Arthive profile: artist Alexander Gisa-Ciobanu
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Originally published at arthive.com.
Who is he? The artist was born in Dubossary, Transnistria. He lives and works in Venice (Italy).
Alexander Ciobanu (Alexander Gisa-Ciobanu is his nickname) was born in 1988. When he was 4 years old, his family left for Cahul, a city in southern Moldova, due to the war conflict. Alexander graduated from a Children’s Art School there and obtained his secondary education in IT field.
Director of the Art School, where Alexander had studied, offered him to teach. He decided not to drop painting but to continue his studying. Last year Alexander Ciobanu graduated from Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia (The Academy of Fine Arts of Venice) with a major in painting/restoration.
Alexander collaborates with an atelier that produces Venetian masks and historical costumes. He creates stage scenery for Casanova Grand Ball, a part of the masked ball in Venice. He also participated in a reconstruction of the Wall Drawing # 343A,B,C,D,E,F by Sol LeWitt for the four exhibitions in Italian cities.
Why him? His sunny still lifes and surrealistic works depicting Venice as the main character have fascinated us.
1. Describe your artwork in three words.
Contrast. Humour. Allegory.
2. What’s your favourite colour?
Turquoise. It’s the hue of Venice channels in a summer/autumn period.
3. What’s your favorite subject matter in drawing/painting?
I like to paint unexpected things in a non-standard way, to play with colors, textures and objects. I love to compose stories where a viewer plays a crucial role: it is an onlooker, who finally think up the whole picture for himself/herself. Basically, there are enough details in my work that allow each time to open something new.
4. What do you like to paint/draw most of all?
I don’t like to paint tragic motifs. I will, nonetheless, if only I see the story off the beaten track. I don’t like straight lines as well. I think there is no concept of “straight line” in nature. That is why Venice is my city, all is crooked here.
5. How much time does it take for you to create one painting?
I am a hard worker. I like to start a few paintings at the same time and work on them simultaneously, so it’s difficult to calculate how much time I spend on one particular painting. Perhaps, it’s a month or three. The meaning of “creation” includes preparation period as well. It takes plenty of time to collect material, to make a composition, and to sketch.
6. Who is your favorite artist?
The period of the favorite artists has passed for me. Now it gives turn to historical figures that may affect or may not affect my artwork. Job at atelier and training in restoration paid off. I’ve always been curious how the old masters worked. Having got some knowledge and skills in analysis, now it became clear for me. Back in the old times, at the beginning of my way, my work has been influenced by Repin, Aivazovsky, Kramskoy, Mucha, Bouguereau, Alma Tadema, Caravaggio, Titian, Rembrandt.
7. Your favorite painting (by another artist).
Nymphes and Satyr by William Adolphe Bouguereau. It’s the most successful painting by this artist. In spite of its large size and its loading with details, it looks very airy. Many of his works have the same characteristics. However, the emotional side of this canvas levels it one step higher: it is in the way the light is set, the move is given, the figures are set, the flirtation is depicted. As a connoisseur of feminine beauty, I admire the way the artist conveys the beauty of female body.
8. Your favorite canvas painted by yourself.
It’s my first canvas painted in oil, the Bronze Horseman. I created it on a sackcloth from a postcard from Leningrad.
9. Whose artwork by famous artists you don’t understand, don’t accept or even don’t like?
It’s difficult to give a definite name. I might not like a certain art trend, but there are always several artists who happen to create something interesting and original. Art stays on subjective perception. When I entered the Academy, I had quite radical views on contemporary art and was an ardent supporter of the classical school.
During years of my studying, I have learned to look beyond, to analyze, to accept and perceive contemporary art. Though, when a person puts paint into her body, well, you know where, and then paints with it, that’s hard for me to understand.
10. If you weren’t an artist, whom you would become?
I would be anybody. In my 1st grade, I wanted to become a mathematician. Later, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, a dental technician, a director of a factory. I also wanted to be an animator, and, to be honest, I dream so far, but it relates to creativity. I am not 30 yet, so all is ahead, and painting can peacefully coexist with any other, totally uncreative or creative profession.
11. What would be the name of your autobiography?
I have not thought about it, but you prompt me and I’ll think. Maybe, hmmm … “Back to the Future.”
12. What and how much you need for happiness?
One of my teachers once said that it does not matter what you use to paint or work, it is important how you use and what you have at your disposal. Put simply, the happiness is in simple things, in present moment, in quality, but certainly not in quantity. The ability to appreciate simple things is the skill to be happy.
13. What is your heaven on earth?
A private island. My own. Only mine and nobody’s else. I highly appreciate privacy, it is the necessity for a qualitative work. Currently, my island is my studio.
14. What do you always feel sorry to spend money on?
On losing time.
15. What do you always feel sorry to lose time on?
On useless things.
16. When and why did you laugh recently?
I frequently laugh, do it in plenty and with taste. My cat, Tusya is the permanent source of my good mood. It’s very charismatic and active.
17. What exhibition have you visited recently?
“Around Klimt. Judith, Heroism and Seduction.”
18. What book is currently on your bedside table (or in an electronic book reader)?
I’m not a big fan of a fiction, mostly I read the professional literature, educational and informative, specialized. The last book was about the artificial marble.
19. Tee or coffee?
Strong black tea.
20. Your recipe for a perfect weekend.
A typical day of a cat. There is nothing to add.
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