About cartooning and caricature with Bogdan Covaciu
Caricature is an old and well-known art often used in the international press and literature. Just think of the existence and success of Charlie Hebdo (Paris) and the scandal it created and you will quickly understand that it is both trendy and controversial. But what about cartooning and caricature in Romania ? Is it really well-known and appreciated as a form of art?
Bogdan Covaciu, a young Romanian cartoonist, optimistic about his career, has kindly accepted to answer our questions and drafts a poignant caricature of Romania in a few words.
What’s life like for a cartoonist in Romania?
Bogdan Covaciu: I don’t have an arty life. People who want to become successful in this field have to constantly train themselves and experiment new things and techniques. I don’t always manage to do so. On the other hand, I know many artists who do live artistic workshops & activities… But I have a sort of stage fright…
The pluses and minuses of being a cartoonist in Romania?
Bogdan Covaciu: Probably those who have graduated from an artistic high school or college would be more objective than I am answering this question. For me, there is only one advantage: I do what I love.
Currently, as for any artistic activity, there are many disadvantages unfortunately. Sometimes there are several huge waves of orders and it’s impossible for me to say ‘yes’ to everything. But other times, on the contrary, I have no work at all. Very often people send me pictures in a very low resolution. They send me group photos or with bad light and I cannot study the details, the character’s attitudes and personality are not visible, I cannot clearly see the person’s features… Some clients forget to pay the bill. Others send long emails explaining the problems they have encountered at the bank when sending me the check… It even happens that I have to say ‘no’ to an order because people ask for a caricature for the next day (both the digital and the printed version).
Do you see it as a passion or a job, a profession?
Bogdan Covaciu: My passion for caricature and cartoons has started when I was 11yo. But, unfortunately, for many years, I have refused to accept my call and embrace it. Probably because I had failed the admission examination to the Art University in Cluj in ’93-’95. But in 2010, I started all over from scratch, working and studying long-hours and fighting against my frustrations.
Since ’94 and until today, I have changed many jobs. I was a jeweler, I worked in PR, I was a constructor, a web designer, a technician in the dairy industry, I had an experience in the furniture industry and I also worked as an IT manager (safe data and networks). Although I did my best in each field and I tried hard to fit in, something was missing. It was never enough neither for me nor for my employers. So, as all Romanians do, I moved forward, switched jobs and developed new skills without however being able to take pride in my past work experience.
The thing that echoed the most and kept following me was my passion for caricatures. I became more confident about it after winning some international prizes. And when people started becoming somewhat familiar with my style. Since I don’t like predicting the future, I will say, cautiously, that drawing and cartooning are a passion for me.
What sort of caricatures do you draw and for what target?
Bogdan Covaciu: Digital caricatures for whomever wants them 🙂 . And, in addition to the digital file, I can print them on a canvas as well.
Who buys caricatures in Romania nowadays?
Bogdan Covaciu: Mainly people who want to offer unique gifts to friends or to their superiors for instance.
What message do your works highlight?
Bogdan Covaciu: I don’t pretend to communicate philosophical ideas and I don’t believe they necessarily have a moral conclusion…
How is cartooning seen in Romania?
Bogdan Covaciu: Here are some quotes from real people. I will let you draw your own conclusions 🙂
“So, you do cartoons because you can’t draw portraits ?”
“Could you draw my caricature?”, followed by “When you have some time, please do my caricature as well !” – I’ve heard this one at least a thousand times …
“We want a caricature, but don’t exaggerate!”
“If it’s just a draft, could you do it fro free ?”
“Could you share with me the program that does your caricatures?”
What evolutions in the future?
Bogdan Covaciu: We live in a period more and more driven by new technologies. An era with both extremely talented visual artists and skilled computer engineers who create digital platforms, mobile friendly, enabling people to transform a picture into whatever type of art they want by simply pressing on a button. I know many artists who still favor traditional forms of art. And who continue to have loyal and long-term clients, able to appreciate the unique and artistic value or their creations. There is definitely a future for this type of artists.
When it comes to digital art and digital artists, many people have the impression that everything is made on the computer. That the digital application does all the work and modifies the original drawing / picture by simply pressing a button.
On the other hand, any type of artistic content – created with the use of digital technologies or made in the traditional manner – needs the vision and the touch of its creator.
It is very difficult for me to foresee future trends and identify what people will prefer: use a mobile app in order to modify their pictures or opt for an a professional sketcher / painter / cartoonist.
If you had to draw the caricature of Romania, what would it be?
Bogdan Covaciu: I think of a toothpick… I will let you guess why !
If Romania were an animal, what would it be?
Bogdan Covaciu: A stray dog with no teeth on one side of its mouth. After many years of abuse, fear and living under chains, when released, and after having found a certain form of freedom, it does not accept any other master (even a good one). That is why many Romanians are doing “well” and regret the chains period. Some take advantage of the situation and pretend to be skilled vets, which they are absolutely not. Many leave the country to avoid rabies, while others become emotionally involved and try to save the “dog”. However, it is still unclear who wants to kill it…
If Romania were a musical style, what would it be and why?
Bogdan Covaciu: Gipsy songs (“manele”): I don’t listen to them, I don’t like to talk about them … That is exactly the reason why !
A farewell word?
Bogdan Covaciu: I have never liked good-byes. But I always like to hope that we will happily see each other some other time in the future !
You can discover his works on the websote bogdancovaciu.ro.