Costin Chioreanu. Where the subterranean minds meet art.

I imagine Costin Chioreanu art’s exposed in the most inner and mysterious places. I see his creations stuck on the ditches walls dug by ribs on the surface of the human brain. An audience of billions of neurons contemplate the unfathomable abyss. Synapses are dancing a waltz that illuminates the skull in nervous fireworks, with a soundtrack created by the same man. Where the subterranean minds meet art, where the sense meets their artist.

Baldo (Cultartes): Hi Costin! Most of the people know you because of your artistic activities. In your report with the world, the Universe, with people, when does the man disappears and the artist appears?

Costin Chioreanu: Hello! I don’t know when this separation is completely done, or if it ever does. Difficult question, especially since both concepts, namely man and artist are so difficult to standardize nowadays. I’m always the same, a man who materializes in his way some ideas, feelings; I don’t see myself as two separate entities. Whether I’m talking with the universe or with people, I am the same. The difference is that when I talk to the Universe there is no need of truth, whereas when I talk to people I am conditioned to fight each imposing truths, which most often fixated only on this basis dialogue, thing I cannot say that I am passionate about.

Our actions, regardless of the nature and final form, have a predetermined reason. What did it pushed you to graphic art?

I don’t know how to respond here either. I’ve been drawing since I was a little child, like 2-3 years old. In time, I did the same thing, only I learned one another. There was indeed a native call to the point where I got here, because since I was little I didn’t liked standardization, the uniform, the rules dominated by hierarchy, repulsions which always made me to move away from jobs that involved these issues excessively. I don’t criticize people who followed that path, but I’m glad I had this ability, that allowed me to orient to an “artistic” life.

Following the classical principle of “what was the first, the chicken or the egg?”, what can you say is the primary factor that led to the birth of this Universe that you share with us: drawing or guitar?

Chronologically speaking, the drawing. I started since I was 3, while I touched for the first time a guitar when I was 12. Is no “egg and chicken”, because they weren’t born each other, as passions. It just happened to be this way.

Photo by Victor Cristescu
Photo by Victor Cristescu

Bloodway, among other projects, I think is the best plan to make music that you experience by drawing. How do you see this artistic marriage that has you as spiritual father?

Thank you! Bloodway means almost everything to me musically and that’s why I try to illustrate more coherently. Bloodway will always be about music and then illustrations, picture. And believe me it is hard works both one and the other. Regarding the music, we don’t look for physical performance, but expressive. It’s the same path that I have chosen with graphics, too. Although I used the performance word, this only serves to underline the seriousness we treat the composition subject and combining it with the lyrics and the overall story. What I mean to say is that the intention is not to be atypical, or some weird hard to categorize, but to find a musical formula expression that satisfies the finest needs that the world around us cannot. If, following this approach results music hard to categorize, that’s normal, this is who we are, the ones painting our stories through music. We don’t do that to be liked, we like to do that and I think everyone who’s looking at CDs, listening to music and reading the lyrics will realize that’s something very personal there and it is a band that is looking for a gang to accept. Returning to the illustration, I can say that our first disk was extremely hard to illustrate. Not each piece separately, where things were somehow clearer, but the fronts cover, which manage to include everything. And today is one of my favourite works, due to its conceptual depth.

You’ve worked with a lot of famous artists and bands from the musical area. The latest project, so to speak, was the realizations clip for the song “Heroes and Tombs” for At The Gates. How things have worked between you and them? Were there any suggestions from them or it was simply the fruit of your creative imagination?

Between me and At The Gates was magic for 20 years, without them knowing earlier than 2012 (he laughs). It was, is and will be one of my soul bands, so it makes no sense to say now what I felt about all this collaboration. Instead, speaking strictly as a creative relationship, I had in these 2 years of collaboration no suggestion from them, from the first shirts for the tour to the album collection of works made for their come-back. “At War With Reality” is a cornerstone in terms of concept, it is something extremely difficult to picture and it took a lot of thinking and analysis, especially contemplation to be able to do this project. Just exactly happened to “Heroes And Tombs”, a culmination of the entire graphic project made for “At War With Reality”. And when I say this, believe me I have as much material to write a book about it. Since I started working on this album, my life has totally changed in terms of outlook and perception, and this video contains the seed that started the whole project of this album chart. And the seed was the discovery, was that star that seen in 3D, defines a gate, a common multitude between two worlds, between two kinds of perception, between two truths. It was the biggest project I took part in my life, all areas, and therefore, driven by passion and luck, I arrived, and because of events adjacent to discover something, it was fantastic. It is true that I have never publicly explained clearly and concisely concept of that video; as a result, many didn’t understand the point. I don’t like the need of publicity in art or culture, in any way; people need to stop fighting and start to find out things for themselves. Otherwise, we only remain with some products and some buyers, these terms are accompanied by quotes or not.

