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Meet Teodor Dumitrescu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Teodor Dumitrescu.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was born in Romania, before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Despite having a large family, I often escaped reality through my imagination or used it to cope with childhood stresses. I had an imaginary friend until I was around four years old. In grade school, I would draw pictures at the request of classmates and sell or trade them for money or snacks. Everything from superheroes, or jet planes to the occasional “naked lady.” I had great encouragement from teachers and students alike, and that spurred me on to pursue art as a career. I attended the CSSSA at Cal Arts in high school and then went on to pursue a Bachelors in Fine Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I gained gallery representation soon after my thesis exhibition. As an immigrant, my work has always revolved around finding a sense of place both mentally and physically. Memory and escapism run hand in hand, and sometimes our imagination distorts our past experiences in whimsical ways.

Please tell us about your art.
My work is primarily painting and drawing. I use traditional techniques to tie the work to a greater historical narrative. The layering of paint or the movement of a line triggers something innate in how we experience the world, and how we register those experiences can be personal and universal at the same time. I work mostly out of curiosity since my academic background focused a lot on natural history/scientific illustration, and anatomy, I incorporate everything I’ve learned into creating images that rely heavily on observation. I took my desire to visually transcribe something with accurate detail, and translate it into a more narrative form. Postmodern and magic realist art influenced the concepts of memory and beauty in my work, but every now and then it strays into the fantastic, or absurd. Visual elements such as birds, suitcases, or shoes often appear to reference our inherent transient nature, not just physically but mentally. We often fantasize about where we’ve been or where we might go. I enjoy when my work triggers a memory or an experience in the viewer that binds them to the work both emotionally and intellectually. This, I believe, allows them to create a new experience that is centered on the work, but speaks to a broader story that wraps humanity together. We are innately inquisitive creatures. There’s a science that goes well beyond merely observing a painting or drawing. If we look at art with a keen eye, we can deduce the intentions of the elements within the work, and allow our eyes to read a story that has no end.

I love to create art that functions as intimate objects as well and am still learning different ways to convey a message through small sculptures. I’m fascinated with reliquaries and the mystification of objects that are said to contain supernatural energy. Every day, sentimental objects sometimes function as our personal reliquaries and have the ability to conjure memories and affectations that twist and turn our minds in all sorts of directions. I started carving and woodturning recently, and through practice and patience, I’m hoping to incorporate this into my work.

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The mistake I made early on was relying on a single entity to promote and sell my work, and although it worked well for a time, I realized there were a lot of other avenues of success that I completely neglected. The artists that I see thriving are those that have learned to juggle life and work well and have learned which opportunities to embrace and which ones to turn down. Know your limits and don’t make promises you can’t follow through on.

Maintaining a budget in times of financial distress is important, you don’t need expensive material to create great work. Redirecting your time and expenses to creating the work that makes you happy is also a good way to keep your sanity, especially if you have an unsatisfying job that you use to sustain yourself. Every cup of coffee you buy is equal to a paintbrush or a tube of paint. Every television show you watch is equal to an hour in the studio. In essence, focus your attention on what you love and be persistent in getting the work out there.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I exhibit work often with the Dark Art Emporium in Long Beach, the Hive Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles, and have some work in the permanent collection at the Riverside Art Museum. I have representation through Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, IL, where they have a good deal of my older work. Other than the physical spaces, people can view my work online through my website, or through social media.

People can support the work by buying originals, prints, books, and zines. Also, commissions and special projects are always welcome.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

All images courtesy of the artist.

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