Valle | Interview
We interviewed Romanian artist Valentin Leonida, who you probably know as Valle, and he shared some interesting insights about his work.
05 Serpent mind / Part of “Heads” series
Many things happened since we last spoke. Back in 2013, when we met at Ciclop, we knew you under the fictional name of Karl Benton. What did you do to K. Benton and when and how did Valle make his entrance?
Indeed, many things happened since Ciclop. K. Benton was a project like a lifesaver: my daily routine limited me to a strict program, leaving me no open door. Usually, in such cases I can move the pressure point by building a new identity. At first, this technique works, however, it becomes difficult to master the name over time. Like a character in a novel, Karl began to outline its own personality (at least in the virtual environment), that is, it began to have a natural evolution. But this consumes resources and has to be stopped at a certain point. Therefore, I told myself that I had to pull myself together more than ever this time. So this is how I came to the new version. Valle is really who I am, in the short version of the official name.
03 Restless / Part of “Heads” series
We saw your CV on Behance. Tell us more than meets the eye. When did you leave Bucharest and how is it in Canada right now? Why so far?
I left the country three months ago, after waiting almost three years to complete the emigration procedures. Therefore, I am at the beginning here in Montreal, and the dominant feeling is a mixture of euphoria and pressure. Euphoria because the North American reality is unexpected, there is here a way of things extending in space, unfamiliar to us. Then, it is a culture of dialogue that brings a balance in this multicultural environment. Pressure because I am no longer a tourist, but an immigrant who has to adapt quickly. I find it hard to describe the situation here, because of the short time since my arrival, but overall I feel that the atmosphere is breathable, and there is room for future projects.
02 Melancholia / Part of “Heads” series
We keep seeing your “Heads” series on the internet. Actually, it was the “Concentration” work that reminded us of K. Benton. There is a kind of mechanism similar to horse blinders on each head. Does it have a specific role in the composition? Why did you choose the same color for all the heads? Share their story with us and tell us why these 5 expressions and not others.
The “Heads” series was quietly waiting in a drawer of my mind… it was now that I found the time to express it visually. Initially, there were more expressions in the project, but there is this limitation of time. Therefore, I chose what seemed more significant. The blinders are the mechanisms, the mental prosthesis that we mainly receive through education. They represent those limits that, because of habitude, have almost become “ornaments”… In terms of color scheme, it was chosen thinking of the models as possible indoor murals. On the other hand, I have to admit that the monochromatic manner is due to the fact that I am semi-colorblind…
04 Concentration / Part of “Heads” series
01 Rhinoceros / Part of “Heads” series
What about “The Shapes of Things” series? Tell us more about this project as well.
“The Shapes of Things” is an old project born in moments of utter exhaustion. Originally conceived as a large scale illustration, it was eventually reduced to a small size. At that time, I had lost – almost totally – the confidence that I can draw so, that I began to reimagine drawings inspired from old etchings. The line itself gave me strength and hope. The theme refers to the blind battle that beings fight endlessly, while essential things escape our attention. Those essential things, entities from an absolute world, are represented here by the Platonic solids, forms that constantly fascinate me.
“The Shapes of Things” series
What would be your dream project?
Well… in a world full of constraints, the great project would be that which gives you back your freedom! For now I can only afford dreaming of smooth walls and lines that naturally interlink. Considering that I have been working in the digital field for more than ten years, there is always a kind of smothering conflict between the strength of technology and the sensitivity offered by traditional media. I try to reconcile the two, to make them work together…
And what was your most challenging one yet?
By far, the project with the most increased difficulty was “Cubicus”, although at first glance they are just simple cubes. I find the result fascinating, although for many people the virtual objects in question are rather considered design elements! On the other hand, “Heads” placed me in the comfort zone again, although the means were much easier, but emotionally direct.
Part of “Cubicus” series
We were looking at some of your pics on Facebook, always fun to see the details you spot. How does reality actually feel to a 3D artist?
There was a time when reality, because of working in 3D, surprised me with its unexpected textures and volumes. It was a moment that I passed when visiting Venice where the abundance of texture and volume visually saturated this way of seeing. After that, I believe I see reality more emotional and then compositional, due to limiting the framework.
Any new adventures into the future?
There are new projects, I will not reveal them… it is a principle that I respect. In a way, I am already in full adventure for some time and yet at the beginning. Some things must be solved as soon as possible and here I am referring to getting a steady income. From that moment on, I can follow a path that may lead me, step by step, to that desirable “dream project”.
All images © Valle