Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Leyla Munteanu (WSU)

Stitches, 2008
Untitled, 2008

Acrylic on canvas

My name is Leyla Munteanu. I’m from Canada. I moved to Canada ten years ago from Romania. My work is today more based on painting, and I’m using the materials as they are. I’m inspired by everything around me. Let’s say I found a piece of wood, the shape is pretty interesting, and I’m just using it in my work. Or I found a color, it’s suited for something and I’m grabbing it and just using it as it is. Now I’m working with different materials like aluminum foil, rope, newspaper, pieces of garbage, everything I can find that is interesting and I can put it on.

I have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. I was an engineer before. As a child, my father taught me then that girls should know how to paint and to sing, have some knowledge in music and painting. And not too much as in other areas as engineering and building things, because that’s a “man” area. So I started drawing and I went to school in Romania for three years and I majored in sculpture. At the same time I was in civil engineering. I worked as an engineer for six years and got bored of doing things that my father had right – they were not made for me.

I had some problems there, and the revolution came, and the changes after the revolution were not the changes I was expecting that the country would have, and I decided to move to Canada. I came in Canada very disappointed, I didn’t know which way I should go. Start with engineering again or go back to art. After three years, I decided, “you know what, I am thirty-five years old, let’s do art. Engineering is not the thing for me.” I registered for university, I got in, I was pretty happy with the change that school helped me to do. In my country I was used to the sculptures, and they were copies of the Greek sculptures. They were more idealistic work. I don’t know how much of it was real, it looks real to you, but it was just the ideal of the human body. Coming to Canada, everything changed. From those illustrative works that I was doing by myself, just trying to recreate in painting what I saw in sculpture, I changed to something that was totally different that was more enjoyable. “You don’t have to represent the human body, why should you represent that?” You can represent what the human did. If he touched something, he made something from it. And that’s very important for our evolution. Then every object that is used has its own importance. For me it’s like a little jewel. Then if I represent it or not, or it’s just the idea of that object down there on my painting, it’s recording the time. But in my own way. Even this painting that you see here, for you maybe they meant something else than they meant to me.

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