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  • Writer's pictureHakan Öztunalı

Doorway of Reconciliation w/ Luciana Nedelea

Luciana Nedelea invites you to the doorway of reconciliation. Prestigious Romanian artist who wear the knowledge of ancient history and archaeology. Curator of the medley of angst and love, abruption and anxiety, fear and triumph. Entire served and offered for you to rapturize whilst passing the straight path. Feel what you can insolently till your blood boils, we are nothing, but sentimental creatures who will fade away before you know it.

Luciana Nedelea
(Courtesy of Luciana Nedelea)

Luciana Nedelea
(Courtesy of Luciana Nedelea)

Dear Luciana, I would like to thank you for accepting the interview. Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?

Luciana Nedelea: Salve, dear Hakan and much cherished readers! Firstly, please accept my deepest gratitude for choosing me and my work for this interview. Thank you for dedicating your precious time to building a vital bridge between artists and a like- minded audience worldwide! Your efforts are much appreciated.

As the last few years have been quite challenging for everyone throughout the globe, it is my hope that this interview will transpose your readers, even for just a few minutes, in the exquisitely intricate world of art, history and music. It is a world that accepts and feeds on challenging times, transforming these experiences into powerful creations that will withstand the test of Chronos.

Introducing myself always feels like a difficult task, and many times I find myself hiding behind my work, allowing it to become a journal, a confidant, and a visual speaker. I think that many of your readers can relate to this.

However, I will try my best to write a realistic introduction: I was born in the Socialist Republic of Romania, northern Transylvania, eight months before the Romanian Revolution of 1989, and the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union. In retrospect, the three and a half “democratic” decades following this sudden change have not been very gentle to the people of Romania. Me and many children born in that period had to grow up and adapt to an ever- changing environment, a clash between two cultures and mentalities: Eastern (collectivist, conservative, traditional, superstitious and religious) and Western (individualist, independent, indulgent, extravagant). How do you transform generations of people born and shaped under a totalitarian regime, into functional, modern, free thinkers? It is not something that can be achieved overnight, and it does “spill” into the next generations, even if they grow up in somewhat normal conditions. It reminds me of what Zbigniew Brzezinski once said: “Abandoning communism will last as long as communism lasted”. And it is true. Many people struggle even today to shake the communist mentality, a mentality which was present in all aspects of my life while growing up. It is like a stubborn infection that does not want to go away even after administering antibiotics.

Therefore, I can say that my childhood was a period of constant change, readjustments, reforms, trials and errors, or simply put: a never-ending experiment at the cost of people’s lives. Everything felt unstable, grey, austere, and marked by deprivation. The only positive constant in my life was my family - two hardworking and supportive parents, as well as a brilliant younger sister. However, despite their best efforts, post-communist reality took a toll on almost everyone. I had a very modest upbringing, and life was quite difficult and challenging at times. I had to work extra hard for everything I needed or wanted, and nothing was taken for granted. For example, we had to make do without running water, which I used to bring back home in buckets from a water source. I know what it is like to walk 10 km of muddy roads or extreme weather to school and back home for years and years. We were not able to afford the little pleasures in life, to the point where sometimes even food became a luxury. I also know what is like to wear someone else’s hand-me-downs and what it means to oppress your wants and needs due to pecuniary difficulties. We had to help with agricultural/farm work from a young age and every summer/autumn we had to prepare firewood for a full winter, etc.

However, all these tough experiences had a positive impact on my life. The modest lifestyle led to finding creative solutions to entertain myself: crafts, drawing/painting, reading (a lot), and music. I had my first, own phone at the age 16, and access to internet only at the age of 18, and I am thankful for that. I could say that education was a refuge for a very long time, and being somewhat secluded from society did help shape my personality away from outside influence. Despite all the hardships, it has never stopped me from wanting to know more and to better myself. Overall, I like to think that it has turned me into a disciplined individual with a strong work ethic, and that now, as an adult with different possibilities, I can appreciate what truly matters in life.

