September 10, 2017
I grew up in Romania under the communist regime. In communism everything was grey. The buildings were grey, the clothes were mostly dark blue, grey and brown for fear of not getting dirty; newspapers, magazines and school books were black and white, TV programs were black and white. There were no commercials, flyers or advertising and no pretty flowers planted by the sidewalk. This was the city life.
In the countryside it was very different. First of all the lavish greens of nature was everywhere, wildflowers in the fields, people planted beautiful colorful flowers in their front yard, women were sewing the national dress in reds and blues on brilliant white fabric, they were making brightly colored rugs and bed spreads. Country life was colorful and I was lucky to live with my grandparents for 2 years during my parents’ divorce. It must have been during this time that my brain got accustomed with colours because when I moved back to the city with my mother, I remember vividly this unsettling feeling I had about the lack of colour around me. When I was about 12, I saw a book my friend had on Michelangelo. I marveled at the colorful paintings and I wished with every cell in my body that one day I’ll visit the Sistine Chapel. I had seen paintings before. On my father’s side, there were a few painters in the family and so we had paintings in our house. But of course, nothing compared to Michelangelo’s master works that left such an impression on me! I vowed to myself then, hunched over the Michelangelo book, that I will find a way to leave this country and ‘escape in the west’, where there was so much colour.
I didn’t have to ‘escape’, the revolution against the communist regime took place in December 1989, the borders opened and in 1991, as soon as I turned 18 and became legally an adult, I moved to London.
Overwhelmed is probably the best word to describe the feeling I had first time I walked into a supermarket. I was overwhelmed by the abundance of products and by the colours!! The packaging, the advertising, the bright lights! It was amazing. Although I was disappointed later with the tasteless fruits and vegetables (no comparison to the organic produce from my grandparents garden), I quickly learned to add a ton of Ketchup to almost everything.
Now my life is full of colour! I spend a lot of time in my studio surrounded by colour. The pigments I use are vivid and I use textures to make the colours almost palpable. I love it, it makes me sing with joy! (to myself, of course)
Now and again, I find a moment to remember my journey and to give thanks that I live life surrounded by colours. I know there are a lot of people in the world who don’t have this luxury.
Enjoy today and may your day be filled with colour!