Interview with new contemporary pop surreal artist Valentina Brostean

Valentina Brostean is an visual artist / illustrator & designer originally born in Serbia city Novi Sad, currently living working and enjoying life on the north of Italy in city Turin.
Her body of work is built of melancholic interaction between man-made status symbols and frozen moments of the utopian childhood memories. Strongly focused on figurative narration her characters simply reflects us – modern society seeing by an eye of an restless dreamer. If you examine her work closely, you might come to the realization that her creatures are really kind of self portraits, set in a fantastical landscapes of imaginary world which echoes of her own … a bitter, yet sweetly coated prescription for modern life. Beside being full time painter / illustrator Valentina is also specialized in graphic communications and design, illustration and all sorts of graphic design projects. Across the years she was strongly inspired by urban pop culture, surrealism movement, street art, absurd genre fiction, life, people, animals, nature, dreams she has developed by her own, very personal, technique and style. She has been invited to participate in collaborative art projects all around the world as well as in diverse significant solo and group gallery shows. Currently she's working as an independent artist focusing on developing her personal self expression through the creative process and collaborating with worldwide talents, agencies, companies, individuals and galleries on various art projects which allow her to apply her eclectic creativity.
Hello dear Valentina, please, tell us how did you find the artist inside you? How long have you been doing art? Is art something that you always wanted to do?

I would say we found each other – it was a love on first sight (haha). It all started in a very early age, it was so spontaneous and natural like drinking water or eating. It is just a channel that I had inside of me, way to express,way to fell, way to be myself... I was very lucky that my parents recognized all my artistic needs and I were always encouraging to freely enjoy them and develop them across the years.

What  was / is  your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media....What inspires you to create your artworks?
I think it is just the way I feel and see the world, it is my way, my channel that helps me to understand it! I make questions and give statements, I am expressing who I am best trough my art. Maybe words can be useful, maybe some other means of communication too but my art is the strongest and most powerful source that helps me to express, that allows me to be who I am. Of course inspirations comes from many sources and considering that I am very curious person it sure does comes from the music, books, films and people ... also a lots of the relation with nature, animals, natural world. I am very interested recently in those somehow lost relation between human instinctive being and mother nature ... in this technological era I feel like those deep old roots should not be neglected and forgotten, actually I think that is the best hope human kind has in order to be saved.

How does "a normal day of artist" in your life look like?

It is simple ... but luckily it is in my own, I choose it!  Which is sometimes demanding but also very different than it goes for many people forced to be in their offices before 9 AM. So, I wake up, drink my coffee and chat a bit with my husband and then, in the moment when the barking of my dog starts to be super annoying I bring him outside ( all that is happening around 9 AM). I take my dog Panda to the huge amazing park near river Po, which is so close to the place we live (oh lucky us:) and then we walk around, socialize, and enjoy nature for about 1,5 hour. After that I go back to my home studio and start to work on my current projects. Usually before start working I check out my emails and reply on those. I work usually until the late afternoon and after I repeat the doggy walk and park ritual. Evening is reserved for socializing but many times also to continue work further. It depends of the particular day and projects I'm working on currently.

What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art? Do you think an art education is important or imperative for anybody wishing to be an artist? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you have encountered throughout your career with/without the formal training of the Art Academy?
I am not self tough artist but you could say that I am fully responsible for one part of the process that was self taught. I have actually studied graphic design and visual communication on Academy of Art, Novi Sad in Serbia, and after the basic four years I did the Masters in Illustration field. During this 6 years of formal education we did the drawing and painting classes also but that was kind  apart. Considering that I loved and still do love and practice drawing and painting in my work I can say that I worked on it mostly guided by myself and my own ideas and practice. I actually considered that I will develop much more personal and original style if I follow my on instinct instead of being guided by the professors that usually wanted just to create clones out of their students. Still, it is just my personal experience, it always depends I guess in which kind of institution you study ... then the word institution tells a lot about it - it is a place where you're mostly limited by the rules and laws of the institution so sometimes creative freedom can be taken away or neglected. In general I think every experience and knowledge is precious, it just depends how you're gonna apply it further. I am convinced that formal studies can help but seeing so many self taught gorgeous talents around it is clear that it's not necessary. Knowledge about art history is something else and it is a matter of basic education which is necessary for every creative person.