If there would be one thing I could give communist mentality credit for, then it would be its extremely competitive nature when it comes to harnessing human skills. You were thought from a very young age that failure is not an option and that you need to excel in everything you do if you want a better life. This mentality is strongly reflected in my education, which was aimed toward performance, and I have to thank my parents for that. From age 7 to 15, I was enrolled into a music school, where I learned how to play violin and piano. The violin was my primary instrument and I attended local and national competitions yearly, as well as Classical Music Olympiads. I also played in the school orchestra and at various events. I was taught how to play pieces by composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, George Frideric Handel, Ludwig van Beethoven, Tudor Jarda, George Enescu, Ciprian Porumbescu, etc.

From early on, we were instructed on how to master our emotions and perform in front of large audiences, which is not always easy as a child. However, it did help me later on in life with public speaking at conferences or colloquiums. Also, in order to succeed, you needed to sacrifice a lot of your time to practicing the instrument and learning a certain number of études, symphonies, concertos or sonatas by heart. I would sometimes practice the violin even four hours a day (for years), which did not leave room for much free time or social interactions. When it comes to the level of discipline that you need to have as a classical musician, I could compare it to someone joining the army. Over the years, it did take a toll on me, and even though I was doing quite well, it just felt like it was not my true calling. It all felt a little bit too sterile, and the urge to draw or paint had become very strong. So, I decided to follow my intuition and follow that path.

At the age of 15 (9 th grade), I decided to switch over to an art school, which turned out to be the best decision of my life. For the first time I felt like I was in the right place, among kind, artistic people who understood and accepted me. Before joining the art school, I was told by a visiting art teacher that I would never do well in art, let alone be accepted in an art school. I guess that he really underestimated me and my determination. I took extra classes concerning shape, proportion, perspective, lighting and shading, composition, colour theory, etc. I remember doing extra 4-hour sessions with an art professor, twice a week after finishing my normal classes. I worked really hard to pass all the exams and to catch up with my new classmates who had been doing that for years before me. Eventually, I did very well in art and art history, competing in local and national contests, as well as Art and Art History Olympiads, with great results. Years later, my art reached almost all continents, and the guy who told me that I would fail, died in anonymity.

At the age of 19, I graduated the Art Lyceum in the textiles section, but I decided that it was not necessary to continue studying it on an academic level, because it was something that I could do freely, without further supervision or guidance. However, I decided to peruse a career in Archaeology and Ancient History at the most prestigious university in Romania, and I now hold a PhD title in this field (Summa Cum Laude/Excellent). I even went as far as pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship, which I have

finalized and am now waiting for that diploma to be issued. As an archaeologist, I hold a CV with a couple dozen publications. I’ve written articles, volumes, chapters in books, etc., including a volume published by The Romanian Academy, which I worked on as an editor and author (Tabula Imperii Romani – Forma Orbis Romani: Dacia). I have participated in countless national and international conferences and colloquiums. I have also held seminars and courses for over four years. I attended numerous archaeological campaigns in my country, and have been a part of several national research projects to this date.

As an artist, I have worked with researchers, writers/authors, publishing houses, events, musicians, bands, and private collectors worldwide. To name a few bands I have done logos, T- shirt designs or album covers for: At the Altar of the Horned God, Clitgore, Dauþuz, Diĝir Gidim, Dark Funeral, Esoctrilihum, Fuath, Ghost Bath, Grá, Grifteskymfning, Highland, Hussar, Imperial Demonic, Kalmankantaja, Mare Cognitum, Moloch, Nightbringer, Oldd Wvrms, Orgrel, Panychida, Scáth na Déithe, Walghinge, Witchtower and many others, which I am very grateful to.

One of my most dear collaborations was the one with the religious organization known as The Satanic Temple (USA). We have collaborated for years now on designs for membership certificates, candles, T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, posters and many other items which have had great success worldwide. Some of the original artworks for these designs are also permanently exhibited at the TST Salem Art Gallery.

My biggest solo exhibition so far was organized within the Transilvania International Film Festival in 2018, when I was also selected as a jury member in the Shadows Shorts Competition. However, holding exhibitions does not represent a priority for me, unless it is really something special. I feel like today almost everyone is allowed to have an exhibition in a museum or an art gallery, no matter the quality, and it loses its appeal. The same goes for superior studies. I feel like PhDs and diplomas are given away so easily, that you do not know anymore who really deserves it or not.

