I started painting one Saturday afternoon after I came back from a trip to Paris. I felt a strong impulse to take a brush in my hands and start splashing the world with colors. I was in love and I had a joyful desire to express my innermost contradictory feelings. I was 26 years old and except for some religious paintings that I did at school when I was a child, I never imagined myself painting. Before my trip to Paris, I remember I was in the local supermarket in the Dutch town where I was leaving and waiting in the queue, half asleep, to buy a sandwich. There was a man looking straight at me, he had one of those deep gazes that feel a but uncomfortable. He followed me outside the shop and told me he is painter and asked me if I want to pose for him one day. It was flattering, but I could never be satisfied with the muse only status. There were so many things inside me I wanted to express and the possibilities unlimited. When I came back from my trip, I ventured into an art supplied shop and filled my bag with whatever I guessed it was necessary for painting. This time, there was another man waiting in queue with me, he looked at the oh-so-many-possibly-related-to-painting-stuff I was carrying and he started laughing: You have big plans, don’t you? I smiled back at him and said nothing. But my silence was covering my impulse to joke with him: You can’t even imagine how big my plans are. I came back to my apartment, put on some Chopin and while listening to the rain pouring, I started my life as an artist.
Times passed and at some point, I was faced with a situation in which I had to decide what I should do with my life next. So, I took a sabbatical year to dedicate myself to my passions, the new one, painting, and the one I grew up with, writing. I took time to unify my being, to distinguish between what I want and what others expect me to do. My inner voice was telling me to first learn to love myself, to explore my own emotional depth and find the patterns that could lead to dissatisfaction. For the first time, I chose my own path in life: a journey of self expression, in search of the only truth that is fully accessible to myself: my truth. And if people can tune in to this truth then maybe they will feel inspired to find their own truth.
The best way to understand art is to practice it yourself. All human beings are subjected to an inner conflict and art has a healing dimension, practicing art is a choice we can make to direct the energy of the inner conflict outwards in a constructive manner, instead of directing this emotional energy inwards in a destructive way. Art and love have many things in common. I started painting because I fell in love and I needed an outburst for the full palette of emotions I was experiencing. As I went on with my practice, I re-discovered what is nevertheless an universal truth: that art is the love for humanity. The message of the artist is never selfish, although it is based at a high extent on self expression. The artist attempts to spread his personal ideas, hoping that other people would benefit from his strongest beliefs.
Art has a soul soothing dimension for its creator, but it also has a playful trait. I believe we should not limit ourselves to only one form of expression, being human is all about experimenting, discovering and understanding. And so is art. This is a manifesto to encourage people to practice art because talent is just an inner call we hear towards something, the rest is just practice. Talent is the attraction to a certain form of art, it is the passion we are capable of, it is the potential we all have. It is the call for self expression that we hear, but sometimes we reduce it to silence, for fear we are not skilled enough. We should not be ashamed or discouraged by our lack of skills because they can be gained over time, we just need to follow our hearts. For instance, learning how to draw means learning a more complex visual language, in the same manner we learnt how to draw the alphabet as children. We learnt how to draw straight and curved lines and attach meaning to them, calling them letters. Venturing into painting means passing to the next level, you learn to observe shapes and shadows and link your eye to the hand and you attach personal meaning to what you create. Art is so rewarding for the soul of the creator and nothing in the world compares to that feeling. Except for love, of course.
By creating art we expose our innermost being, but we should not be afraid that we expose our vulnerabilities because through art we connect our burning core with the one of others. If we are longing for deep human communication, the first action to take is to open up ourselves. Art is the best way to communicate. Did you realize how many things you can know about a person by looking at what that person draws? It’s all there for you to see if you have the eyes to see it, the patience or the interest. It’s the same with our character, we wear it on our face and I am not talking about physical beauty, but about those repetitive emotions that remain engraved at the corner of our eyes, in the way we frown or we smile.
When I ventured into digital art, I wanted to capture the creative process itself, by taking snapshots of my imagination and benefiting from the rapidity of digital art compared to classical approaches. I tried to reconstruct the imaginative, blurry world of an artist and send an invitation to the outside world to come take a trip inside my imagination and meet the inner, intimate mechanisms of the process of creation. I discovered emotions are repetitive and they are not only mine, the deeper you go inside yourself, the more likely you are to meet the others. I am chameleon, but unlike a classical chameleon, I display high adaptability not to the outside world, but to the inside world. A reservoir of dreams and emotions, which are not only mine, but they sleep inside the depths of the human soul. We might think sometimes that we are hopelessly isolated inside ourselves, until we find out with surprise there are people passing through similar situation. We are never really alone.
My artwork is blend of fast surrealism, consciousness art, written and spoken poetry and last but not least, the full, colorful palette of emotions. I believe that as technology advances, the creativity of mankind will increase. We just need the courage to explore our imagination and to listen to our true inner voice. Genuine art cannot be measured in number of pixels or number of words, but in the depth we manage to reach in someone else’s heart.
When I start creating, whether painting or writing or performing in front of an audience, I become what i really am, I become thoughts and memories and desires. Art is all about sincerity. My art is genuine and I am sure people would tell if it were otherwise. I cannot just run away from myself and pretend there is indifference where there isn’t. I am 1.80 meters of poetry. I have a passionate nature, but on top of it, I have a desire to love. And this desire to love is one of the most basic human needs: I want my passion to mingle with yours and make it ours, I don’t want a solitary passion that lights up every now and then, I want my passion to mingle with yours and make it withstand the unavoidable thunderstorms. And only then, we can call the passion, love.
You want to become an artist if you want people to understand you and feel what you feel. The more you manage to make them understand what you wanted to express, the more complete an artist you are. What I want is to properly connect the mind and the heart, to built something like a broad highway between the two. I would be the traffic controller, sitting half bored in an office next to a gas station, where the summer tourists stop to grab a sandwich or smoke a cigarette. I would also be the travelers themselves, I will go to the seaside on my own highway, I would be as happy as I was when that road view was slowly moving outside my window for the first time. I will grab that memory and record it with the traffic surveillance cameras. After my highway is built, I will open it to the public, I will tell them: travel on my road museum and maybe when you reach your heart or your mind, whichever is hurting, you will want to built your own thoughts highway.
Laura Livia Grigore is a poet, painter and psychology enthusiast, with a background in space engineering. She likes to experiment with various mediums and types of writing. Her artwork is orientated on emotions, reflecting her opinion that most of the answers we need can be found inside ourselves, although the hardest thing to do is to be sincere with oneself. You can purchase her book here.