[EN] Interview with 5 illustration-lovers - part I
5 questions for 5 women with whom #illustrationTravelsEverywhere
- part I -
How does an illustration feel like once it reaches its destination? I’ve always found interesting the evolution of a thought into an actual product and its way from my mind to the homes and lives of other people, transforming itself according to its receiver’s heart. And the way in which the same colour strokes can mean different things for each of us.
I asked 5 dear clients to tell you how colours, emotions and stories feel on the other side of my paper, in hope of bringing together even more this wonderful community, awakening curiosity, inspiration and, why not, long term friendship and closeness. Because, in a way that brings me so much joy, I am lucky to meet the most beautiful women passionate about beauty.
RALUCA: I’m Raluca and I really like people and stories, this being the reason for my work in communication. After work I enjoy a lot of theatre, music, movies, books and all sorts of design. Furthermore, I terribly love cats, especially Musta and Kimba, our bosses at home. And for a couple of years I’ve been shyly learning about gardening.
CRISTINA V.: I’m Cristina, 37 years old, and I’m a research engineer. I’ve been living in Australia for 8 years and I work in a gorgeous riverside campus with peacocks, outdoor cinema and plenty of green. A couple of months a year I travel the world and I checked all continents, except for Antarctica.
GABRIELA B.: I’m Gabriela, 26 years old, and I’m always on the lookout for beauty. Without an artistic bone, I’m rather a collector of creations and ideas. I strongly believe in the power of slow living and a life one relishes instead of rushing.
ALEXANDRA: I’m Alex, I’m 40 (a thing that was way less dramatic than I imagined), I have two kids and way too many grey sweatshirts. I like snapping photos of clouds seen from the plane, I calm myself smelling books and I am incapable of telling a story in very few words.
IOANA B.: I’m Ioana and I’m 34 years old. I used to draw for a good while, but I quit in favour of a job that, in theory, makes more money - an economist. Destiny played its role in a funny way and now I’m a UX Designer. I still love drawing and I began practicing again in my spare time. I would like to illustrate children’s books and myths someday, but also my dear flowers. I love silence and the way climbing makes me present; I also enjoy mountain hikes, gaming, Studio Ghibli, knitting and caring for my plants and garden.
It seems like we’ve known each other for a long time. When did we first “meet”?
RALUCA: I like to think about me that I am an optimistic Romanian, because I tend to see everything good and interesting about us. For years I’ve beed following and buying Romanian products, music and design, from clothing, jewelry and accessories, to ceramics, graphics and even furniture.
The first Mădălina Andronic illustrations I saw were at Cărturești, a very long time ago. I especially remember the heart-shaped fox :). The actual getting to know you part was at Autor fair at Sala Dalles in Bucharest, where you had porcelain collars and brooches on display. I’m not sure what year it was ( l.e. 2015), but I know it took me forever to decide which brooch to buy. It was a porcelain hand, to which, after a while, I mistakenly broke a finger and suffered terribly…
CRISTINA V.: I don’t remember exactly when I discovered the illustrations, probably around 2005, but it was for sure love at first sight! I was fascinated by the mix between folklore, childhood fairytales, bright colours and decorative patterns.
GABRIELA B.: Seems like we’ve known each other forever. The rhythm in which memories or moments became in tune with your work was magical - like a graphic representation of my unspoken feelings. I’m not sure when the miracle happened, but I know I fell definitively in love with the illustration “Perseide” and since then I couldn’t stop myself from telling everyone about you.
ALEXANDRA: Well, everything started with the illustration “Rozalba”, with which I hopelessly fell in love upon seeing it - I believe it was the fall of 2014. After that I came across the fairies and officially became a Madiholic.
IOANA B.: We’ve known each other for a while, indeed. I think I found illustrations from the “Fairy Dust” book on a blog and the “Fairy of Dawn” book in Cărturești. Your distinct style electrocuted me. I was amazed by the colourful style, your interpretation, the way in which you brought traditional elements in your illustrations and managed to make them so cool. It felt like fresh air.
The various ways in which people react to the result of an artistic process are fascinating - and so personal/intimate. What role does beauty play in your life? What drew you toward my stories and then what made you come back in the shop?
RALUCA: I instantly thrill at the sight of colour and harmony. Add a story on top of that and you have the answer. The inspiration from Romanian traditions, the gentleness, humour and attention to details from your works make me come back again and again, enough to offer joy both to myself and my loved ones who resonate with your universe.
CRISTINA V.: Art relaxes me and puts me in a good mood. Many of the paintings from my home are either landscapes or old maps of the places I visited, or paintings that carry me to a certain moment or time.