Luciana Nedelea
(Courtesy of Luciana Nedelea)

You grew up in Transylvania. I’ve read many stories about that beautiful place and heroes like ‘Vlad Tepeş The Impaler’ or short vampire/werewolf sagas. It’s quite popular all around the globe, especially for the ‘Vampire Tourism’. My question is that you grew up in a region and I assume that quite inspiring to form your path to reach an artistic vision. Do you remember any memories about the awe-inspiring moment that made you determine your ground zero?

Luciana Nedelea: Transilvania is a region in central Romania, encompassing several counties. The region is surrounded from almost all sides by mountains and dense forests populated by wildlife, which makes for some pretty epic sceneries, especially during extreme weather conditions. It is almost like a natural fortress shrouded in mystery.

The mystique of the natural landscape is paired with that of some of its well-preserved medieval cities and towns such as Cluj-Napoca, Bistrița, Brașov, Sibiu, Sighișoara, and the intriguing myths and superstitions told from generation to generation within the adjacent villages. I was born in Bistrița (Bistrița-Năsăud), which is home to the famous Borgo Pass (Tihuța Pass), the gateway to the realm of Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel. A modern Dracula Castle was built during the 80s, about seven kilometers distance from the Borgo Pass. It is a huge tourist attraction and we used to visit it as children during class excursions. The basement walls of that “castle” were painted with vampire scenes and they had “Count Dracula” sleeping in the dark, in his coffin, surrounded by candles and fog.

I remember that there used to be a foul smell in the air as well (probably just sewege). He would jump out of the coffin during the tourguide’s fascinating stories about vampires and he would run towards the crowd, grabbing or scratching everyone’s legs with fake nails, and then disappearing back into the fog. Pretty tacky now that I think of it, but very epic if you are a child. I remember that I was wearing pink (yes, pink and sparkly) shorts, and that I left with a scratch on my leg, which I was very fascinated by. It felt like a vampire’s autograph.

But that was one of those moments that has really stuck with me as a child, feeding my imagination. During class excursions we also used to visit Sighișoara and the house where Vlad Țepeș was born, where again you were confronted with intriguing legends and myths. They now have a “scary coffin” scene there too, if your readers want to experience a sleepy and slightly tipsy Vlad. And of course, to that I would add the beautiful medieval castles and fortresses of Romania, which are always an inspiration.

At the age of 11, we moved into a house situated in an isolated area, on the outskirts of the town, very close to the forest. There were only three other houses and several sheepfolds in close proximity. During winter, starving wolves and bears would be attracted by the livestock. You could hear howls in the middle of the night and the next day you would learn stories of shepperds and their sheep or cows being attacked, mouled or killed by wild animals. I remember one winter night when a pack of wolves came right in front of our house. There were no lights in the area, but the snow was reflecting the light of the moon. And in that silence you could hear our neighbour, yelling in panic and trying to get his wife to go out to close the stable to their six sheep, because he was too scared to do it himself. Pretty funny stuff, but yet another moment that has stuck with me as a child – the chilling howls in the dead cold of winter, and the horror stories of the aftermath. I sometimes had to come back from school at 8 pm during winter, on foot, and it was pitch black.

You would concoct all sort of scenarios in your head of what could be lurking in the dark. You would see stray dogs in the distance and you’d think the worst, yet, you also learned to toughen up quite young. And naturally, you grow up experiencing all these things and they fuel your imagination. You hear stories from other areas and villages where whole families, over generations, have been attacked and killed by wolves, and they attributed the cause to curses, hauntings, werewolves/Pricolici or Strigoi. Overall, I have always had an interest in the supernatural, superstitions, myths and legends, the occult, death and the afterlife, worlds between the living and the dead, local collective mentalities, human behavior, tragedies, horror, monsters or anything to do with the world of imagination. Therefore, the region I was born in is simply perfect for me, and a never ending source of inspiration for my art, and I plan, to the best of my abilities, to promote it through my work.

