When something is inspiring it cannot be unseen- it gets imprinted on my mind and ends up on paper

Ana Caizerliu
From Constanta, Romania
4 years in Hamburg

Hi Ana! You’re a long way from the sunny Black Sea. Do you feel at home in Hamburg?
Yes, I call Hamburg my home now, although a few years ago when I first came here, the weather put me through quite an adaptation process. But hey, growing up by the water definitely makes me appreciate the Elbe, the streams and the canals that flow through this green city. Not to mention the parks and the architecture! One can never get bored of taking long walks and discovering beautiful hidden streets, hundreds of bridges and romantic views.

How do you come up with the characters that you draw? Do you recognize yourself in them?
I have this habit of looking around and observing all kinds of situations and real life characters. Sometimes I stare without even realizing and my boyfriend often snaps me out of it: You’re staring again! When something’s inspiring, it cannot be unseen: it gets imprinted on my mind and often ends up on paper. They’re not all quirky and funny — I also love expressing beauty, feelings, dreams. You know, all the human stuff we’re made of.

I rarely feel a “connection” between myself and my art. It often happens that, after seeing a drawing or a painting, friends say: Ana, this is SO YOU! I don’t always get it. There’s this general truth that art is a form of self-therapy and that artists perceive themselves as mediums through which information gets filtered. I do have deep routes in my homeland. When I start missing it, I include Romanian folk patterns and nostalgic shapes into my illustrations — that work does have deliberate, personal meaning.

When did you decide to become a freelance illustrator? How has that affected your life, your happiness, and your creativity?
I had been working as an art director for many years in various ad agencies with only few hours a day left for drawing and painting. Last year I took the decision to go full-time with my passion and quit corporate life. I had started taking freelance jobs already two years prior, so the transition was not abrupt. A bit scary at the beginning, though. Now it’s like having two full-time jobs again, because it’s not like I sit at the drawing board all day and do my thing. I also have to promote what I do and find work — not always an easy task. But I’m definitely a happier Ana and it feels like it was the right decision. It felt like I would have done this sooner or later anyway, so why not now?

Bonus! If you had unlimited time and resources, what kind of story would you draw?
What kind of sorcery are you talking about?! First I would learn how to make animation movies. It’s something I longed for since I was a child. I don’t have a certain story in mind, but the direction would be something like those fantastic Miyazaki animations. And of course, I would do this while living in a wonderful cabin somewhere on a top of a mountain or on a remote tropical island.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at Ana’s dreamy illustrations on her website or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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