My grandmother had a lot of traditional costumes, mostly made by her. One of my favourite photos shows her in a full traditional costume at her parents’ house in Fundata. In a way, the illustrations from “Fairy of Dawn” I saw my grandparents and the country life in that village. And these are the first things I see when I open the door of my house now.
GABRIELA B.: You create beauty, but your works are not just eye-candy. They take us to a magical realism of our memories, just like Gabriel Garcia Marquez did.
I remember how year after year I would laugh and joke with my sister whenever my mother would take out the “good plates” for Christmas guests. It was a classic set of white plates with gold rims, with a little cobalt blue detail. My mom would unwrap the plates from the newspaper pages in which they were kept and tell us “Heey, don’t laugh at my plates!”.
When I saw your ceramic tableware hand painted with cobalt blue, it reminded me of mom and Christmas dinners, of us when we were little. This is what Madalina Andronic means to me. A deep dive in nostalgia and the awakening of some memories I didn’t even know I had. Later, the cobalt and gold design served me as an inspiration for the gifts I made to our friends, our future maid of honour and best man: matching porcelain earrings and cufflinks. And we felt our friends turning into family.
ALEXANDRA: I remember how a few months ago I was struggling to explain to a friend in London why I love your illustrations so much and I didn’t know how else to tell him other than: “Look, it’s like she’s drawing the inside of my head”. Your illustrations are like a combination of dreams and fairytales and it’s incredible to me how, almost regardless of the subject, any drawing is solar, sensual, tenderly and filled with humour at the same time - just how life should actually be.
IOANA B.: I think art is not only a way to express what we feel, but also how we feel throughout time. We visually express the path we choose in life, with all its emotions, hopes and emptiness dangling above it.
And this is how I watched, as if it were a dream, your path up until now. Unlike many other artists, your style and interests progressed like in a story. I like it because it’s not flat. From a lady in her teens, with all the playful hope and love for stories, with some wonderful characters, but also a bit of kinkiness, to a woman in love and one to be married where you managed in a most delightful way to encapture tenderness and love. And finally to a woman with a career, that needs to make choices and learn to put herself first before anything else. That tries to balance things out and make the most out of life. One that believes strongly in other women and gives them through her wonderful work the hope and values she strongly believes in.
Your work, no matter the subject, are full of love and hope. When we grow up, ofter fairytales lose their childhood charm. We still appreciate them, but seem far from reality. But what I also see as extraordinary in your work is how you managed to bring back magic in everyday life. It’s not an easy thing to do…
- porcelain tableware, 2017 collection / "Fairy of the Wind" illustration
- porcelain tableware, 2017 collection / "Fairy of the Wind" illustration
We all love to revisit the places and moments in which we experienced happiness and inspiration - I, for one, keep illustrating them, so that I can see them again and again, whenever I feel like it, and especially to pass them further. Which are the vacation spots in which you’d go back anytime, without hesitation? And because #illustrationTravelsEverywhere, which place did you find fit for a product in my shop?
RALUCA: I have many places in which I’d love to go back. In Romania - Timișoara and Oradea, the Danube Delta and anywhere in the mountains. But this year’s trips impressed me as well, so I will also say Portugal, Lake Como and Israel. As for where would your works fit best, for sure a latin Mediterranean spot.
CRISTINA V.: On the list of places I’ve seen and which will always be a reference point for the best trips are the rice terraces near Yangshuo, the trekking Salkantay to Machu Picchu and snorkelling alongside thousands of brightly coloured fish and turtles in the large island of Hawaii archipelago. These are places and experiences I want to come back to soon.
And, obviously, Italy! I lived there for 6 months and always came back. It would be a Sophie’s choice to try and pick a favourite spot, but your T-shirts fit right in when I went back to Italy this autumn.
GABRIELA B.: Granada. Definitely Granada. It’s a city that lives through nature’s cyclicity, with a different scent each month, from the orange blossoms to the Japanese maple. To live in Granada is the equivalent of a long mindfulness meditation. I also believe that the bohemian spirit was born in Andalusia and that, in any day or age, the concept of freedom is represented by the Albayzin neighbourhood. Andalusia is the heart of Spanish culture, and its architectural jewel is the Alhambra Palace, with moorish influences. I’ve never seen a more diverse range of ceramic items with the famous patterns, that’s why I’d like to see from you a whole ceramic jewelry collection inspired by that place - and why not, even a cute shop in the Realejo-San Matias neighbourhood, full of artsy showrooms of local artist.
