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Subsign Spotlight #111: Diana Bîrsan.

Subsign: First, can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Diana: Hi! My name is Diana Bîrsan. I am a watercolor illustrator, based in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. I am 29 years old – detail which is worth mentioning only so that you make an idea about the generation I am a part of. My background is made up of different interests and roles I used to have over the years: my curiosity about foreign languages led me to study the Dutch language, I was involved in different projects related to photography, music, theater.

I traveled quite a bit over the years and liked to put myself in contexts which made me grow as a person and question my path in life. The most important decision I ever took was to follow my passion for painting and pursue it as a profession, which is not the easiest thing to do, given the social constructs and beliefs we might have, but it is definitely the most rewarding and enriching decision I ever took.

Subsign: What was your childhood like? Do you think your childhood experiences have influenced your present creative endeavors?

Diana: The most relevant thing about my childhood is the fact that I was in a constant search for activities and I was never afraid to start something new. This was not very pleasant for my parents, of course, since they wished for me to stick with something for a longer period of time haha. Strangely enough, I was never interested in drawing, sketching or painting when I was young, having discovered this passion only about 3 years ago.

Despite this, I strongly believe that my childhood experiences led me to illustration. I say this having in mind my “photography era”. I would take pictures of everything I found moving and then go to my art teacher and we would analyze them together. I learned quite a bit about composition, colors, light and setting. For sure, this contributed to me becoming an illustrator in some manner.

Subsign: What did you want to be as a grown up?

Diana: Aaaah, I wanted to be so many things! Wanted to be a guitar player – even took guitar lessons haha, a dancer, a singer, an actress, a ballerina – as you can see, all of them revolving around the Arts.

Subsign: What does your workstation look like?

Diana: To paint you a picture of it, imagine a tiny balcony, showered with sunlight almost throughout the entire day. On the left side, there’s a white desk and a dark green chair. On the floor, there are a couple of plants at the window. One of the walls is covered with illustrations and sheets of paper about art and my brand’s values. Sometimes this workstation looks tidy and neat, others, it is a chaos of watercolors, sheets of paper and brushes all over the place. I cannot work when it is chaos, despite what they might say about artists. I have to have my space clean and cozy.

Subsign: Do you have a work style? How would you describe it?

Diana: I was actually afraid of this question, because I spent the last two nights overthinking about my artistic style. I even experimented with different styles lately, which I was not very happy with to be honest. The short answer is no, I do not think I have a work style – yet. The long answer is: My goal for the year 2024 is to let the style that suits me best, find me. At this point, my art is a mix of: realistic portraits, botanical illustrations, and anthropomorphism.

Subsign: Can you share with us how your creative process works?

Diana: My inspiration comes mainly from nature, reading and cinematography. Most of the times when an idea is shown to me, I note it down either on my phone or in my planner. Later I like to talk with people about it – this holds me accountable for what I plan on doing. I am very careful to talk to people that I know have a good influence on me, though. Usually I am very eager to see how the idea is gonna turn out, so I start working on a sketch.

After that, I pick the color palette, which is the most important part for me and I start painting. During the painting process I like to take pictures of the unfinished piece of art. I have found that looking at a picture gives me a totally different perspective on what I’m doing than just looking at my painting in real life. I usually know when I will make the last strike with my brush and after that happens, I like to take a couple of minutes just to look at what I did and see how I feel about it.

Subsign: What is your favorite work you have done so far?

Diana: I’d like to actually name a product here, which is made up of multiple illustrations – The Baby Journal. I have invested a lot of energy and time in it and am so happy with how it turned out! I can say I took great care of this product, researching every aspect of it – the chapters I want it to have, the type of paper, the theme of the illustrations, the tiny details. It was also received with a lot of appreciation from my audience, so that must have helped as well haha.

Subsign: Who do you follow for inspiration?

Diana: Even though I consider Dalí, Magritte, Vermeer and many others, great artists, at this point in my life I am very much inspired by Marija Tiurina. She is just breathtaking in her art. Everytime I look at something made by her, I find myself thinking about that piece of art for the rest of the day. Her art gives me this intense feeling in my chest “Jesus Christ, this is absolutely amazing – from the concept, the idea, the colors, the angles, even the name of the works, they are all stunning”.

Subsign: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?

Diana: I do not really like to give advice to be honest. What worked for me might not work for everyone. If I must say something to inspire someone in the beginning of this journey it would be: Learn continuously – about your craft, your business, your fellow artists, yourself even, strive to improve and most importantly: do it with passion and dedication.

Subsign: If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Diana: Flight, for sure. I could fly above oceans and mountains, go to places I have never been to, see astounding sceneries, get to places faster haha.

Subsign: Can you recommend a book, a song and a movie, for our readers?

Diana: A book – “The War of Art” Steven Pressfield : it is an amazing read, be it that you are involved in the arts or not.

A song – I have too many recommendations here, but I will stick with “Split Needles” by the Shins. Their music is poetry.

A movie – my favorite documentary, I believe EVERY single person on this Planet should watch: “The Salt of the Earth”.

Subsign: If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what special occasion would you choose?

Diana: I would throw a party with the theme “Togetherness” and I would invite everyone that I consider close to my soul and they would have to invite the people that are close to them as well. The occasion would be to celebrate the presence of each other in our lives. It would be somewhere in a forest, we would play fun games, maybe there would be a lake closeby, so we could swim. We would lay in hammocks and listen to music, admire the stars at night. The most important part of this would be that everybody has to be completely present (mentally), not thinking about what they would have to do tomorrow or the following month.

Subsign: What famous people would you invite to the party and why?

Diana: Actually, I do not think I would invite any. The most famous people in my life are the ones who would already be at the party.

If you know an artist that should be in the spotlight, contact us at

Thank you, Diana, for being a part of our Spotlight!

For more of  Diana‘s work, you can follow her work on the links: Diana on Instagram, Diana on Facebook.


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"Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard."

Guy Kawasaki