ATG-AWWR_FC_FINAL promo use

Your passion for designing album covers is well caught in the roots of your adolescence. How did the idea of making a profession from this started?!

Yes, in my childhood I was trying to improve the quality of the pirate tapes collection. At that time it was all I had. The first original works were made in the late ’90s, for troops I work back then, for a few concerts in Club & 6 and Le Noir and some logos for bands consist of friends. Occasionally, some blue jeans jackets custom by marker. So the work is older than is officially recorder, with the first Twilight13media site. Back then, I was just a guy who happens to have the skill and the friends I could help, to do everything to be beautiful and we were glad that we could decorate our passion. It became a profession with time. At first it was just a hobby. More specifically speaking, during the day I went and worked for an advertising agency, and during the night I was doing logos, covers, or anything for various bands in the country and abroad easier and easier. Years passed by and everyone around told me that I hang with my dream. But it wasn’t my dream, I was doing what I loved for so many years … and the only problem was that I was only paid in merchandise or in small amounts, which could not cover the livelihood. I gave up to many exciting aspects of my personal life for this passion and many have abandoned me because of it and my lack of time. But I hope everyone is happy in his world with what is doing, as I am with what I do. At one point, I decided to withdraw all the companies with interests in advertising creation and adjacent, to dedicate myself 100% to what I was doing. This decision was taken a few years ago, when I was able to handle the incomes.

The first time I heard your name was back in 2011, if I’m not wrong, when you won a contest that put you in a position to carry out the cover artwork for “Ravishing Grimness” from Dark Throne. How were things happened back then? How did you get this opportunity to release yourself, anyway?

I remember now, I got a call from a friend who told me what it is all about and what happens on the Darkthrone website. Without that phone I would never found out and I most certainly would have missed the opportunity. I would like to thank him this way, if he reads this interview because, meanwhile, he decided to stop being friend with me. That does not change the sincere need to thank him for this hint, as for many beautiful moments spent together in all these years. Returning to Darkthrone, I hadn’t even the slightest hope that I win, it was a time when everything was pretty wrongheaded around me and there weren’t many aspects to feed my self-confidence. I was shocked when I heard the news, I couldn’t believe it. Paradoxically and ironically, I got to do the cover for the remake album of Darkthrone, which I liked the least. You realize, it was a historical moment for me and many things began to happen after this…

Have you ever thought to do, if you are proposing, obviously, illustrations or work for the cover of a book of poetry, for example?

Well, I did cover illustrations plus 2 books already. One is “The Complete Infinite” signed by Gina Săndulescu, which is prose, and the other is “Grishjärta” signed Nattramn (Silencer / Diagnose: Lebensgefahr). I love to do illustrations for books, hope to have the opportunity to do so in the future!

Since we exceeded a little the musical area, I would be curious to find out what movie or book caught your attention lately?

“On The Silver Globe”, a Polish film that managed to cure me from any critical character of my creative efforts. The film told in 3 hours everything I struggled for 20 years to say in various forms, incompleted, crooked, crippled, immature, without having an overview. Amazingly, the film is based on a trilogy written by Jerzy Żuławski between 1905 and 1911, from what I saw. On The Silver Globe offers a terrifying bible of humanity, destroys everything in his approach, which is unprecedented as coherent, plasticity and strength in the film, at least in my humble opinion. At the opposite is another masterpiece more recently as a year of occurrence, named “La danza de la Realidad” and signed by the master Jodorowsky, which is filled with the smashing scenario offered by “On The Silver Globe” through the fascination for magic life which can exist at fascinating intensities even in a world like ours.

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What artist would you like to collaborate with? And here I refer to any artistic plans you approach, if not both of them.

Musically speaking, I would like to work with Alf Svensson (Oxiplegatz / ex-At The Gates), Lisa Gerrard, Sverd and Vortex (Arcturus), Joakim Thåström, Away (Voivod), Patrick Walker (Warning / 40 Watt Sun) Luis Galvez (Tristitia), Carl Michael (Virus, Aura Noir), and many others. On the graphical plan I don’t know what to say, I don’t feel that I am on the same wavelength with another artist, so much to feel like a whole would form only through our contributions mixture. There are many artists that I like and which I appreciate, but I just don’t see them as a part of something.

Each of us gets carried through time, by the memory bloody hand, certain feelings, senses, images, tastes you relive them, you felt at one time. When was the last time, you find yourself thinking back to childhood and why it returned there?