Luciana Nedelea
(Courtesy of Luciana Nedelea)

I’ve been waiting long time to pose this question to the right person, are vampires real, or could be real?

Luciana Nedelea: You are absolutely right; you do need the right people to answer this question. And if you are in the right region, in the right historical period, surrounded by the perfect combination of superstitions, rumors and collective mentalities, they might just answer this question with “yes, they are real”. Similar to the people who in the past strongly believed that vampires did exist, posing a serious threat to their community, many people today will still swear that vampires do walk among us. These are themes and fears which have survived from Ancient and Medieval times, being perpetuated in the myths and folklore of many European and West-Asian populations.

However, the term “Vampyre” is modern, appearing in English only in the 18 th century. It was borrowed from French and German terms, which in turn had their roots in Old Slavic and Turkic languages. In nowadays Romania, the term “Vampir”, of French origin, appears only in the 19th century (1872), in a poem written by Costache Negruzzi.

The terms “Strix”, “Striga” or “Strigula” nonetheless, have Ancient origins, going as far back as the 4th century BC, when Boios, in his “Ornithogonia”, talks about the fate of Polyphonte and her sons, transformed by the gods into species of nocturnal birds of prey. Plautus, Plinius, Ovid, Petronius and others give account of witches (Striges or Strixes) that transform into aggressive birds who feed on human flesh and blood. Titinius also talks about the use of garlic as a protective amulet against these creatures (especially for the new-born). In the 7 th century AD, John of Damascus talks about “Striges” in a homiletic fragment classified under the title “De Draconibus et Strygibus” (On dragons and striges). Ultimately, the term “Striga” evolved into the modern Italian “strega” (witch). The same term was also perpetuated through Slavic culture, becoming Strzyga/Strzygon, hence the Romanian archilexem (hypernym) Strigoi, followed by diverse regional forms (Moroi, Boscoroi).

The first cases of “deviant burials” in the Christian tradition are documented during the 16th century. For example, such burials were discovered in Lazzaretto Nuovo (Venice, Italy), where a 61-year-old female vampire had been buried with a brick stuffed in her mouth.

In modern and contemporary times, especially among Balkan populations, these myths overlap and borrow traits from the cult of Dionysos. For example, in many regions of Romania, the Strigoi is described as having hooved feet and tails, similar to the Fauns and Satyrs seen in the ceremonial processions associated with Dionysos (a very popular Roman cult in the Dacian province).

During the 17th century, more and more scientific books, treatises and documents regarding vampires seem to emerge in Europe and Asia (Poland, France, Spain, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, etc.) On the territory of nowadays Romania, the term “Strigoi” is first attested in 1652, when a juridical volume published in Târgovişte mentions “the dead who wake up as Strigoi to kill the living”.

Throughout the 18 th century, vampirism is seen as an infectious disease, real vampire epidemics and vampire attacks being confirmed in villages across Europe. Some of the most famous vampire epidemics of this century take place in Medwegya (Serbia) and Drawsko(Poland). Burial desecrations become so frequent, that even Pope Benedict the XIVth had to intervene, condemning those who carried out such practices. The 18 th century is also known for some of its most interesting scientific writings regarding this subject: Michael Ranft – “De masticatione mortuorum in tumilis”, Augustin Calmet – “Traité sur les apparitions des esprits et sur les vampires ou les revenans de Hongrie, de Moravie, &c.”, Georg Tallar – “Visum repertum anatomico-chirurgicum. Grundlicher Bericht von den sogenannten Blutsaugern, Vampier, oder in der Wallachischen Sprache Moroi, in der Wallachey, Sibenburgen, und Banat”, etc. Dimitrie Cantemir, in his “Descriptio Moldaviae”, briefly mentions Transylvania as being guilty of the heresy of believing in “Striges” (with the sense of witches in this case). Georg Tallar performs and documents several autopsies on vampires in Transylvania (Deva 1724), Wallachia (Obârşia 1728), and in the Banat region, attributing their afflictions to a poor diet, especially around Christmas time.

In 1884, renowned Romanian writer, philologist, historian and spiritualist Bogdan Petriceicu Hașdeu, set out to identify the different types of Strigoi and their characteristics from region to region (the difference between the living and the dead Strigoi).

