Inspirationist exclusive: Interview with Romanian artist Obie Platon

Bucharest based artist Obie Platon was born in Iasi, Romania in 1987 and has studied architecture at “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest. He is the founder of URBANART ROMANIA Association supporting contemporary artists and urban art initiatives, and also of the contemporary art and culture magazine FORMAJE Artfiles. His work has evolved into a thought-provoking, distinct and diverse visual language that currently defines his complex murals, his experimental canvases, as well as the more recent conceptual objects, sculptures and installations. His artworks are inspired by the platonic geometry and philosophy, but also influenced by Romanian culture, social beliefs and popular imagery. The geometric patterns collide, juxtapose or intersect with powerful symbols and subtle meanings that rise from a constant interest in today’s social contexts.

Since he began his artistic activity in 2000, he has developed five different styles and characters, each corresponding to a specific platonic form and element (earth, air, water, fire, and the universe). He is well known for two of these characters, outlined through numerous interventions in the public space: Allan Dalla, the symbol of earth and solid geometry, a mix of kinetic art and surrealism, built out of contrasts, and Pop Prince, the “freestyle” approach, revealing all that is commercial, naïve, aggressive and ironic in the current social structure and human behaviour.

We’ve questioned the artist about what inspires him, his most recent exhibition and the side projects he’s coordinating:

  I think inspiration is somewhere out there for us to pick up in our own vision and leave our creative mark.

INSPIRATIONIST: Where are you from and where do you live now?

Obie Platon: As an individual, I am from Romania, currently based in Bucharest. As an artist however, I manifest myself in all instances of the universe, beyond space and time.

I: What’s your background?

O.P.: My intersections with art go back to the late 90s-early 2000s, evolving naturally with my experience as b-boy and interest in the graffiti culture as means of expressing myself freely and in a different manner, followed by studies in architecture, with focus on technical design and mathematics, geometry and urbanism.

I: How did you fall in love with art and why?

O.P.: I’ve constantly searched for alternatives of what was considered mainstream, common or on the wish lists of others, and art is not only above the daily noise, but it is most of all meaningful, powerful and enlightening, the opposite of what you’re usually served in this lethargic routine.  I believe that sharing meaning with others can have a positive outcome for both the artist and the audience. It creates a dialogue that can make things and thoughts move further.

I: Where do you spend most of your time, and what does a typical day for you entail?

O.P.: I’m in the studio most of the time, among my characters which inspire me to create more.

I: What is your favourite part of your ‘job’?

O.P.: It’s when I see an artwork or a project reaching its final version, like an answer to all the questions I asked myself when I began working.

I: Can you describe an evolution in your work from when you began until today?

O.P.: I think it resembles paths, moments and choices in life – at first, you enjoy your youth and experiment much, then you become responsible, more organised and mature, mix emotion and matter to finally come to wisdom and create something that has a life of its own – is organic and independently stands for what others can believe in.

I believe that sharing meaning with others can have a positive outcome for both the artist and the audience. It creates a dialogue that can make things and thoughts move further.

I: If you had to choose one single artist who has provided a source of inspiration for you personally – who would it be and why?

O.P.: The creator of the universe is my main inspiration. In fact, I think inspiration is somewhere out there for us to pick up in our own vision and leave our creative mark.

I: Which is your favourite work of art?

O.P.: It’s not just one, I always stumble upon new things, art evolves, it is alive. The art that catches my attention has a powerful theme or is linked to a certain period that I am interested in.

I: Which of your works is your personal favourite and why? 

O.P.: The one I’m working on at that moment, because it is unfinished and I do not know yet how it will look and feel in the end.

I: Tell us about your most recent exhibition in Romania, “Humanutopia”.

O.P.: Humanutopia consists of a series of fictional portraits staging a surrealist utopia at the surface, but in essence reflecting contemporary society as a whole. The exhibition highlights the roles we play willingly or obey unaware of our vulnerability in a game based society with addictive rules and well fabricated avatars that often alter our perception of reality.

I: What led you to the founding of URBANART ROMANIA Association and FORMAJE Artfiles magazine?

O.P.: I enjoy bringing people together in creative projects that promote their work, build opportunities and help support the artistic community.

I: How do you unwind?

O.P.: I unwind by giving thoughts a perceptible form and presence for others to challenge, raise questions or simply enjoy.

I: What kind of music are you listening to at the moment?

O.P.: Future jazz.

I: What is your favourite colour?

O.P.: Non-colour.

Info and images courtesy of the artist

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