Ever since we have found Agi’s Instagram account, we knew immediately who is going to be our next creative in the Spotlight.
Agi: Hi there! I’m Agi. 16 years experience as Graphic Designer, Art Director and Illustrator. Graduated Art University Bucharest. Started working in the field since my second year of Art University. First for free, then I got 100 USD. Gave web design a shot, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea. I started then working for agencies such as Adviser, Friends, Publicis.
I opened up a Tattoo Saloon called Spunk. The characters I like to draw, got painted on skin as well.
My list of clients includes: Nissan, Dacia, Heineken, SAB Miller, Carlsberg Group, Orange, Nestle, HP, P&G, ING Bank, Kinder, Unilever, Canon, Coca-Cola, ACR and other local brands.
I work now as a freelancer. I love to cook (check my Instagram https://www.instagram.com/graficskull/). Curious about this and that. Experiencing different materials. Polishing my skills now in the realm of contemporary jewellery.
Subsign: What was your childhood like? Do you think your experiences from childhood have influenced your present creative endeavors?
Agi: Born in the Capital, grew up in the countryside, with my Grandparents. Lots of birds and animals around, running around in the dust, jumping in the lake, things like that. I was growing my own family of ducks :). As I think back now, those were great times and a great company for a kid to be in.
I’ve been drawing since I was little, yes. So did my Dad – he was into reproducing and copying comic book characters. He was actually good at this. Grandma used to color together with me coloring books. However, I guess I always wanted to draw my own stuff – from beginning to the end.
Then I moved to Pantelimon, which is a “special” kind of place, with unique characters. A big influence on me was my neighbor Ionel Popa, who worked in cinema and special effects. He encouraged me with all sorts of book and stories on my way to Art School. I took lots and lots of drawing private lessons, but I didn’t go Art High School, as most of the people in the University do.
Mom was always supportive. Big time. I remember this one episode when she was driving me to the Art University exam. And we realize we have no jar (for water and watercolors). It was mandatory. Mom pulls over and buys a jar of yogurt. I cannot drink milk and yogurt, I don’t like that stuff at all. She drinks it all up quickly and gives me the jar: “now you got all you need” she says.
Subsign: What did you wanted to be as a grown up?
Agi: I had no particular childhood dream, doctor, pilot, aviator… I guess I had them all and could not decide. I wanted all of them, to try all that stuff, experiencing this and that. So that’s why my set of skills is rather diverse, I think, such as woodworking or tinkering and fixing things around the house…
However, the biggest challenge was to become somebody that “can draw”. I used to go through all my dad’s comic books (“Pifs”), I loved animated movies and I wanted to draw like that. So I guess I wanted to become a “drawing man”.
Subsign: How does your workstation look like?
Agi: My office desk is usually neatly arranged, with just a couple of things around to help me get in the mood. I usually try to spend some time arranging all the stuff that’s around me and my work space. I prefer a more intimate atmosphere, if that’s possible, away from the center part of the office.
My freelancing desk is a wooden board supported by trestles (“goats” how we lovingly call them in Romanian). A 27 iMac and an Wacom Intuos Pro. Surrounded by lots of toys, a kid and a dog.
Subsign: Do you have a work style? How would you describe it?
Agi: After I graduated from University, I had no particular style, and I took a big break from drawing with a pencil. I think for two years. During a long, boring meeting at the agency, I started drifting away, drawing on a small piece of paper. I started creating these strange characters, with particular eyes, that became representative for my personal style. Somebody recognized them after a while and said: “oh, those creatures with one eye bigger than the other”. I went on practicing my style and this set of characters.
It evolved into a seriously naïve universe, with “light” characters in a dark setting. Or the other way around. I called them Pretty Creepy. It’s a good definition.
Subsign: Can you share with us how your creative process works?
Agi: When I started in advertising, even at University, every new project began with the dreaded white page. I was terrified by that. The WPS. White Page Syndrome, I used to call it. In that very moment, I knew nothing, I imagined nothing, I couldn’t even draw. It was pretty hard, but now, I look at some of the work I did, and I say “wow, you did this, it means you can draw like this, go ahead, start doing it, do it already”.
When I start working, I look for references, pics or illustrations with a similar theme, I draw some sketches, I choose one of the sketches and then I go into Adobe Photoshop of Illustrator. After that, I’m happy and proud I did it. Even though at first I had no idea how to actually do it. And after that, the client is happy as well. Or I get a mail with the rework 🙂
Subsign: What is your favorite work you have done so far?
Agi: I love every bit of my work and illustration, new and old. I’m surprised every time I revisit some of the older things I used to draw.
I guess my favorite work is Mr. Bear Driver, an app for kids and parents. It was created to raise awareness for child’s safety in traffic, in a campaign by ACR (Automobile Club of Romania) and FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile). I’m so happy it reached so many people. I loved working on it because I got the chance to create not just illustration and design, but a whole universe, complete with different animals, vehicles and settings. The project was featured extensively in the media and picked up some awards too, (Cannes Lions, Effies and so on).
As a favorite personal project, I would pick the sketches in the boring meeting that kick started a new stage.
Subsign: Who do you follow for inspiration?
Agi: Tim Burton, Zdzislaw Beksinski, Pablo Picasso, Hieronymus Bosch and my wife 🙂
Subsign: What advice could you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?
Agi: I strongly believe there’s “no talent, just hard work”. I’m a living example. Well, more like 10% talent, the rest work-work. Lots and lots of practice. Only time well spent creates a good portfolio. And is easy to see that when there’s hours invested in one’s work.
Subsign: If you would a super power, what would it be?
Agi: I feel grateful for my family, my friends and the chance to work every day on what I love doing. I won’t ask for superpowers if I can have all that around.
Subsign: Can you recommend for our readers a book, a song and a movie?
Agi: Book: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories / Tim Burton
Movie: Nocturna http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0836682//
Song: The Prodigy – Funky S**t
Subsign: If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?
Agi: Apartment parties from the 90s, with everybody crammed in the kitchen. That was really fun. I really don’t know what you would celebrate with that. Maybe the fact that you and your friends are still young 🙂
Subsign: What famous people would you invite to the party and why?
Agi: Tim Burton and Prodigy in my kitchen or on the balcony. Wouldn’t that be something…!
Thank you Agi for being a part of it!
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