So, given all the evidence, my answer would be yes, vampires are real. Stories of vampires are still very much alive even today all-around Europe, and especially in rural areas in the Balkan region. As we are approaching The Night of Saint Andrew (29 th – 30 th of November), I will let your readers decide if vampires are real or not. Supposedly, on this night (the longest night of the year), the barriers between earth, heaven and hell are lifted. The forces of evil are the strongest on this day, and Strigoi are known to come back to hunt and feed on the living. Many villagers protect themselves by adoring their doors and windows with garlic, so you might want to stock up on that.

Luciana Nedelea
(Courtesy of Luciana Nedelea)

About your doctorate on Archaeology and Ancient History, I believe you needed to deep dive into that field, in that case, what was your research and dissertation about?

Luciana Nedelea: I specialized in Classical Studies/Classical Antiquity, with a central focus on the history of the Roman Empire and the Dacian province (which encompassed vast territories of nowadays Romania). However, to get to the point where you can actually specialize on a certain segment, you have to study, master and pass exams in all historical periods, from Prehistory to Contemporary times, which is extremely demanding.

Three years are dedicated to your Bachelor’s degree, two years to Masters, three years to your Doctoral studies (with the possibility to extend your research for another four years), and another two years for a Postdoctoral fellowship. So, you are looking at a total of 14 years of studies if you really want to go all the way. It is safe to say that during all the years dedicated to my academic work, I was not able to read one book “just for fun”.

Your time is consumed by reading, taking notes, understanding and researching thousands of pages per day, for years and years. And we are not talking about bibliography in just the English language, but also German, Italian, French, Spanish, Russia or Romanian. To this, you add the Ancient Greek and Latin sources. However, from really early on, I knew that I wanted to study ancient pottery. It felt like a true calling and I followed my instinct. It is also a subject which could find me a job anywhere in the world. Not too many people have the patience to research pottery, even though 90% of the material discovered on most archaeological sites is represented by ceramics.

Therefore, my main area of expertise is archaeology and material culture. I am a Roman pottery specialist, and I preponderantly research finds from military contexts (forts and fortresses). I am also an active member of an archaeological team, which is devoted to the research of the legionary fortress established at Potaissa (nowadays Turda, Cluj County, Transylvania). It was the headquarters of Legio V Macedonia, which moved from Moesia Inferior/Troesmis (in Doubrodja) to Dacia around 170 AD, in the context of the Marcomannic Wars. They used this fortress until 271 AD, when they moved once more to Moesia Inferior, at Oescus (Gigen, Bulgaria). Being a member of this research team, for my PhD thesis I was kindly given access to the Roman pottery discovered within this fortress throughout the 45 years of systematic research. We are talking about a medium-sized legionary fortress, which occupies a surface of cca. 23 hectares, with around 100 years of activity. With small exceptions, it generally follows the standard rules of Roman military architecture (see Vegetius – “De re militari” or pseudo- Hyginus – “De munitionibus castrorum”), and I had to research the material in accordance with the functionality and characteristics of the area where it was discovered: the headquarters (principia), the baths (thermae), the military barracks (latus praetorii dextrum and sinistrum, retentura dextra and sinistra, praetentura dextra and sinistra), the granaries (horrea) and one of the gates (porta decumana). The vast majority of the wares were locally manufactured, but some products arrived at Potaissa through trade, from various corners of the Roman Empire (Rheinzabern, Lezoux, Chios, Pavlikeni, etc). The soldiers would also carry some products (especially luxury items) from their previous location to the new one, where they continued to use them.

Therefore, your job is to clarify what happened and how it happened, to establish what is what and from where, to work on a typology, chronology, and to then reconstruct fragments of regional history based on the material that is available to you. You have to make the material talk, by following a series of clues. It is very much like detective work. In total, I have catalogued and analyzed cca. 10.000 individual vessels. Being an artist has also helped me very much, because I had to hand draw over 2000 illustrations and digitize them for my PhD thesis.

