He recently left for France with the idea of stepping out of his comfort zone and surpassing himself, and soon he will exhibit three works at Art Capital Paris/Grand Palais Éphémère. We talked to the Moldovan painter Sergiu Ciochină about his career as an artist, his creations, the possibility of making a decent living from art, the transition from one artistic environment to another, and last but not least, the differences between the artistic community in Moldova and that in France. So, in the following, I suggest you discover his story, personality, and artworks.

Sergiu told us that there was no specific moment in his life that inspired him to become a painter and that he never made a conscious decision to become an artist. “This subconscious process has accompanied me throughout my life. I have always perceived ordinary things in a different way; art attracted me, and the beauty of this world impressed me. I have always discovered signs and meanings in everyday life. I believe this is due to a series of decisions made from childhood to the present.

Once he began his studies at the Republican College of Fine Arts “Alexandru Plămădeală” in Chișinău, his vision and abilities took a sudden turn. Guided by his teacher, a mentor and a wonderful artist, Veaceslav Fisticanu, painting became a part of the young man. The advice, secrets revealed, and guidance of the mentor transformed painting into a way of life for him.

The themes addressed by Sergiu in his artistic creation are childhood, brotherhood, interpersonal dialogues, dream, self, love, and betrayal.

Regardless of what a person creates, whether it’s a chair, a sled, an installation, a role in a play, or a painting, all reflect a very large part of his interior indirectly. Every creation expresses the essence of the creator. Through these manifestations, the artist transposes emotions and thoughts, indirectly revealing significant parts of their own inner worlds. Thus, each creation becomes a window into the subjective universe of the creator,” added the painter.

When he began to stylize figures and characters in his art, he was inspired by several modernist artists, such as Marc Chagall, Egon Schiele, Francis Bacon, Amedeo Modigliani, and Henri Matisse. Regarding contemporary artists who inspire him, the young man told us that his list includes several painters from the West, including George Roy, Tracey Emin, and Lenz Geerk. At the same time, he admires the style and work process of Moldovan painters Veaceslav Fisticanu, Iurie Platon, and Iurie Lupu.

In general, Sergiu stated that, for him, almost everything around him represents a continuous source of inspiration: music, books, movies, travels (especially the Normandy coastline), people with their stories and characteristics, nature: “I can read a book or listen to a song, and suddenly, my subconscious latches onto a certain phrase that becomes the skeleton of an idea, then fills with meanings and images.”

However, the young man’s works are based not only on what inspires him but also on childhood, preadolescence, and his first love.

Sergiu Ciochina
Sergiu Ciochina

At the moment, I find myself very much in the style of neo-primitivism and naivety. What I’ve been creating for the past few years defines this. I feel that the somewhat nonconformist, childish, slightly awkward approach to everyday motifs, expressions, and characters sheds a different light or state on issues or truths that are less accepted by us,” mentioned Sergiu.

 

Furthermore, over time, the young man has understood that this style allows him to “touch” souls, as his paintings not only tell about him but also capture the viewer in a powerful way. “It’s amazing when people notice and appreciate the deep layers of meanings. But most significant is when I’m told something I myself didn’t anticipate, something I invested at an intuitive level, and someone noticed and articulated it.”


By the way, one of the works that holds special significance for Sergiu is “Frăția” (Brotherhood), created in 2020.

A painting of a man and a woman sitting on a couch, depicted with intricate brushstrokes and vibrant colors.

Behind the Scenes of the Creative Process

Sergiu told us that his creative process sometimes begins with the “birth” of an idea within, followed by a quick sketching, outlining multiple characters, stylizing figures, and objects. However, the young man also experiences periods of contemplation, just seeking ideas for several months. This allows him never to become disoriented in his creation.

“Sometimes, however, I can spontaneously migrate to a large canvas format, painting everything without any preconceived strategy. This phenomenon usually occurs when a fresh idea haunts my mind and impatience overwhelms me in the desire to see it realized on canvas,” added the painter.

Regarding the challenges the young man faces when working on a new painting, the first and most complex is self-criticism. “I am very critical of myself when it comes to progressing or advancing to another level. I always aim for each new work to surpass the previous one in quality.”

Additionally, according to him, tense moments can arise when fatigue accumulates, the difficulty lying in knowing when to stop. However, often Sergiu chooses to pause a work that creates obstacles for him, to return to it later with a fresh mind or a new perspective on it.

Considering that the young man has been living in France for six months, we asked him what were the main reasons that led him to continue his artistic career there? He told us that he wanted to step out of his comfort zone and challenge himself.

Sergiu Ciochina
Sergiu Ciochina

In Moldova, he had a peaceful life, but at a certain point, he wanted more from himself, so he decided to make a radical change, to start everything from scratch. “France offers talent visas to artists who want to live and create there. Convinced of my abilities, I spent several months compiling an impressive portfolio with which I applied for this new opportunity, seeing in it ample space for growth and advancement, which proved to be a reality.”

Can a painter make a living from art?

According to the young man, for a good period, a portion of the art he creates has become a stable source of income, as well as a process that occupies a lot of his time. Here, he referred to the landscapes he creates alongside his figurative art.