That’s an interesting question. Last time I relived something from my childhood and I went there even deeper was when I wanted to see the origins of fear.

What it meant for you in a personal matter, “Outside The Great Circle, Where Purgatory Ends”? And, more important, how did the collaboration with Attila Csihar went? In fact, how’s Attila Csihar, for a closer view?

Well, everything related to “Outside The Great Circle, Where Purgatory Ends” is personal. The first part refers to my understanding of the human world and its rules, and the reason I am here, and the second part is about all my past, until I could get away from it and started to live in the present. Rune (Blasphemer – ex-Mayhem, Aura Noir) and Attila Csihar (Mayhem, Tormentor, Void Of Voices) meant a lot to me, many years before I chase Mayhem in Europe to see their latest concerts in the formula where the last disc released was “Ordo Ad Chao”. With 2008, when we met, things began to happen, becoming larger and most interesting. I can say that my life has changed because of them largely. Attila helped me very much with this disk and more than that, following extensive discussions on Skype made me discover some great things that over time, all it came to analysing extremely powerful ideas. Attila is an exceptional artist, a fascinating and fascinated explorer in many areas.

Cover book preview

There are well connected and very interesting connection between you and Roadburn Festival (an exhibition in 2012,”Too Late For Rainbows” poster art designer for 2013, 2014 and 2015). Next year at this event from Tilburg, you’ll launch “Magic As A Golden Mean”. What should we expect from it? I mean as content.

Yes, I started working with them in 2012 and since then I became part of the production team, so we got along well at all levels. The book “Magic As A Golden Mean” is a collection of the best works I have made in recent years, all first presented in their original form and composition, without logos and titles above, as they were as works before becoming covers or posters. This will be divided into three chapters, namely darkness, light and magic, because the main idea of the book or album art is actually finding my identity. While I found myself the one in the middle, who works with darkness and light, and experiences gained from these collaborations it flows into the magical side development, which will be the last and the deepest chapter. The book will also premiere several works and texts that will be presented for the first time as an ample presentation of my views on me and on what surrounds me.

Has the society we live in a role in your creative process or you can say that all that is bounded by mundane surroundings and thereby plan detachment reach finality to your creative act?

I would like to detach so much, but I can’t, at least not now. I have many works with social tempt, criticism, even acidic, some extremely aggressive or even ironic so I cannot deny: the company is present there, too, but has stayed for a year only through the works made for some bands. As mentioned before, to your question related to movies, I am not intending to report any more to criticizing me and the observation relate to social problems around me. I don’t know if I’ll succeed completely, but at least I try. Probably there will be only a single project of its kind, and its existence is simply because it was started a long time ago.

You are certainly a man who travelled a lot, pushed or not by certain professional obligations. I am convinced that there are some places that have created a special attachment between you and them. Is there one of these that gives you the feeling of home?

You know, I came to understand from other perspectives that phase of “the man who blesses a place”. Yes, in my travels I found places that are dear to me, but I bind them through people, they have created magic in my heart and I miss them through the magic that these people have added it. Because if I’m thinking about a place that have remained loved and non-contiguous to a person, only I can think about is where I grew up. Perhaps there I had my first relationship with space, nature … and maybe that is the reason why. Unfortunately I didn’t get there for many years…

Dread to Infinite

The fact that you were born in a country considered one of mystery and excitement, a country that can inspire you in the most unsuspected levels, and a surfeit of people lying, disgust and narrow thinking, helped you in any way, or it hast just created a disadvantage by this lack of horizons?

And one and another. Disadvantage because I had to spent 10 years to convince people in other countries that Romanians are not only what they read in the newspapers and as an advantage that it made me work even harder, pushed from the back of nerves caused by others ignorance. Over time, I realized everywhere it was „ the same Mary with another hat”, as one says, is up to you if you let yourself animated by “better” illusion or not. The difference between what’s real to us and other places is in the first place a ferocious administration that prints hordes another set of public events. Yes, that’s right, there obedient hordes are rewarded with attention paid to the rights and social protection, but how things evolve this will become slowly an illusion. In some countries this is already an illusion, but will endure long and hard as active vector because it is already printed in the local general consciousness as a reasonable effect of motivational, to sit still.

Congratulations on what you managed to do with the lyrics video “There’s No Place Like Home” (Carach Angren) a real horror masterpiece. Thank you for the time you have decided to share with us! Good luck and all the best!

Thanks, especially since I had “free hand” for this video, but it won’t take long and you’ll have a new surprise, hope sicker than that. Good luck to you too!

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