Raluca Băraru | Interview

It was a delight to talk to Romanian illustrator and art director Raluca Băraru, who told us more about her Nowhere (Nicăieri) project, in an exclusive interview for The re:art.

Where and how is ‘Nowhere’, the place where your illustrations come to life?

Nowhere is in the middle of nowhere, of course. It’s a place where I feel comfortable making my best mistakes and thinking the most unthinkable thoughts. Nowhere is home.

The Boar Hunt

The Boar Hunt

We noticed that water is a main motif in your artworks. Can you tell us why?

Water is my nemesis. It’s the nightmare of inability and lack of adaptability. I have oceans flowing in and out what I think and do.

Saint Depression

Saint Depression

What’s the story behind the Saints series?

It started with one drawing for a group exhibition at Vatra. It was supposed to be about monsters and I discovered, while doodling, that monsters are social norms. So I played with some of them. In the end, the Saints came out to be all the inappropriate answers to those norms.

Saint Euphoria

Saint Euphoria

Your characters are usually in extreme or bizarre situations. What feeling do you want them to convey? Are you intending the viewer to identify with the characters?

What’s their role? First of all the personal works are… well, personal. Meaning I don’t think too much about a viewer. It’s an inner dialogue and I decide later if I want to show (sometimes if it’s ok for someone to see) it. Generally the dialogue is available for display when everything has been said and done. When I have no emotional ties to it. To me drawing is a way of discovering/ understanding the world and myself. If anybody is empathic with what I show it’s a pleasant surprise. If not, it’s ok because I don’t think of myself as a professional artist. For work I’m an art director. That’s the place in my professional life where I think about the viewer’s needs. As for personal work, I concentrate more on what I need to say rather then what people might understand.

OptiDog

OptiDog – part of București Optimixed 2014 (more info)

You recently began collaborating with Cooperativa de Artă. What made you join the initiative?

The social involvement of the project. I’m big on social issues. I dedicate as much time as I can to helping other living things. My main cause are animals and I frequently do pro-bono work for animal shelters or general animal rights issues.

Christmas postcard

Christmas postcard 2013

What do you like most – illustration or art direction and why?

Art direction and illustration are two very separate things for me. I’m passionate of both but in different ways. Like two sides of a moon. One I do for a job and the other for pleasure. For one I like to be paid for the other I don’t see why I should be paid since it’s so rewarding to me. I have no intentions to choose between them. It’s like deciding who you love most: mom or dad?

Raluca Bararu

How do you plan to continue with the ‘Nowhere’ project?

Nowhere has a life of its own. I don’t think I can influence it too much. Right now we are talking about cruelty with ink on paper. I’ll let you know if and when we will arrive to any conclusion.

All images © Raluca Băraru

View more on her Behance and Facebook page.