Romanian artist Darius Martin has created a series of colourful and enigmatic works. We interviewed him to learn more about his mysterious “inner world” and post-apocalyptic visions.
Tell us a bit about your background – where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I was born in Oradea, a town in western Romania, and I’ve lived here for much of my life. I also lived in Cluj (the capital of the historical region Transylvania) for several years, including my university years. Right now I’m sort of oscillating between the two.
When did you start getting “seriously” into art?
It’s actually hard to remember when it all started, because art has been in my family for several generations. My grandfather was a photographer and a war correspondent. My father was a sculptor and taught art at the local Art University. My mother is a retired photographer.
Your style of painting features some amazing colours and movement. Is there anything in particular that inspires you to create your art? Where do you find your inspiration?
I’m inspired by nature, inanimate objects and the processes that occur in nature. Although my work has perspective, surface, texture and colour, I don’t actually depict reality, rather I filter what I see, and recreate my own alternative world. It’s basically a balancing act between reality and abstraction.
You say your art “opens a door to an inner world people might find familiar, yet disturbing” – what are you looking for when you paint? Do you think art can reveal something that would otherwise remain hidden? Are you more attracted by reality or fantasy?
Everything in nature (including us, humans) has an outer shell and an internal structure. Doctors and engineers understand this best and they look beyond the external “package” of things, however they’re limited in their work by the laws of nature. Artists on the other hand can create their own rules, or break existing ones without limitations.
I like to take things apart, look inside, and then reassemble them according to my creative needs. I’m not interested in reality or readymades, unless they’re so bashed up and destroyed, that their initial use is no longer apparent. To answer your question, I’m only interested in the basics of reality (lighting, colour and texture) and “fantasy” as a mental process, rather than the actual genre, although I’m fascinated by science fiction and fantasy, especially post-apocalyptic imagery.
Heavy Rail Blues
How often do you exhibit?
I’m sort of recovering after an almost complete hiatus (2003-2010), and since then I had about a personal exhibition every year. For this year I’m preparing three exhibitions.
Do you have a favourite artist?
Uh, hard question! Because my preference is always shifting according to many factors, I can’t think of any artist that I would qualify as a personal favourite. I’ll try to make a list of artists that I love (both historical and contemporary). The list only contains painters (although I love artists from all mediums), because my main field is painting.
Giuseppe Arcimboldo – because he was 500 years ahead of his time.
El Greco – because he got closer to the divine than anyone else.
Vermeer – because he almost reached image perfection.
Goya – because he explored the depths of the human soul like nobody else.
Van Gogh – because he was sane in a crazy world.
Max Ernst – because his work defined modern Science Fiction.
Antonio Saura – because I tried to be like him.
Do you have anything special planned for 2013?
I have three projects that I’m working on right now. A new series of paintings, quite different in concept from the ones I did last year, an installation and a sculpture project. The idea is to to switch mediums and see if my body of work retains some degree of unity.
Are there any tips you would give to aspiring artists?
Because I’m an aspiring artist myself, I can’t give any advice on how to become successful. Especially because success is hard to define these days. I think social skills are important if you’re trying to make your work known to the public and especially if you’re trying to sell it. I’m not a socialite myself, but I’m slowly working on this skill. Being able to speak about your work and explain it to as many people as possible is probably just as important (if not more) than knowing how to draw!
Rust and Steam
You can find Darius Martin’s artwork on his website.