Have you ever felt that art just grabbed you? Have you found yourself slowly examining dozens of pictures, paintings and prints? That feeling you will get from looking at Alexandra Serbanescu art. Better known under her IG name @shoegazerx.
The native Romanian artist describe herself as a digital artist and paint enthusiast with a focus on portrait. Her art is very expressive with a lot of bold details. It seems like you are caught in her own movie, with characters that have hell of a story to tell. Influenced by music and film industry, you will find lots of familiar faces in her gallery. But every face you look, its a look through Alexandra's lenses.
I was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania and I live and work here still. It’s probably a country you’d most likely not associate with the art world, even though one of the most expensive and appreciated contemporary artists is Romanian. To some extent, that’s true. I have not met someone else like me so far. Sure, I had my share of talented friends but, at the end of the day, I was alone in climbing up that hill. First of my family as well.
I am mostly self taught so that took a lot of effort and energy out of me. It was difficult trying to express myself in a way that people around me don’t really understand but there is no other way I can do it. I can’t function in any other way. My determination to live my true self is what got me here today.
From your point of view, what’s integral to the work of an artist? And what role does the artist have in society?
I feel that, beyond technique, beyond profound knowledge of light and color and form, the artist themselves should generate emotion. The kind of emotion that is genuine, tangible and can affect the viewer. I am strictly speaking of affects here, what you feel when you look at an artwork and not how you can think about and interpret it. When I instantly connect with an artwork, I go “whoa!” and my heart skips a beat and only after do I zoom in on the details and observe the technique. That’s amazing.
The artist is a sort of an entertainer, one for every sort of audience. I wish more people would see that and be more excited for this type of content and encourage artists to produce more. I wish they would see what great storytellers and magicians artists truly are.
Your portraits look very real like caught in the moment. Tell us a real-life situation that inspired you.
My portraits, and my art in general, are a reflection of myself, an extension and I really mean that. This is no place for anybody else. Whenever I feel down, anxious, desperate, I paint that. Whenever I am optimistic and satisfied, I paint that. I paint myself a lot without painting myself. I’ve confessed so much through my paintings, I wonder if the people in question ever noticed it. This is how I process real life constantly.
How much time does it take to complete a painting? And how do you know when a painting is done?
I used to be rather rash some years ago but I started cultivating patience lately and it pays off. From “oh my God, I HAVE to finish this in 3 hours”, now I can sit and paint and study up to 12 hours in total on a piece. I don’t know that I can go more than that right now. I know that it’s a marathon not a sprint but this is something to work on.
I feel my paintings are done when I look at the character’s expression and the emotion is there. I know this is rather vague but a perfect artwork does not exist, anything can be edited and perfected constantly. Somewhere, it’s got to end. Tell the story you want to tell in that moment and then move on.
Describe to us the difference in emotions you feel when creating digital vs ink art?
When I paint, I think about a lot of technical stuff, what I am seeing in the reference picture, how the light hits the subject and how the colors react. But when I work in ink, I feel free. Frank Miller’s work influenced me a lot so when I do comics, it shows. I only think in shadows. It’s just so liberating, I think it balances the discipline a painting teaches you.
At your IG profile, you have stated that you are a music and horror movie junkie. How much influence do they have on your art? And how do they inspire you?
Music is in everything I do. The lyrics, the melody. The artists that I listen to dictate my art flow. If the music changes while I work and I start to err, I immediately change it back to keep me on track. I have seen this merge of art and music -exactly how I do it, just to stress this out- in James O’Barr’s The Crow. It was a revelation to me. I tear up even when I think about it.
As for horror movies, well, that’s pretty obvious. I like to live out danger in the comfort of my own home and side with the villains or root for the badass main character. It’s fascinating and exciting.
And for the end tell us, what’s your favorite part of being an artist?
It may not be the best approach but I do enjoy the feedback I get. I am happy that I make people feel something and it’s important to me that in that moment, when they connect, they do not feel so lonely anymore. I don’t want anyone to feel what I felt. But since that’s not the way things go, I hope I can be here to create strands and stir emotions and tell everyone I am here and I see them.
While talking with her we felt her deep connection with every piece she makes. Being an artist, living your dreams and living your work. Isn't that the most important part?
The FOURLINEdesign team would like to thank Alexandra Serbanescu for sharing inspiring thoughts with our community.