In the new Un-hidden Bucharest interview we talked to Livia Fălcaru about how important it is for an artist to be open to people and to share with others what he/she creates. Livia told us how she wants to inspire those who follow her activity and expressed her thoughts about social media and the use of her artworks online, about her evolution in recent years as both human being and artist, about her collection of sketchbooks and her favourite places in Bucharest.
f: Hello, Livia, in our previous interview we were discussing illustration, street art, artistic message and the digital environment, together with Reg, with whom you won our 2017 Open Call for the series of events Pictăm pereți @ Lente [Painting walls @ Lente]. In the same year, you were also present at Street Delivery. Moreover, you are among the artists whose interventions we’ve included in the Un-hidden Bucharest map. You haven’t painted murals for a while. Do you plan to take up this activity soon?
Livia Fălcaru: Hello, guys!
I’m very excited about the idea that people have direct contact and interact with your work day by day. It’s one of the reasons I would paint murals in the future, and I think it is essential to share with people what you create and that as many people as possible enjoy your work every day.
f: 2018 was a full year for you – you had a personal exhibition with a VR performance, and several group shows at One Night Gallery, we saw your work at Amural [A4], at Telekom Electronic Beats x Femei pe Mătăsari, RDW 2018 and Czech Centre Bucharest. You also ended the year with an excellent intro for the music video “Mergem mai departe” by Șuie Paparude. Describe in a few words what these experiences meant to you, what they brought new in your life and how you already envision the achievements of 2019.
Livia Fălcaru: Indeed, looking back, I realise that 2018 was a pretty full year for me. I worked with many amazing people and learned many new things. I can say that it was defining for my career because for the first time I dared to start as a freelancer and be a full-time illustrator. It was a rollercoaster honestly, it wasn’t easy, but I feel that I am where I need to be and that I’m doing what’s right for me. As for 2019, I plan to be even more consistent with my work, and projects and collaborations will inevitably appear.
f: As we’re writing to you, we know you’re working on launching your website – liviafalcaru.com. We were recently reading an article in which you were talking about what it means to be an influencer on Instagram. In addition to your intense activity on social media, you’re the subject of several articles from business and lifestyle publications. What are your top 3 learnings about the importance of promoting yourself as an artist both online and offline? If you’d step outside the digital channels for a while, what impact do you think it would have on the relationship with the community you gathered around your personal brand and your works?
Livia Fălcaru: At the beginning, in 2014, all I wanted was to share with people as much of what I was creating and receive feedback. I realised even five years ago that social media is probably the best promotional tool for an artist, so I thought I would make the most out of it.
Today I can say that there’s a pretty big group of people who follow and support me. I didn’t take this road with the thought of becoming an influencer, although it happened along the way.
I believe it’s essential to be as open as possible to people about what you create, about both the best and worst parts of this occupation. People often appreciate seeing a real human experience, and less, I say, extra curatorial content in which it seems that your life is perfect. It’s important as an artist on social media to show the working process and try as much as possible to keep people up-to-date with what’s happening in your life.
f: Let’s talk now about transformation. When you were 18, you said that you like to discover beauty where others do not notice it. You were questioning the definitions of beauty and perfection. You explored the contrast between emotions such as melancholy or angst, the chosen colours and the childish appearance of your characters, slightly dark, with an absent look, isolated in their inner world.
Emotions remain a primary interest for you, and you illustrate what you live and how you feel. However, regarding colours, elements, characters, we notice a different vibe – colours with a warmer vibration, more introspection, acceptance, dreaming, escapades in imaginary worlds. What has changed in you in these five years and how did you express this transformation in your artistic universe?
Livia Fălcaru: I can say that every single day I feel I am changing and that with me, my drawing style also changes. Indeed, it’s clear that from a dark and predominantly desolate approach I switched to something lighter and more cheerful in terms of colour and topics.
I think my style reflects accurately my evolution as a human being, everything I felt and experienced in those times, how certain events and people changed me. I feel that I’m in a better place with myself and my life and I believe that this shows in what I’m creating.
f: Many of your drawings are born first in the sketchbook. What does a sketchbook represent for a drawing lover and how does it maintain its relevance in the digital context? Do you remember when you first drew in a sketchbook, what was the feeling? What happens to every finished sketchbook? How many have you gathered so far? Is there a drawing from your current sketchbook that you’d like to show exclusively to feeder.ro readers?
