Andrei Stan has become one of my favorite artists, discovering him from an old friend and Cultartes contributor. His style caught my eyes and in no time I found myself clicking on each one of his published works and exploring his world. He creates atmospheric, surreal animations that are somehow bizarre, but oddly refreshing and beautiful, and he perfectly transforms complex concepts into smart, simple motions that make you go “wow”. I guess it is time now to find more about Andrei and his newest projects.
CVLT: Can you recall the first time you wanted to be a visual artist? What were your earliest impressions?
Andrei: The first time I remember being drawn to visual arts is back when I was probably 6-7 years old and I stumbled upon a book on classical paintings in my grandparents’ book collection. I remember seeing for the first time breathtaking paintings such as “The Anatomy Lesson Of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp” or Dali’s “The persistence of memory” or Van Gogh’s work, I remember just gazing at them thinking that those people must have some sort of superpowers in order to create something so magnificent. I remember I enjoyed sketching all sorts of things but I never thought it could evolve into anything. A few years later I went to an art camp where I learned the basics of painting and sculpting. I remember feeling an uplifting satisfaction when I finished my first painting, that vase with flowers and that apple where my biggest masterpiece. I think that surrealism, magical realism and hyper realism have always had a magnetic effect on me. There’s a certain magic about it that is hard to put into words.
Where does your impulse to make art come from? Do you have a source for your ideas?
The impulse to create art is a very spontaneous thing for me, and I think for artists in general. It can hit me anytime, anywhere. I just get this feeling that I have to lay out what I perceive. It can come in many ways, an image, a sequence of images, a sound, a theme, a message, an emotion or a feeling that I’m experiencing at that time. I believe that inspiration is not something we have to develop, it’s something that is already there waiting for us to tune ourselves to it and let our creativity flow. I discovered throughout the years that anything could be a source of new ideas. It depends only on how your mind is tuned at that time. For me I feel that the fewer thoughts go through my mind, the more creative I feel. I guess it comes down to using your imagination in a hasty manner and learning how to put aside the useless thoughts that occupy our attention. I also believe that quality time with yourself is essential for any artist, this could mean anything, from making art to going out for a walk, meditating or whatever helps you put your mind into a relaxed and receptive state. I believe we are channels through which information manifests and it’s up to us to keep that channel as clean and clear as possible.
If you could give the viewer clues to understanding your art, what would you say?
Well, I guess the best way to answer that is, try to look beyond the first impression. Try not to jump to a conclusion too fast. Give it a bit of time. Try to observe what happens in your mind and body right after you see the piece. Does it make you feel anything in particular? Is it pleasant or is it uncomfortable? Is there anything you like in particular or would you like to change anything? Is there a clear message or is it way too abstract? Most importantly, does it make you ask yourself any questions? I really hope that there might be a pleasant little chat inside your mind after seeing my work, that’s the way it works for me, I believe that art is an endless source for good questions to ask ourselves and this can have many beneficial results for our mental, emotional, social, spiritual and creative growth. A good question can change your life.
I simply adore those nostalgic whimsical colors you use and that old print style. You somehow manage to give that vintage feel to your animations. Tell me a bit about your choice of combinations, how is everything working out?
I’m happy to hear that, thank you! Well, I guess there’s a certain mood that each piece is asking for. My background as a filmmaker does help a lot especially when it comes to technical processes such as editing, compositing, color grading. I think it’s mainly with suggesting to the viewer a certain atmosphere, or vibe. If you take a photo or a video and you apply different filters to it, it will have different kind of moods as a result. The same plain kitchen shot could be a cold hostile creepy place, a worm welcoming home or a completely crazy abstract room. It depends on what the message is in how you want to say it. When I start working a new piece I honestly try not to think too much about an end result, I try to let myself get to where it feels just right mentally and emotionally. It sometimes might start from a white canvas and a message or it starts from something visual and then the message will reveal itself along the way. I discovered that the more I try to rationalize things, the more complicated it gets and the less fun the process is. I believe that art has to make you feel something so the artist’s job is to paint a pretty door through which the viewer enters to explore the realm of their imagination. I tend to go for that vintage look in my work because it feels more universal and temporal and also cinematic.
