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Andreea Dobrin. Photo credit: Roxana Tanase

Exclusive: ‘The West doesn’t offer red carpets for artists, but it makes them feel their hard work is rewarded’

Interview with graphic designer and artist Andreea Dobrin Dinu, illustrator of Art Safari 2017.


Born and educated in Romania, Andreea is based in Hamburg, Germany where she owns Summerkid studio, “producing bright works inspired by everyday life, spontaneous sketches and a certain joie de vivre that only a kid knows in summer vacation”, as the artist herself says. She will be the illustrator of the 2017 edition of Art Safari, the largest art fair in Romania.


How the idea of you joining the Art Safari 2017 event has come up? It’s your first teaming up project with Art Safari or was there any previous collaboration as well?


Art Safari for the artists

My history with Art Safari began with the current edition at the beginning of 2017. I’ve been very focused since the summer of 2016 in stirring my newly established Hamburg graphic studio, SUMMERKID, in the direction of illustrative branding and author graphic projects. My background is both in art and applied graphic design. Illustration allows me to have the best of both worlds for commercial projects, to express my voice but still keep clients interested. Art Safari approached me as a consequence of these efforts from the past half year. I was non-existent on the illustrators radar before June 2016 and I am still amazed that so many wonderful opportunities such as Art Safari happen because of a lucid clear cut decision.

What will the collaboration with Art Safari consist in?

Art Safari is a very fluid project, it’s relatively young and informal enough in communication to allow me quite a lot of freedom when it came to this year’s visuals. I began with a series of illustrations that could be used flexibly throughout their promotional channels and materials: print, digital, merchandise and even a bit of animation. Considering it is an art fair, I think this freedom is part of the game and I see it evolving beautifully in the years to come when other graphic minds will shape it with their vision.

Art Safari for the students

Art Safari for the students

You say on your website that “illustrations you’ve created for Art Safari are whimsical and strive to encompass all these diverse aspects of human-art interaction”. How do your target audience look like? You also said the audience is quite diverse….

It’s the first time I had to tackle the visual communication of a project that has such a diverse audience. Art fairs are, in my opinion, the least elitist of all art happenings, the most inclusive: they can be for art collectors, art critics, artists, for the art connoisseurs and for people with a lighter implication but that still enjoy an affordable art piece by an emerging artist hanging above their sofa. Some are there to collect art, some to collect impressions, some want to see, some just want to be seen. It is this diverse fauna I captured in my illustrations. A light humour is always part of my graphic thinking and in the current climate we could use less reasons to frown, not that art shouldn’t be taken seriously, but that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.

Art Safari for the curious explorers

Art Safari for the curious explorers

What would Art Safari mean for the Romanian art consumer, in your view and what would be the message of this year’s edition?

The message and the purpose of Art Safari is the same each year and will hopefully grow stronger in the following ones: Art Conquers Bucharest. This translates in the organisers’ efforts of broadening the very range of art consumers, to educate and to connect as many points as possible on the Romanian art market. This year for example, Art Safari will be a 1-month art phenomena comprised of lectures, exhibitions, workshops, tours, local and international specialists.

Art Safari for the living room collectors

Art Safari for the living room collectors

Let’s talk a little bit about your Summerkid studio in Hamburg. When did you decide to move in Germany? Your decision to be based there had to do only with the financial aspects or a western European country has currently more to offer for an artist at this point, from the professional perspective, I mean?

In my final year at Graphic Arts (2013) I obtained a scholarship to the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig. The experience left a strong impression on my graphic thinking and during that period I found a creative tranquility that I wanted to return to. I cannot exactly pinpoint the factors that led to such a state and I cannot say that I was able to easily reproduce it this second time around when we moved for good in Hamburg at the end of 2015. The decision to make this small independent graphic studio is my aspiration to be able to handle both personal art projects and applied graphic ones for a network of people that has less to do with official borders, with here versus there. I don’t like to think that I left something, but rather that I extended. The western countries don’t offer financial perks when you arrive at the airport or red carpets for artists, but they do have stronger structures in which you feel like your hard work is rewarded. The decision to relocate is always a mix of personal and pragmatic reasons. All I can say is that as long as the conditions for me to peacefully work in my studio exist I am happy and that is my favorite part of this profession.

Art Safari for the selfie addicts

Art Safari for the selfie addicts

What is the future of digital graphic design and what are the consumption trends, in your opinion?  What should we expect from the art in the upcoming years?

I don’t have the statistic mass to draw such conclusions, I don’t rely much on trends and I don’t differentiate between graphic design mediums, because I think all that matters is the final image, the rest is just a means to an end. Social media has liberated and made visible so much creative potential and paradoxically made everything less visible, like a big blob of information that is just too much to consume. I hope that in the following years we find a way to catch our breath, be wiser and more inclusive of what it means to produce art in general.


About Alina Grigoras Butu