is…?
“Madame Tutli-Putli” (stop motion, love stop motions, love love looove them!). Or “Kung-Fu Panda”, cuz I know what is like to hate stairs.
Dd: Bees can avoid rain drops?
bees should avoid rain drops. It’s bad for the honey.
Dd: choose: tom or jerry ?
Dd: can birds see the wind?
I was terrified by Hitchcock’s film in childhood, so I don’t like birds. I don’t care :))
Dd: choose: rabbit, tree or movie?
Dd: favorite painting/drawing tool.
Dd: choose flower, buttercup or power?
Dd: Please tell us a funny story.