However, I like to think that the results are fascinating: I was able to offer valuable insight regarding military logistics, military diet, trade, economy or religious preferences. I was also able to prove that pottery can clarify the functionality of built spaces in the absence of written evidence. Moreover, the inscriptions rendered by the soldiers or potters on the surface of the vessels have offered insight into their level of literacy, education and artistic skills. You can see some of the soldiers struggling to learn Latin words, and some do not even know how to spell their own name, so they just sign their property with an “X”. I have also offered some insight into the study of ancient fingerprints paleodermatoglyphics – in regards to the ceramic workshops and their potters. The human fingerprints identified on the surface of ceramics can be used as “an indicator of age and sex of the artifact maker in adulthood”.

Besides dermatoglyphics, other examples of imprints frozen in time on the surface of pottery are those of textiles, i.e., woven fabrics of varying thickness and density, and I was able to study those in connection to the fortress as well. Most of my research has been published, and if your readers want to further explore some of these subjects, they can find my work on either or ResearchGate. Overall, my advice to anyone who wants to study something would be: if you really want to feel like you have earned your diplomas, then study in one of the largest cities of your country, where you actually have brutal competition and you really have to give your all to succeed. If you are too comfortable with what you are studying, and if you have free time while doing that, you are not doing it right.

Luciana Nedelea
(Courtesy of Luciana Nedelea)

How would you grasp and categorize your artwork in the sense of technicality?

Luciana Nedelea: Most of the themes depicted through my art revolve around the pathological fear of death, superstitions, myths, legends, nature, beasts, monsters, apparitions, outcasts, demons, the Devil, tragedies, dark moments in history, extreme human behavior as a result of religious fanatism, and the occult. In general, I like anything abnormal, deviant, but rooted in reality.

I look for contrasts between rational and irrational behaviour. When I think that I’ve read the most exquisitely horrific historical event, something else will pop up a few days later to raise the bar. The horrors and evil that the human mind can come up while trying to fight with fears and the unknown are endless, but brilliant subjects to be depicted through art. They will evoke raw emotions in almost anyone. At the moment, my go to techniques that are the most effective in capturing the dark essence of my subjects are acrylic/watercolour painting, and ink drawing (or a mixture between all these techniques). However, in my case, there is a big difference between painting and drawing. Painting comes naturally to me. Compared to drawing, my mind can relax knowing that mistakes can be embraced or fixed, leading to the creation of spontaneous artifices.

I usually pick painting over drawing when I want to capture dark or eerie atmospheres, as well as figures with undefined contours. I tend to prefer a monochromatic palette, earthy tones or muted colours, and when I do use bright colours, you will remember it. I normally work with underpainting and I keep adding layer after layer to achieve the desired effect. I like my paintings to have a rugged texture, which adds a certain “old, scratched painting” effect to the finished piece. I am also a lot quicker with paintings, than I am with drawings. I use the later technique when I want to challenge myself.

Most of my drawings have intricate borders, meticulous details and I make use of geometry and symmetry quite often, which requires a heightened level of focus and precision. I use hatching, crosshatching and stippling to create tonal or shading effects. These are techniques which I use often for my medieval themed pieces, as it reminds of the old master prints of the fifteenth century. More recently, I have been using a watercolour wash in my ink drawings as well. I find that most people prefer coloured pieces because the message is registered much quicker by the brain.

In general, most of my pieces are painted or drawn onto hot or cold pressed fine art paper (preferably 300-350g), canvas or wooden panels. I have a deep appreciation for traditional craftsmanship, and I have been trying to learn more about gilding. I make use of metallic accents whenever the opportunity is given, especially for the pieces which follow a medieval tradition. For that, I use gold leaf, metallic gouache paint or antique gold paste. If a piece is painted on canvas, then I will also add a layer of varnish to protect the paint.

What is your overview on digitalization of mediums, do you think it’s a handy tool to assist your work, or is it completely detrimental for traditional arts?

Luciana Nedelea: I scan and digitally stock high-resolution copies of everything I create. However, I try to stick to traditional methods as much as possible and I pride myself in the fact that everything I do is by hand. In my case, digital interventions are only beneficial when re-adjusting little things, i.e., crop extra edges or adjust the contrast that was lost due to the scanner’s reflective light. Nonetheless, I think that these days too many people are becoming reliant on digital methods, to the detriment of people who possess talent, creativity, perfected skills and real expertise in certain fields.