“With an Instagram account with over 200,000 followers and sales worldwide, I sustain my livelihood and have the opportunity to create figurative art at a professional level. This entails very expensive oils, canvas, stretchers, and a large space, as my works usually have imposing dimensions. I aim to create even larger works for performance purposes, but this, in turn, entails very high prices, not only in the creation period but also in the commitment to preserve and transport them.

Notable artistic events he has participated in as an artist

In Moldova, Sergiu participated in the “We – Youth Creators” exhibition-contest in 2019, 2021, and 2023, where he received an honorable mention and two major awards. According to him, this event was “notable” because it represented a way of exposure. Other experiences of the painter in his home country include several group exhibitions at Artcor in 2021 and participation in “Bazzart,” in the “ȚOL” space, organized by a few young artists. Also, before his departure to France, he was invited to exhibit a self-portrait at Cartego Bookstore.

 

“I can only include Moldovan events here because we don’t have many that can be classified as ‘notable,’ which, in my opinion, implies international visibility and participation, significant remuneration, some measurable and noble results and purposes. But things are changing for the better, and I am sure that, in the near future, we will be able to boast of notable events made in Moldova.

In 2023, three works by Sergiu were exhibited in Florence, Italy, and in 2022, the painter participated in two group exhibitions in South Korea. In the UK, he also attended two exhibitions – in 2021 and 2023.

 

“In France, I will exhibit three paintings at Art Capital Paris/Grand Palais Éphémère from February 14-18, then in March, I will participate in a fair in Milan, Italy. I have an upcoming event in Madrid, Spain, but I am also in the process of waiting/applying for other events. At the same time, I am planning a solo show in the near future, so there will be an update.”

Differences between the artistic environment in France and that in the Republic of Moldova

In France, from the first few months after settling, the French Artists Union and the Independent Artists Union accepted Sergiu into their community, and already in February, he will exhibit three works at the Art Capital Salon. At the same time, the young man became a resident artist at another artists’ association, Cobalt Ateliers, which provided him with space for his first studio in France. These experiences have allowed him to “immerse” himself in a community of dedicated artists.

“Associations with 20 resident artists or with 300 resident artists, with spaces covering an entire neighborhood and with cultural diversity, are open to artists like me, and that makes a big difference from the atmosphere in Moldova. In Moldova, we don’t have any instrument or organ that wants to find out what artists do, what motivates them, what affects them, and what ideas concern them. For example, how to exhibit abroad, if you can earn from your creation and how much, and generally what to do and where to go if you have talent.”

Moreover, in France, society actively appreciates and consumes art due to the favorable environment in which they live and the encouraging social situation. Thus, being there, the young man is contacted by many followers or admirers, including French people or people who just visit Paris, with the desire to visit his studio: “This interest was never felt in Moldova from completely strangers, either I was not visible, or there was simply no interest.”

Sergiu Ciochina
Sergiu Ciochina

Challenges he encountered in adapting to the new artistic community and life in a foreign country.

France is a country where you don’t feel like a stranger. I think that’s the best condition for me, although there are small exceptions, like responding in English instead of French sometimes, but I believe I will lean more towards learning French in the future.

I am an extremely introverted person, and interacting with others can sometimes exhaust me.

Referring to the artists’ union I joined, I can say that I find it quite difficult to interact. Perhaps it’s because I attach great importance to my personal space, especially in the studio, and my work ethic, or maybe I should assert myself more in these situations,” Sergiu mentioned.

Since being in France, architecture has become an intense source of inspiration for him. Thus, it constitutes a central element in his new series of paintings initiated in Paris.

“I have explored territories like the cliffs of Normandy, wandered through Monet’s Japanese gardens and bridges painted in Giverny, and gathered thoughts on Van Gogh’s fields in Auvers-sur-Oise. Moreover, visiting museums has played a major role in my personal development. Paris has offered me the opportunity to visit most museums or local galleries almost for free, while the time spent in Moldova was mainly confined to painting and spending time in the studio.”

Additionally, the young man mentioned that since living in France, he has begun to diversify his activities and value the time spent socializing, meeting completely new people, visiting museums: “I have learned to assert myself and step out of my comfort zone.”

Regarding plans related to his artistic career, Sergiu highlighted that currently, his primary plan for the next period is preparing for his debut, of which he would like to be truly proud.

Tips for young artists starting to pursue their passion for painting.

Lately, I’ve started to limit myself in giving advice because every person and the circumstances they are in are so different and diverse.

Something that has worked very well for me is to work daily, to paint, to draw regularly. Consistency is the key to continuous development and improvement. Also, visiting museums and art galleries is, in my opinion, an important aspect in ‘growing’ the artist within me.

The painter recommends young artists who wish to change the artistic environment to:

  • Study at least one foreign language, ideally English;
  • Explore and make use of all opportunities for scholarships and residencies abroad, and certainly those in Moldova;
  • Utilize social networks as a promotional tool;
  • Not give up until they achieve what they want and believe they deserve.

Sergiu Ciochina

The painter recommends young artists who wish to change the artistic environment to:

In conclusion, Sergiu mentioned that, according to him, the role of a painter is to reflect social realities with a depth that goes beyond aesthetic surface. Thus, his contribution can become not only the exploration of the new but also a catalyst for the transformation of society.


If you would like to get a closer look at Sergiu Ciochină’s creations, here is his Instagram page and site: www.artserge.com

Article made by diez.md, to whom I thank for it. It is translated and republished in English.

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