I’m getting accustomed to my chosen word for 2013 and I am starting to let go of procrastination even from the last days of this year. So today I am sharing one last interview for this year, having as a guest the lovely Raluca behind ucuspucus. She is a creative soul, playing with watercolors in magical illustrations. Her story is equally colorful, so I really hope you’ll be joining us.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Name, age, education and artistic background.
Raluca is my name and Ucuspucus is the game. Pencils, pens and brushes have been my dear companions since early childhood. Afterwards medicine came along and charged the journey with intriguing moments, bringing purpose. In fact I’m happy as a lark if I’m using my hands to do something – whether it’s baking, treating or painting.
You watercolor your life away, as you so inspiringly say. How and when did you discover your passion and how was the road this far?
I could say that I started drawing as soon as I could reach the wall next to the cot, but that’s the story of any child spellbound by the power of a pencil. When I was around four or five, my dad began showing me all sorts of magic tricks with paper, water and watercolors. Then later, like any girl, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I rediscovered my passion in the University, while taking the anatomy classes and drawing bones and muscles. Since then I have been a member of the Romanian Medical Society of Fine Arts and have been taking part in the annual or biannual group exhibitions.
What aspect of your craft appeals to you the most and why? How does this keep you on your way?
I have done some experimenting with all painting media, but watercolor seem to be the most challenging so far. In 2011 I took an illustration workshop at the “Calea Victoriei” Foundation, which felt like a short glimpse into a magic realm. Many ideas of characters took shape there and a definite yearning to discover more and capture their stories. So for now my focus goes into this area.
How is it for an artist like you to live, work and create in Romania? Any challenges you face? Maybe some advantages?
There are no university illustration courses here, so taking your discovery further means searching abroad for education – which shouldn’t be a big problem now that we’re part of a larger garden. What happens afterwards? Depends on the lifestyle you see most fit for yourself. Romania is a challenge for people living off their creations, so having a day job could be a solution, if it doesn’t reduce too drastically your creating time.
Few publishing houses choose Romanian illustrators for their books. This year there’s been a slight reinvigoration of the Romanian tales, lovely illustrated, but overall in this business the commercial aspect still prevails over aesthetic values. It is the artist that educates their audience but the publisher must also have a strong artistic background.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Observing nature, friends’ stories, anything. Every day comes with a miracle that fades if you don’t have the tools to capture it. When I went to the workshop I felt like sitting under a waterfall, ideas were pouring from everywhere.
How does your studio look like? What do you need to get that creativity flowing?
I’m not bound to the frontiers of a studio. I need a peaceful corner, good light and my pencils and brushes. And music. And time – time is the preciousss that rules them all ☺
Do you think you will be doing this for a long time? If you wouldn’t be an artisan, what would you be?
I want to focus on illustration for the moment, to explore all its possibilities, but any creative job would make me happy. All senses should be discovered through art – for example I’m curious about molecular gastronomy ☺
What do you plan or dream for your future?
Find the tools to carve visual stories from the blunt material around. Basically, draw more. And visit New Zealand.
What is your most treasured handmade possession?
My first illustrated book, the result of the workshop.
What advice would you give to an aspiring crafter?
Find what makes you happy and work as hard as you can achieving it. Get out of your shell, travel, meet other artists. Then work a little more.
Hope you enjoyed this colorful interview, which beautifully concludes a year of wonderful guests here, in my virtual home.
You can find out more about Raluca’s work on her blog, follow her Facebook page or visit her Etsy shop. The story of the little crocodile is available online on Behance. We thank for the photos to Voicu Dragomir, Raluca’s friend.
Thank you, Raluca. And a huge thank you to all of you who answered yes to my invitation and shared their stories here, and also to all of you who stopped by and enjoyed their stories. More of them to come next year, I hope.
Have a lovely (rest of the) weekend!