Florin Pantilimon | Interview
We met Romanian artist Florin Pantilimon at his “3 in 1” exhibition and had the chance to talk about art and his extraordinary works in an exclusive interview for The re:art.
On September 12 we met at your “3 in 1” exhibition opening at Gallery 26. The exhibition is ”the backstage of the last six years” of your artistic activity. What were the stages of this period and their impact on forming a personal style?
There were many stages as there were also silent periods, many of which even generous. When mixing the job with this wild art the result is a really weird animal. Now let’s answer your question. I would say that they resemble musical notes of a song; some drawings are stages per se, others form series, and others send me back a few steps.
I like letting the unknown flow through me and choose its material form. I believe that in this process of creation I am the copilot or, better said, the passenger. I help out a little, but most of the time I enjoy the view.
Chronologically, the first works were the self-portraits in pencil. They are part of my Masters project consisting of drawing a self-portrait daily, with the same instrument, on the same format and paper, for 2 years. A kind of psychological study. I wanted to see where it would take me, what I would discover, learn and so on. However, teachers weren’t impressed of my first drawings (except for N. Alexi) and did not understand my approach, so… I stopped going there.
I continued the drawings, but not so intense… and with changes to the original project. From crayon I went to liner and still use it trying to find out more about this simple instrument and become good friends. In my last works, I hooked it up with acrylic colors, some old friends, and that’s how my current style was born. Tada!
Your works impress through technique and attention to detail. Often, these details have a variety of motifs and symbols. What is recurrent in your art and what’s their meaning?
While I was reading this question, Winamp decided to delight me with Zappa’s Chunga Revenge. Now here’s an impressive technique and attention to detail.
I didn’t think about this until now. I think floral motifs would be on the list, haha. Cigarettes, coffee, the human body… and other drugs. I do not understand exactly why I am using them. Their meaning varies.
Details relax my mind, are a visual pleasure and can be the key to different dimensions of the work.
As for the message of your art, your works are sometimes critical/ self-critical, ironical (including self-irony), humorous, vulgar. To what extent does your art relate to today’s society and its problems?
Yes, you find all you need. Well… to a great extent. I live in today’s society and face its problems bit by bit, as all people do. I don’t know if it’s necessarily good that free art focuses on social problems. That’s why we have TV, radio, press. Yes, they don’t do it right, but should artists do the job?
I see art as the last bastion of sensibility in a world of violence, fear, desensitization… It’s a hero that some may disregard without realizing. Dealing with these infections doesn’t it become extremely limited and perhaps trivial? Although I like art that points fingers, I prefer art that offers me visual and emotional pleasure. The idea is to rise from misery and spread harmony/ peace around us, to break our own patterns, bad habits, express new ideas to show the futility of old ones, right?
A while ago, I wrote somewhere that art is like a breath of fresh air, a break from routine and daily problems, and that thorough art people recharge, settle down and gain strength to dream of a better future. Does this mean that the need of art is strictly dependent on society’s problems?
I now ask myself if the number of artists, or interest in art, increased with the worsening of society’s problems. Is there any link between the two? Would be interesting to know…
What is it like to be an artist in Romania?
Being and artist in Romania means being an artist. A horse is still a horse when running free in the fields or sadly pulling a carriage.
I do not think it is much different than being an artist in Berlin, for example. Obviously, the ego’s experience is different. It’s important that you do what you have to do. I do not think of myself as an artist in Romania; this just simply did not register in my brain.
Maybe it’s harder here in some ways, but I don’t think that (free) artists have to (definitively) leave this country. Perhaps it’s necessary that artists are equally distributed on the globe. The artist should do his thing wherever he is, because he is needed, but not as artist that works in a factory of subliminal images or other such images.
If you would change something today, what would that be? And in this regard do you think of art as a promoter of change?
I would change my habits.
Art IS a promoter of change regardless of its direction and whoever directs it. I say that because art is everywhere. Art is the engine of society, its sugar. Art is many things. Even an advertising print is art, only that it is produced with the intention of bringing material benefits to certain persons/ corporations/ institutions and so on.
That a product has aesthetic harmony, that it induces a state/ emotion, but is for mass production has no importance. It is still based on art. Art is very important in this world, but is arrested, tortured and milked like a cow in a milk factory to give a product that men no longer need. It’s very sad.
I believe that artists are the ones who dream of a better world, and not a better life.
What was your best artistic achievement?
That inspiration finds you when you’re working. Good things come from somewhere unknown and we must be there… enthusiastic and eager to catch them and share them with others.
What’s up next?
Something sensible, natural and positive. At least, that’s what I wish for.
All images © Florin Pantilimon.
[Originally posted on September 26, 2013 on The re:art Facebook page; Revised for the current version].