What fascinates you the most about surrealism / pop surrealism / contemporary art? How would you describe your style? What themes do you pursue, what surrealism mean to you and what do you hope the viewer will take away from your art?
Across the years I was strongly inspired by urban pop culture, surrealism movement, street art, fables and narrative folklore stories but also more than anything life in general – people and their relations, animals, nature even dreams... all those aspects helped me to built my own, very personal, technique and style. If I have to, I would name it "new contemporary surrealism" with elements of pop:) It is hard to give an definition considering that I am very eclectic and also working on my style all the time so it is an evolving organism in a process of change:)
What do you love most about creating and being an artist? What does “being creative” mean to you?
Seeing a world and life like such a big potential and source of inspiration all the time. Being able to canalize the energy trough creative process, it is a kind of high meditation process, like a cure that I can always use in order to recycle my internal being. Inventing, building, it is almost like giving a birth with every creation! It is a pure joy this awareness  that I'm able to create all over again new original worlds and live in those realms of imagination.

Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?
I am mixing all the time, currently I work on a few commercial digital projects where I use Photoshop and Wacom tablet for digital painting and drawing ...but then in my personal Works I do a lot of very intimate drawings with ink on beautiful 100% cotton paper combined with water colors but I am also planning to start to paint again and when I do paint I am usually using acrylic and water color combined on canvas or paper too.

Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
Never tried oil but sure would love to!

Tell us more about your work space. What was the most funny or weird thing that happened to you in your studio? What is / was the most strange thing hiding in your studio?
My work space is basically a wide room, it is full of stuff, always in a creative mess that I have to clean up totally from time to time in order to refresh the energy. I have tables where I work, few lamps, a lots of different materials and also a lots of objects that I gather around. I am also a big seeker and always search outside for the abandoned treasures and I am actually able to find them ... so I have some puppets that I found, one beautiful vintage old mirror, some frames, books and magazines of all kinds, gemstones and precious rocks ... hehe.. . I like stuff and I think some magic is hiding in them, so I like to collect them and keep them close :D Nothing super strange never happened in my studio, I guess the snoring of my dog can be funny sometimes while he's deeply asleep while I am working :D

What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career? What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
The toughest part of the road is actually material part. How to survive and pay the bills from the art I do, it is a process that has to be invented and reinvented all over again cause beside being an artist I have to be even my own manager - which I do not prefer so much.
I think market is full of very talented people and with internet in last few years art world totally changed so we can see soooo many brutally talented people all searching for their piece of market and success – so it is challenging working on your ideas all the time and technique also and trying to keep up with demands and also stay original and not betray yourself and your principal but sell your art at the same time. I think no matter how hard and unpredictable it can be it is also a great way to always push further and demand more of yourself;)

What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?
Best one to always keep on, always going further, don't give up of my ideas and always believe in what I do. Worst one is I guess to stop being so creepy and dark and start to paint sunflowers and sea landscapes cause that is real art that sells :D

What do you dislike about the art world? What is the hardest thing on being an artist? Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
Many times I dislike the actual art market and all dynamics behind which sometimes are soo hard to understand, a lots of personal relations that are affecting the business and injustice that can be hard to stand, when you see someone is selling a plane white canvas for 100 000 and you think wtf  - what did i do wrong??? :D
Loneliness is a part of the creative process, it is hard but it is a matter of someones artistic nature also, artist has to have that intimate moment ... I think it is wise finding balance between loneliness that helps to think deeper and calmer and reflect upon things and life,  and on other side being able to socialize and exchange the energies and vibes with the people around...its kind of circular!

Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what’s your goal?
I would love to continue just to create and follow this road, I love to work on various projects, illustration and design too but surely would love if I could be more safe materially speaking which would allow me to focus on my personal art more! Would be great to have my own studio which would be even my showroom, some kind of creative space gallery. Also I would love to make some significant shows in the USA and to go there again after almost five years... there's a voice that's calling me and sooner or later i'll have to follow it ...:)

Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?
Work hard, do not copy, be original, try to find deeper real meaning in the message you're sending trough your art, try to do your public relations the best you can and always believe in whats you do, don't give up easily.

Your favorite art or life quote is …

"Sometimes I think, sometimes I am..." and  "Follow your dreams"...( and you inner voice:)
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?
Walking my dog, riding bike, going out and having fun with my husband and friends. Reading books and listening to good music,...I also travel whenever I can, that's actually my biggest passion!

Do you have an online portfolio, blog or social medias where we can view your work?

Is there anything else you’d like to say? Is there any project you are working on right now  or any ongoing  event or exhibition you would like to share with our readers?
Let's mention the upcoming show „Low to Pop“ in Lisbon with Funarte Gallery and also the other one in Frankfurt Germany „ Grimm's show“ in Dream Factory Gallery inspired by the brothers Grimm tales.
I am also working on a commercial illustration project with an French company (more details shall be revealed further on ) and I'm also working of series of drawings for kids that are so cute and relaxing. I make them  for educational books and magazines for children in Montenegro.
Thank you dear Valentina, it was a honor to interview you, I wish you only the best for you and your art and already looking forward to see your new art works :)
By contributor Linda , 2015. Find Oh, So Surreal on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google + or RSS