After her mural in the second edition of the Un-hidden Bucharest project reminded us to smile, Livi Po now invites us to put our imagination into practice and change the vibe of the city. Let’s be curious, let’s say “I can’t” less often and do more of what we enjoy. Up next there’s an interview in which we talk about mental freedom, the possibilities of collaboration within the community, Romanian street art and ideas about life.
f: “Define yourself by what you love” is your message for those who follow you on Facebook. What do you love most and how does it reflect in your works?
Livi Po: That quote is an excerpt from Tim Minchin’s graduation ceremony speech, which must be read/ listened to integrally! So to answer your question:
I think I love mental freedom the most, the ability to allow yourself as a human being to dream and want, to imagine things beyond your social status, financial or human constraints, etc.
It’s most clearly seen in what I do by continually experimenting with styles, ways of working, materials, and everything that passes through my mind.
f: Not long ago, you said you’re “an eclectic mix of art and reason,” 24/7. What prompted you to switch from a Math & Computer Science profile to art and then branding & product design?
Livi Po: Life. Since I was little, I had artistic inclinations, and despite feeling the need to choose a Science profile in high school (although I hated Math), when it was time to pick a college/a career, I focused on art-related stuff. I learned graphic design at UNARTE, and because I love the Internet enormously, I gradually turned to UX/UI design and things related more to the digital environment.
f: What are you working on now? A sneak peek for our readers?
Livi Po: I don’t have a great secret plan at the moment, but those who are curious can follow me on Instagram @livi.po for updates. I want to make amazing murals, something Romania hasn’t seen before, but we’ll see what the future brings.
f: You constantly take us through motivational messages, personal wishes and observations about life and people, sketched thoughts and wordplay. Tell us how you choose these messages and how you decide the right medium to express them (graphics, mural, etc.).
Livi Po: The artistic things I do for myself/ Instagram are based on lettering and feelings.
Generally, I write things I’ve experienced myself, tips for friends, ideas about life, or thoughts on the Internet with which I empathise.
Most often I draw on my iPad and test all sorts of styles and ideas until I get to something that satisfies me; the murals require more time and effort, and clean, legal walls are not that easy to find (but I’m always looking for opportunities, hehe).
f: Do you find inspiration, or does it find you? What makes you explore outside the box?
Livi Po: Inspiration has to find you working. There were times when I was little (not to say young) when I was bored and had blockages. Now I don’t have time to do whatever I want, so I keep writing down stuff, I make lists, and something still comes out.
I’m a curious person by nature, and I never liked to follow or conform to rules blindly. I believe this has always guided me to explore exciting paths.
f: You recently wrote on Instagram: “I would colour all of Bucharest if I could.” What would the capital look like in the vision of a lettering artist?
Livi Po: First of all, Romanian street art would be a global attraction. There are many things I see day by day walking on the street that I could change/improve with a little colour, but I can’t make a list now. For example, those dark, tagged and piss smelling block alleys. I want a collaboration with the tenant associations and a brave brand to sponsor the transformation of these urban abominations into something artistic, pleasing.
f: Since we’re talking about Bucharest, what’s your favourite spot in the city and how would you draw it if you had the opportunity?
Livi Po: I don’t have a favourite spot in Bucharest. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty unpleasant city from my point of view. However, as I was saying, drawing ideas come to me all the time, it’s enough to walk for 15 minutes on foot. I mostly like the works that create a community, that clean or transform something in one way or another.
f: What’s the best/ most unexpected/unforgettable reaction to one of your murals?
I think most of all I like the murals I paint in people’s homes. That moment when they come into the room and see how much a simple drawing on the wall changes the whole vibe in the house is incredible. And mostly I like that you can capture this only then and there, live.
f: How was your experience at Un-hidden Bucharest and how do you think your artistic intervention changes the day of those who see it on their way?
Livi Po: First of all, I very much appreciate your initiative and I think there should be more people to do things like this through sustained effort.
Secondly, I would’ve liked to have more before and after pics to show how significant the change was, though it doesn’t seem so if you don’t know how it was initially. It’s clear to me that this kind of intervention brings a sort of light to the place where it’s made. Moreover, it draws attention in a positive way, even when you don’t resonate 100% with the message.
f: Until we meet again, what message would you like to share with our feeder.ro friends?
Livi Po: Do what you can’t.
View her mural on the Un-hidden Bucharest II map.
This article is part of the Un-hidden Bucharest series of interviews with street art and graffiti artists, published weekly on feeder.ro. Together we will enter their artistic universe and learn how the city can be regenerated through artistic interventions in the public space.
Keep your eyes on feeder.ro, we’ll publish new interviews soon with iZZY iZVNE, Maria Bălan, John Dot S, J.Ace, KSELEQOQYNQYSHY, Robert Obert, Pisica Pătrată, Skinny Bunny, Primitiv Print, Alexander Blot, Irina Marinescu, Kero, Lost.Optics, Obie Platon, Serebe, Alina Marinescu, Cage, Livia Fălcaru and more.
Interview by Emilia Cazan
Images © Petre Ghiocel / feeder.ro and Livi Po
The Un-hidden Bucharest street art project is organized by Save or Cancel, through feeder.ro and is co-funded by AFCN. The program does not necessarily represent the position of the National Cultural Fund Administration. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the program or the way the program results can be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding.
Organizer: The Save or Cancel team, composed of Cristina Popa (random) – social designer, editor, and cultural manager, and Andrei Racovițan (ubic) – architect, editor, and artistic manager, together with the audience, artists, collaborators și partners.
Project partners: CNDB, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Zeppelin, IQads, Urban Collectors, Igloo, Urban things, România Pozitivă, IQool
About Save or Cancel
Since 2008, Save or Cancel is a medium of communication and propagation of the arts and culture, promoting and facilitating their role in contemporary society.
The self-initiated multidisciplinary programs of Save or Cancel aim to identify sustainable and adaptable opportunities for (re) valorization of the existence through architectural, cultural and editorial projects.
Visit the project’s page to find out more about past, current and future activities: https://feeder.ro/un-hidden