You have exhibited in Norway. Can you share some thoughts about this experience? And how did you end up presenting your work there
It was a beautiful experience exhibiting in Norway, and I am very grateful for it. One day I got a DM on Instagram from the curator of Dinlommel asking me if I’d be interested in joining a group exhibition called “Missing link; Personality”. Now…since one of my favorite things in the world was to make artworks with people that have no identity, I got really excited and confirmed right away. It was my first international exhibition and it felt like a confirmation that I’m on the right path. It does feel like a dream come true to travel and share your art, meet wonderful people, discover amazing artists and just see new places and get new perspectives on art and life in general. I remember just before leaving my hotel room to get to the gallery, I felt this intense feeling that this is what I want to do as much as I can.
How do you describe your artistic research of the last few months? Among the best known of your recent works I can’t help but mention your collaboration with Lucian Harbada, an artist Cultartes follows for a long time. How it went and is this going to be a long-time collaboration?
My artistic research comes from my passion for art, I love art in all its shapes, forms, sizes and colors. There’s such an immense artistic diversity out there that one lifetime wouldn’t even grasp half of it. I enjoy exploring and discovering new artists, learning about their techniques, their influences and work, I’m working on a collage series now with famous painters and their “life quotes”. `We are lucky to be living in these times because there are so many platforms that can help you discover new art, find inspiration or learn techniques to improve your craft. For me I mostly use Instagram. I think it’s a great tool to share/discover, get in touch with people, collaborate, exchange ideas and make friends along the way. I have collaborated with many amazing artists I met on Instagram such as Lucian Harbada. It’s a great pleasure working with Lucian, he’s a nice guy and a very talented artist. I think there will be more collaborations in the future. We’ve done two so far, we were both very happy with the results so why not do more. The way it worked out is, he sent me the original idea as PSD files and then I turned those into videos. I added some of my music and voila. The two pieces got featured on a few Instagram pages that I appreciate, so I guess the feedback was very good. We were talking about possibly doing a group exhibition in Bucharest, we’ll see how things work out.
In terms of work, what does it feel like living in Romania? Are there many opportunities in visual art?
Living in Romania is challenging but also satisfying. It’s challenging because the art industry is still, in my opinion, in an early stage of its evolution. People don’t consume as much art as they should, and when they do, it’s mostly “recipe” or prefabricated type of art. The difference between other countries and Romania is the fact that people don’t go to museums that much, they want things to be given to them, not for them to go and explore. If it’s for free sure, why not, but when they have to pay even the cheapest ticket, they’d rather go to the mall. The whole idea of an “artist” tends to be very overrated, it feels superficial most of the time, especially in the main stream industry, It’s all about making money, copying other people’s work, and being “famous”. The good thing is there are also a lot of amazing artists that do it for the right reasons, those are the ones that need support and resources. There aren’t yet as many opportunities as there are in other countries but there is place to innovate, develop, collaborate and grow. I believe Romanian people have a lot of imagination but we just don’t seem to use it in the right way. We tend to focus on things that aren’t working as they should, instead of focusing on solutions and new ideas to overcome our obstacles.
You managed to combine visual art with music in such a dreamy and inspiring way. Everything you create, either we talk about gifs or music, it’s subtle and looks like it’s wriggled its way out of a storybook. What inspires you after all? Where does that poetry side of you comes from?
Thank you very much, I appreciate your kind words! For me, art has helped me explore, learn, travel, love, heal, overcome, express, teach, meet people, it has thought me to use my imagination and most importantly it helped me get a wider perspective on life. It helped learn how to change my perception in creative ways, how to look beyond the surface. It taught me to look outside of any box. I believe that we come here on Earth to learn, to experience, to feel, to grow, to evolve and without imagination that is just not possible. I love these two quotes from Neville Goddard who said, “An awakened imagination works with a purpose” and Picasso “If you can imagine it than it’s real”. In imagination, we find all the solutions but also all the problems. I guess the poetry side comes from observing myself and others. It’s trying to feel each moment as much as possible and then to send it back to the world in any form or style. Art can make you feel anything, everything or nothing, so I try to combine mental concepts with certain emotions or moods to tell a story. So inspiration can be anywhere.
