Name/Age: Liviu Matei, aged 23, looking 32:(
Website: liviumatei.com (I try to update it at least once per month, but it’s harder then it seems. Took me about 2 months to build the damn thing, had to learn HTML and CSS)
Background/Education: Informatics profile high school, Letters Faculty (graduated in Romanian and English Literature and Language specialty), now struggling to complete my masters in Irish Studies.
Moved from home when I was 13 to go to high-school in the city. Raised at the countryside, spent summers reading tons of books. Discovered Internet when i was 15. Had my first computer at 14. Always oscillated between a technical education and a humanist one. I hated Math, so…went with the last one. I am afraid my children won’t know the joy of reading a good book.
Why/How Did you get into design?: I always liked drawing, and I tried to improve, until around the age of 14 when i lost interest. Discovered digital graphics software around 16 and i started playing around, i also remembered i can draw. Continued to do so until around the age of 18, when i got into college and another 3 years hiatus followed. Going through some personal drama I had to find a hobby that fills my time and makes me feel better about myself. Again, i remembered i can draw. Some time after, i discovered you can make money from illustrating/design, and it further motivated me to improve. This year I decided I hate my 9-5 sales job and that I should give it a try at doing art full-time. Turns out..best decision i made lately!
Favorite Project(s) that you have done: All the personal projects, those that I did for personal exploration/training…or because i felt like it. I am lucky to have worked with great people, i only got screwed 2 or three times, so that’s a good percentage. It would be unfair to give hollers only to some of the guys I worked with…each experience was unique, and pleasant in it’s own way.
Influences/Inspirations: Well, when i started drawing again in high school, i went for anime. Tons and tons of DBZ and other stuff like that. So, the works of anime and manga artists such as Toryiama, Togoshi Yoshihiro, Hiroaki Samura, Oh!Great, or Miyura Kentaro – just to name a few, are the ones that inspired me to up my game when it comes to anatomy, facial expressions, shading,etc. Also, the years I’ve spent on deviantArt helped me to meet interesting artists from which i always tried to learn things. Last but not least, emptees.com is like a damn ocean filled with all sorts of artists, from huge sharks to tiny fish…all learning, all trying to constantly improve. If that doesn’t motivate you, nothing will.
How would you describe your Style: Constantly shifting from one thing I consider to look cool, to the other. You could say I’m in a soul search, trying to find my style. The thing I discovered while doing this is that I don’t have to stick to one thing, just do what seems right to me, and in time, certain elements that are recurring will be those that mark my style. It’s not always supposed to be a conscious effort, that’s my take on the matter. I know I’m avoiding the question, but I’m biased. See for yourselves, check my ‘folio.
Is this your full-time gig? For now, yes. And it’s the best job in the world. My next big step is getting to be an English teacher in a school. I love teaching people. I think it’s awesome to influence even one kid into doing the right things and help him learn from your mistakes, so he could have a better life. Also, I like being the center of attention. And I love people remembering me over the years. This doesn’t mean that i will stop designing, just gonna do both of them as part-time jobs, hehe.
One Piece of Advice: One Piece rules. Watch it. Design-wise…practice DOES make perfect. Also, try to have an objective, like..do at least X many artworks/ sketches/ etc. in a week. That helps keeping focused. Also, don’t neglect the ones that you love. Life is sometimes shorter than you would expect. Relationships need two people to work, being an artist is not an excuse.
Favorite Medium: Pencil and paper are my best friends, but i gotta say, digital art is just as close to my heart. After years of working without a tablet…i am amazed on how quick things get when you don’t have to use the pen tool for every freaking line;)
Favorite Website: Tough cookie. Those that allow me to read free scanlations of manga, my big family-meeting-place at emptees.com, cool blogs/zines such as the GO Media one, and last but not least, sites such as IATT, that allow me to have a big look at all that’s new on the scene.
Favorite Band at the Moment: Please, please don’t hate me for this, i am so clueless about music…i don’t even listen to music when i draw, for me it’s sort of like background noise, something to put me to sleep faster (joke). I do love me some occasional bands, but I am not into music, there I said it. I can appreciate each and every genre, if the mood strikes me…but, that’s all there is to it. people hatezz me for this, i am so clueless that they can’t have a normal conversation about some band/ singer with me.
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