Livia Fălcaru: That’s true! Many of my drawings are already final in the sketchbook, actually.
I’ve come to like the spontaneity of a sketch drawing that I consider it final as it is and don’t want to “clean it up”, because I feel it would ruin its charm.
Frankly, I’ve lost the number of sketchbooks I finished by now, but I know for sure that each one was like a journal of my changes. Each finished sketchbook was like a small part that built what I am and what I create today. In the digital context, the sketchbook is just as important. It’s something that I’m continually showing to people and a way they can follow my evolution as an artist.
Exclusive sketch by Livia Fălcaru for feeder.ro readers
f: We saw on Instagram that you moved several times recently and that you’re looking for your dream apartment, you’ve even drawn a self-portrait in your future home. How does drawing help you in difficult times? Where do you want to settle and why this place in particular – the people, the city, what matters most to feel at your best?
Livia Fălcaru: I usually draw the most in difficult times, it helps me to let go of certain things and better visualise what I need to do.
That’s right, I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs lately with moving, and I’m looking for a home that I can finally call “my own”. I’ve been living in Bucharest for 5 years, and I think I’ll stick around a bit. I don’t know precisely how long, but at the moment I like the life I built here.
f: Speaking of favourite places, tell us about your relationship with Bucharest, where you like to go, but also about your travels to cities that stimulate your creativity.
Livia Fălcaru: My home is also my studio at the moment, so in my spare time I like to go to Fix Me a Drink, Apollo111, AI Sushi Bar or the old Control. Otherwise, I’m old, I like walks in parks, to sit on a bench and chat. Recently, I visited Prague with my boyfriend; we felt amazing despite the weather that was making our hands shake on the cameras.
f: We saw that there were some who chose to transform your drawings into tattoos, and at Ideo Ideis you played with bodypainting. How is it for you to see your drawings on a live “canvas”? Perhaps one of the most frequent questions for artists refers to what inspires them, but how do you think you inspire others – those who wear your art on their skin, on t-shirts, who follow you on Instagram or see one of your murals on the street?
Livia Fălcaru: I can only feel overwhelmed with joy when someone chooses to wear one of my creations for life. It’s the supreme compliment for me.
For instance, people often write and tell me they follow me daily on social media and that I inspire them to make art as well. I hope I succeed in inspiring people in a good way, to raise their morale, to motivate them or at least help them find themselves in what I create and thus feel understood.
f: You share your art with the world to send a message, and it’s natural to want high visibility. However, some feel too “inspired” and use your art without credits, as in the case of “Hit or Miss”. What’s your opinion about such situations and what solutions are you thinking of to avoid them?
Livia Fălcaru: Unfortunately, these situations happen quite frequently. For me, “Hit or Miss” has been the biggest so far. It’s evident that I can’t contact all the people who use my artworks. For instance, I’ve created a highlight on Instagram where I tried to convey to people a few rules in case they want to repost my illustrations. Generally, people are not necessarily educated on this topic and don’t make an effort to mention the credits when they use someone else’s work and don’t know the author. It’s usually a harmless gesture, but when it’s the case of the commercial use of works and earning substantial sums thanks to it, it’s clear that things change a bit.
The Internet is a grey area – on the one hand, it has facilitated the promotion of artists, on the other hand, it’s helped normalise theft and using the content you post without consent.
I think that what we artists can do is to try to educate people as much as possible, explain to them that there are rules if they want to use our work and point out to them when they don’t respect these rules. So of course, those who use our creations commercially, without consent, should support the consequences.
f: In many interviews, you mentioned that music is part of the creation process. At the end of our conversation, tell us which songs you listen to while working. Plus a small exercise of imagination – if you were to represent Bucharest through a song, which one do you think best suits it in your vision?
Livia Fălcaru: I can give you something better than that!
At the moment, for me Bucharest during winter sounds like this:
Vansire – Reflection Nos. 3&4
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, Livi Po, J.Ace, Robert Obert, KSELEQOQYNQYSHY, Primitiv Print, Pisica Pătrată, Skinny Bunny, Alexander Blot, Irina Marinescu, Kero, Lost.Optics, Obie Platon, Serebe, Alina Marinescu, Cage, and more.
Interview by Emilia Cazan
Images © Livia Fălcaru & feeder.ro & Cătălin Georgescu
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