Maria Căruntu is a Romanian artist currently living in Iasi whose illustrations make you think about the old French books from the 80’s schools. Those times when people were barely inventing the zip and the vacuum cleaner. Those images with the teacher wearing a Stela Popescu styled make-up, and when the kids were learning to turn-off the lights and the teacher was like “c’est très bien, mes élèves!”.
Maria’s (or Mau, as she calls herself!) illustrations are both simple colorless drawings, rambling with vibrant stripes or kittens whiskers, and works full of loud and pale colors, mostly red and blue ones. The watercolors and ballpoint pencil techniques are harmoniously combined with digital graphic design only to create a result as “cosmopolite” as it can be.
Maria Căruntu’s artistic beauty it’s similar with the cuteness (see her zoo-themed illustrations!) or the apparent innocence (see her drawings of innocent blushing girls’ faces who most likely hide dark thoughts behind!). The leap on Tumblr came almost inevitable. That’s why Maria along with a group of other Romanian graphic-designers with similar artistic views, but with different approaches, launched De Aici vin Ideile, a common blog where they periodically come up with an idea and they make illustrations based on that. I’m not the greatest Tumblr lover, but this original playgame looks very good and it can lead to many other interesting directions.
Mau. Illustration’s projects don’t stop here. Maria is constantly collaborating with Upside Down, a local upcycling initiative, Papergirl or Acaju, which she draws the promotional creative images for. She also collaborated with Ines Prodan, a local freelance marketer, creating the illustrations for her unconventional e-book.
In other words, Maria Căruntu is an artist involved in many projects, with an imagination settled between past and present, and also with grave artistic themes she’s completing with cuteness and innocence.