There are so many people who just want instant gratification, recognition and to be seen as great artists (especially on social media), but they are not willing to put in the hours and the hard work to actually sit in an uncomfortable chair, in a cold hall, in front of a still life display and study perspective, proportion, colour theory, shading, etc. So, they take unhealthy shortcuts. It is much easier to have a computer calculate symmetry, your “pigments”, proportion, perspective, shading, to fill in your background with the click of a button, to go back a couple of steps and correct things, etc. I see people who go as far as digitally painting over classical paintings or creating collages of classical works, thinking that no one will notice. There are people downloading pictures off of Google and re-drawing over the shapes, because they are not capable of mastering proportions or perspective.

They call their digital works “paintings”, but if you give them a real brush or pen, they will not know what to do with it. What upsets me the most, is the fact that their audiences fall for these tricks, and they truly believe that said person actually sat down and painted said work. So now, you do not only have people who cheat and take shortcuts, but they also trick people into admiring skills that they do not really possess. Why is digital work, a painting? Where is the paint? It’s not real, a computer did most of the work. I think that “color manipulation on a computer screen in a manner reminiscent of painting” is a

more proper description.

I sometimes try to imagine what would happen if a world war or a global catastrophe was to diminish resources and there would be no electricity anymore. What do you do then? Half of the world’s “models”, “artists”, “musicians” and “writers” would cease to exist. It’s the same principle as having digital libraries nowadays. It’s a great idea, it makes things easier, but you still need the physical books as a backup, just in case something was to happen. You can only rely on real, tangible objects, skills, people, etc.

Could you describe how you conceive the matter of ‘quality’ in your format?

Luciana Nedelea: I like to think that my technique and the quality of my work keeps evolving as the years pass. I am truly my worst critic. If I look back at my work a couple of days later, I tend to dislike everything I paint or write, and nothing is ever good enough. The longer I look, the more mistakes I see.

If I look back at some of my work from last year, it’s a total tragedy - I suddenly hear the Titanic’s orchestra playing in the background as we sink together, them, me and my paintings, never to be seen again. Truth be told, it was not always easy to create a career in Archaeology and at the same time to make a name for myself in the world of art. I had to make sacrifices and I did not always have the time to work on art as much as I would have liked, even though I did give my best at all times.

Nonetheless, in my work, I think of something as qualitative when: it inspires other people to want to create; when it evokes feelings, memories or reactions; when they are transposed into a different world; when they see something in my work that they have not seen or thought of before; when they want to share it with others; but most importantly - when they want to give my work a home.

Do you have any expectations, recommendations or any kind of way of supporting ideas to masses, since there are assorted hurdles that artists usually encounter?

Luciana Nedelea: The advice that I would give to anyone who wants to create art in any form, that will also last the test of time, would be: stay true to yourself. Do not follow any trends, no matter how much you see them advertised on social media. Do not fall for peer pressure and do your own thing. Take the time to educate yourself, to better your skills, and do not take the easy route or skip steps in your ascension.

You, are one. The people who imitate, are many. Trends will come and go, but you and your ideas will remain a constant. Try to develop your work around values that truly matter to you, your family, your country. Value your traditions, your history, your culture – those are all things that make you unique. If you are true to yourself, you will attract and build a community of individuals around you who will believe in the same values as you. Do this, and you will eventually be successful, but most importantly, you will be proud of yourself.

 Honor to have you on my realm. Please finalize the interview with your closing words.

Luciana Nedelea: The pleasure was truly mine, and thank you kindly once more for your invitation. I am grateful for the brilliant questions you have asked in this interview, because it really gave me a chance to speak about topics which are dear to me. I hope that your readers found this interview just as enjoyable as I did, and that it will inspire them to create, or at least to take a trip to Transylvania.

And remember, get your garlic ready and beware of vampires on the night between the 29 th and the 30 th of November!


Official Instagram page of Luciana Nedelea, tap here: @luciana_nedelea_artworks

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