Who is your favorite author? Can you tell us a reason why?
I can’t say I have one favorite author and that goes for most things like movies, musicians, songs, food, artists, brands and so on. I do appreciate many writers from different genres such as Chuck Palahniuk, Murakami, Mircea Eliade, James Redfield, Don Miguel Ruiz, Allan Watts, and many more but what I seem to be drawn to the most is a good honest storytelling with a good twist and powerful message.
What about your favorite artist?
As I’ve said before, I can’t say I have one favorite artist. There is such an immense diversity of artistic expression out there, starting with the classics and ending with contemporary artists, there’s just no way of naming one favourite. I’ve had moments when I was particularly interested in a certain artist, I wanted to learn about their perspective on art, about their technique and their sources on inspiration. I can mention a few that have definitely influenced my work: Dali, Magritte, Van Gogh, Alex Grey, Gaspar Noe, Gregory Colbert, Brancusi, Ion B. Michael Jackson, Sting, Bach, Vangelis, Rembrandt, Banksy, Tarantino and many more. There’s so many amazing filmmakers, painters, sculptors, dancers, actors, musicians out there, how can you pick just one?
I’m inspired be each of these people because leaving aside their incredible talent, they found their unique voice and had the courage and motivation to pursue their dream and create amazing art (and inspire others along the way). I know it sounds really cheesy but honestly, nature truly is my favorite artist. It has everything, and all started form it.
Let’s focus now on Lucavietski, a music project we’re keen to know more about. What’s the story behind this project? Have you ever considered placing Lucavietski in a live performance?
I’ve been making music for about 8 years now with a project called Lucavietski that focused mostly on chillout / meditation music and art poetry videos. I put that on hold for a while, I on my new project called Themma, which explores different genres such as electronic, funk, ambient and hip hop. I’ve already released two remixes some other songs, you can listen to them on Youtube, Soundcloud or Spotify. With this project I plan on developing a live audio – visual performances with songs and visuals that I make. First, on the list is to release up my first EP and then finish up my first album. I’m currently looking for singers to collaborate with. I will be releasing some music videos in the upcoming months and I’ll see where it goes from there. Music has always been a huge part of my life and now I feel I need to take things to the next level.
Is there something you’d change in Romania’s art world?
There’s so many things I’d like to change in Romania’s art world, but most of them, if not all, actually end up to somehow changing people’s perception, their ways of seeing art and interacting with it.
I feel people should be more creative and open to exploring art in all its forms. Support your local artists, express yourself creatively, use your imagination, don’t get used to being boring. One of the things I plan on doing is to develop a course on perception and creativity that aims to help people be more creative in their everyday lives, to help them find inner peace in their everyday life by learning how to use their imagination and ask the right questions. I’d also love to open up a digital art museum where digital contemporary artists can share their work in various mediums like displays, holograms, 3d mapping, light installations and so on. A museum where you step inside and feel like a kid again.
You’ve created an Instagram page whose purpose is to draw more attention on collages artists and keeping collage art contemporary. How do people react at this type of art?
Yes, I’ve created a page called Dreaming in collages that is purely a passion project at this point. I wanted to create a platform where unknown talented artists can get more exposure and some appreciation for their hard work and dedication. The feedback has been great so far, I receive messages from people all over the world sharing their art and stories. It can get quite overwhelming when you realise how much artistic beauty is out there. I’ve noticed that people are drawn to collage artworks because it has a certain magic to it. Anything is possible in collages, from analog hand cut collages to photoshop editing and even phone app made artworks, there’s so many good artworks out there, it’s ridiculous. I’m hoping of gradually turning the page into an online magazine dedicated to collage artists.
You once mentioned about planning a future exhibition, that will include works of different artists. Can you debate on that? What are exactly your thoughts?
Yes, I do plan on organizing a series of collage exhibitions, mainly in Bucharest. I’m hoping on organizing a Romanian collage festival where people can explore collages in a diversity of mediums and also learn the craft from passionate artists is a series of workshops.
All copyrights: Andrei Stan