ALEXANDRA: In my case, illustration really travels everywhere, because I have just moved to Vienna with no furniture, but with my entire collection of Mădălina’s fairies - and they actually blended in immediately, despite the fact that my apartment has a gable roof and I had to display them on the floor instead of hanging them on the walls. At the moment - also because it’s winter and cold here, but also because I keep seeing your illustrations on Instagram - I terribly feel like going back to Italy. But until my visit, I’m soothing myself by looking at your paintings with red doors, luxurious fig trees and sun-bathing ladies. But the product in your shop which stoke me the most recently was the “Nereide” art print, because it reminded me of a special place in my heart, where I keep my girlfriends from university. We are all over the world, two of us left the country, all busy, stressed out, with kids, with jobs… but looking at your illustrations reminded me that regardless of how often we (can’t) see each other, of how much we disagree and how different we became, these girls are clearly my sisters. So I went to our WhatsApp group and wrote them “Yoooooo, I love you! And I didn’t even have a drink”. Surely, it could have been done more poetically, but I think they got the point.
IOANA B.: Anywhere in the mountains or nature. I hope to get to visit Japan and India in the years to come.
In 2020 I want to get my community involved more in the creative process, so that one idea of yours could become an inspiration. What themes/subjects would you like to see more in my illustrations? Is there any chance you have in mind a product you’d like me to add to next year’s plans?
RALUCA: I’d love to see more illustrated Romanian traditions (maybe Holidays-inspired customs), or some sort of illustrated guide to make us more empathic and nice. I think these days we desperately need education through and for beauty.
CRISTINA V.: I’d really like to see your #inktoberLadies throughout the world (maybe even in colours), whether of different ethnicities or other countries’ backgrounds.
GABRIELA B.: I made a list!
1. Italy infusion and more about “la dolce vita”: one does not say that the slow living movement started in Italy for nothing - these people really know how to live beautifully. In your 30’s, you were reborn in Puglia - what do you recommend to bring in our lives to live better?
2. Other cultures’ expressions from around the world: I’m sure we all have a city, a country or a culture that left a mark in our hearts and we surely need more inspiration for our future trips and experiences.
3. Self-healing: a mix of delicate illustrations and healing messages from women to women
4. Love stories: nourishing love stories and bits of real-life love toward ourselves, our loved ones, our soul-mates. I for sure want at least 2 love-portraits!
ALEXANDRA: I especially love the reading girls series, so I hope you continue that. As for the products, what about some journals with writing prompts and illustrations? For example, a set of three thin notebooks (to make them easy to carry around): a gratitude journal, a “things I like about me” journal and a plain one for drawing, instead of Instagramming?
IOANA B.: I think your women and their diversity series has a lot of potential to grow even more.
But contradicting myself a bit, being a woman is wonderful, yet I’d love it if we all focused more on couples’ teamwork and how wonderful we are through what we accomplish together. I think us, as a generation, got carried away too aggressively in this relationship duality, but there is balance in everything.
I also loves this year’s ceramic jewelry. I think the more brooches, the better! And those ceramic fairies from a few years back were absolutely lovely for Holidays. I kinda miss them a bit. :)
And finally, let’s imagine a cute script, in which you must surely know how much support and encouragement between women matters: if you were in the shop, right now, next to a future/possible client of mine, what product would you recommend her?
RALUCA: The “Love and Fate for Girls Who Can’t Wait” series, the earrings or any item of clothing with Inktober illustrations or “C’est déjà les vacances”. Or ceramic tableware, but here I’d be a bit selfish first :)
CRISTINA V.: I have a bit of everything you created: original illustrations, t-shirts, decorative ceramics, jewelry and a book. It would be difficult to recommend one product. I would recommend the entire shop!
GABRIELA: For folklore lovers, I’d direct them towards the “Love and Fate For Girls Who Can’t Wait” book and illustrations.
For home lovers living outside Romania, I’d recommend the art prints and fairytale T-shirts.
And for those who want jewels, not only wedding stationery, I’d invite them to challenge you with a bespoke wedding stationery suite.
ALEXANDRA: Only one seems impossible; let’s make it three, for a starter set: the “Adam&Eve” art print, with the couple hidden behind a huge fig leaf, a t-shirt from the “C’est déjà les vacances” collection (to forget about the cold) and the “Book Club” 2020 calendar.
IOANA B.: Tough job, because I LOVE THEM ALL. I especially loved the “Love Stories” collection. But any hoodie, T-shirt or jewelry would be a wonderful choice.