Alex Bodea / Berlin

Alex, even though it was a hard year with a lot of restrictions, you managed to change studios in various art residencies, where are you at right now and what are you working on?

I am in an artist’s residence in the North of France, working with school children and local communities. I also try to balance a narrative painting for which I collected scenes and in the meantime I`m working on publishing the English version of my graphic novel The Fact Finder.

How much does your art depend on the location / space you work in?

A lot, because I work somewhat like a reporter, it’s good to change locations frequently, to pick up new things.

What are your sources and topics?

Direct observation. I use a notebook in which I capture “scenes”, but not drawing by nature, I do not mean that, I ”note” the content, writing down stage directions.

Studio in Valencia, Spain

What does "a good theme for an exhibition" mean? How do you decide if a certain idea that is circulating in your mind has the potential to hold an exhibition or to remain just a note in a sketchbook?

There are scenes that draw me more than others, as simple as that. I give those priority.

Nature or culture? From which do you mainly extract your ideas?

98% nature, 2% culture. I can’t stand pretentious works, they`re sour.

Name 3 artists that you like and motivate you.

Käthe Kollwitz, Helena Sofia Schjerfbeck, Winifred Margaret Knights.

How about Ars Poetica, do you own one? What are the values ​​that guide your artistic practice?

No, I don`t. I am absorbed by my characters, they alone guide my work.

Studio in Berlin, Stephanie Neumann credit

What do you think young artists should do at the beginning of their career to be present on the art scene? Or do you find it inappropriate to make your work visible early on, before reaching a certain maturity?

I say it’s good to exhibit from the very beginning, whether you’re ready or not. There is no “ready”, except maybe for explosive success, when an artist has overcome his own standards through a certain professional experience and is finally in his element. But even this “ready” does not come brooding in the dark, it needs exposure, feedback, experience, fine adjustment.

During the training years of an artist, what would you consider to be the best way to relate with the work of the artists he/she admires? How would you not contaminate yourself in that context, or how would you distance yourself from the practice of other artists that seems very seductive?

I am not afraid of contamination, art is a phenomenon that must be lived and developed together. It’s an exchange. I do not make a special effort to distance myself or to absorb everything that moves. If there’s anything I need, it’ll get to me.

Studio in Berlin, Stephanie Neumann credit
Studio in Berlin, Stephanie Neumann credit

Could you identify a teacher, friend or studio neighbor with whom you have developed a creative dialogue and helped you gain new perspectives on things? Regardless of the technical, procedural or conceptual nature of the artwork…

I think that I borrowed energy from all the artists – colleagues, teachers – and learned something. Colleagues are a strong incentive.

Techniques: stolen, learned, applied? Is it important to master them today?

For painting and drawing the ”know-how” is very important, whether you do “bad painting” or renaissance techniques.

Is there an element / symbol / theme that appears recurrently in your works?

I don’t think so, I like to move from one scene / theme to another, I repeat them less often. As a student, I did a “series” with a repeated theme but that’s all.

Studio in Lens, France

How do you cope in uninspired moments?

Setting up the clock. I give myself “so much” time to accomplish a task. If I don’t feel like it or a tooth hurts, I do one part and take a break maybe. I like to work with deadlines, either imposed by others or by myself, it helps me to “get things done.”

How do you think / see the relationship between intention, planning, execution and the final product?

Like a great trip. With wolves in the bushes and life-saving fairies, a story that seems written beforehand for the work unfolds organically as it is already done. And then, it’s meant for either the wall or the trash.

Tell me an essential / turning point in your development as an artist.

It was when I switched from oil colors to a marker with calligraphic ink. It’s like changing a sea fleet on a raft made of a single board. The harsh restraint made me stronger.

What do you think about the local artistic community, what is your relationship with it?

I live in Berlin, everyone is an artist here.

How much has the pandemic changed your daily routine?

It made me realize that I like working from home more than in the studio. It’s all more organic.

Name something indispensable for you in the context of social distancing, what do you miss the most?

People’s faces, complete faces. Swimming.

Do you think this situation will have an impact for artistic creation in the future?

It is possible to change things in a way that favors artists who otherwise would not have had a lot of opportunities. The wheel keeps on spinning.

Ask yourself the question you wanted to answer but didn't get it😊!

How much does your life partner supports your art?
A lot, and I am grateful for that.