Although we never met, Madalina Andronic has been part of my internet corner for ages. I’ve followed her creative development over the years and was more than excited when she launched a line of painted ceramics at the end of last year. Needless to say, I’m very happy to introduce this meet & greet and let her share more details about her work (…and cat):
Kittenhood: How did illustration become your job? Do you remember the first project you were ever paid to work on?
Madalina: At first, illustration was simply an academic alternative. I have a BA in graphic design, but when it came to choosing a masters program, I took the leap towards illustration, since I felt it better fulfilled my desires and dreams. I couldn’t see myself working with type and logos and all that jazz for my entire life, I was more into storytelling and I felt somehow that design wasn’t letting me tell all my tales. So I went and got an MA in Illustration at UAL London, and while being there, I took my chance at shyly freelancing. I made a blog and kept updating it with both my MA project and my personal illustrations and things clicked at a certain point. My first illustration job was creating a couple of illustrated bank card designs for ING Bank, launched on the occasion of the George Enescu Music Festival in Romania. And then everything snowballed.
I didn’t take it as a very big thing for me at the beginning, I was used to working on different things since high school (I worked in a wrought iron workshop, designing gates; for a while, I took commissions in photography for clients’ homes; I painted and sold glass icons and I also danced a while for corporate events). So I didn’t make a big thing out of it, I just kept working and improving my portfolio and eventually, people started to know and like my work. After the MA, I decided to come back home and live off my talent and skill and not get employed :)
K: Your work often features folkloric motifs. Where does your fascination with tradition come from?
M: I guess I was always fascinated with Romanian fairy tales, traditions and old customs. My grandmother used to tell me about her early life in the countryside and she always had new stories and old rituals or sayings. My MA project was also very folky in style and theme – I chose to illustrate a Romanian fairy tale, Zâna Zorilor (Fairy of Dawn) – there were 80 people in our course, from all over the world, and I wanted something representative, something most of them didn’t even know existed. And it worked, it was the most appreciated project in the whole course – I think it was because it actually turned out really nice and because my style was so colorful, detailed and so different from what they were used to seeing, that they decided it must be something very cool.
K: What else inspires you?
M: Love, beautiful places, my cats, my experiences, my dreams.
K: What’s your favorite place in the world, whether for inspiration or otherwise?
M: My favorite place in the world is anywhere my husband is and we can spend time together, whether it’s at home or really far away. Also, I really have a thing with Italy, with its small towns, tiny pebble beaches, winding, narrow streets, cypress trees and wavy fields, where the living is truly easy and the food is so comforting. Portugal comes very, very, very strongly from behind, but I think it’s only because I visited it a bit less than Italy.
K: Let’s talk about one of your latest endeavors, Madalina Andronic Ceramics. What drew you to this medium?
M: I’ve been experimenting with porcelain for a few years, but not in a very consistent manner. I started with jewelry, then tried my hand at tableware and home accessories and people really got to appreciate my work and ask for more. But I also started to really want to present my work in a more professional manner, move away from the ‘I-was-playing-with-mud-in-my-living-room-and-this-happened’ phase. I was always dreaming about the possibility to produce larger volumes of objects and satisfy more customers and give more people the opportunity to see and actually buy things easily. And it finally happened last autumn, after 3 months of super-hard work, photo-shoots, nights of website programming (thank you, Daniel!) and all the little business things. So now, anyone can shop my porcelain tableware!
K: Do you have a favorite piece from the new collection?
M: Like any mother, I like all my babies. But I can say that the most popular products on the website were the platters and the multi-functional cylinder pots – maybe because they are larger products and I got to be very creative with the decoration. Moreover, I introduced a new color – green – and people were very excited, apparently green has a lot of fans!
“Beautiful, creative people are a key to reaching more people so I do my best to support small businesses and positive, hard-working people!”
K: How do you promote your work? Are you more of an online or face-to-face marketer?
M: I mainly promote my work online, through my website, my Facebook page, and my Instagram. I also have an open-studio in Bucharest, where I work daily and where I keep all my work, both illustration and porcelain, so people can make appointments, visit and shop. I try to make seasonal events where the doors are open and anyone can come during a weekend, and I am always happy to meet new people. I think the space helped me tremendously, I could never go back to working from my living room.
Beautiful, creative people are also a key to reaching more people, I do my best to support small business and positive, hard-working people, so you’ll also find my work in a few select spots and collaborations.
K: Any work-in-progress you can tell us about? Maybe a little teaser for our readers?
M: A book hopefully published in February and a new business direction, where my illustrations get to add a beautiful touch to people’s lives and important moments.
K: On Kittenhood, we’re all about that handmade lifestyle. Do you often include handmade pieces in your home and wardrobe? Any favorites?
M: I really love knits and I have some old favorites knitted by my grandmother for my mom, who then passed them to me. I also love-love-love good quality handmade soaps and cosmetics, I think it’s very important what we feed our skin, and my mom’s fizzy bath bombs and massage oils are super nice, I’m rooting for her to start a small business! Go mom!!
K: Finally, please give us the scoop on your gorgeous gray cat! Vasile, is it? Just asking for a friend.
M: Vasile is the newest addition, I used to have a calico cat named Zen, but she now lives with my mom (because it was sort of her cat from the beginning, I just hijacked her:) Me and my husband really wanted a cat of our own, a sort of wedding present for ourselves, and after my experience with Zen, who was a crazy, jerky female cat, we wanted to try a male. His name was a funny choice though, we wanted a strong, Romanian name for the cat, yet somehow the traditional Pufi or Mishu didn’t make the cut. Vasile’s favorite activity is watching the water spin in the toilet, he plays fetch and crawls up on our faces at night, after he deposits all his felt-mice on our pillow. He is a (close relative of) a Russian Blue, but he is truly Romanian at heart: he likes garlic.