For February, we welcome back Romanian illustrator, Iancu Barbărasă. Based in London, Iancu creates art to inform, delight, and inspire. His art this month was inspired by the belief that,”Some of the best things in life happen when we find people we have things in common with, whether they’re work related, or family related. But, in order to achieve that, we have to start looking for the things we agree on, not the ones we disagree on.” Iancu says, “We have much more in common than we think. All we have to do is try to be open and willing to listen.”
For a little more about Iancu, here’s a short Q&A:
Where is home for you?
London, UK has been home for almost ten years now. I find its diversity very inspiring, even in spite of the recent political issues. I was born in Transylvania, Romania though, and it will always remain a special place for me.
What is your definition of a successful life?
Having a helpful, positive impact on people’s lives, starting with family, friends, colleagues and hopefully others as well.
Describe your perfect day.
Wake up, have breakfast, go out cycling for an hour or two, get back, shower, draw for two-three hours, quick lunch, draw or read for another couple of hours, cook dinner and enjoy the evening with my partner.
How did you get into design?
I’ve always liked drawing, but I’m a rational type, so I was considering architecture and design during high school. I chose design because of the wider range of projects – my university had a mixed curriculum, so I studied both product and graphic design, and some interior design as well. After graduating, I started working in advertising but I soon switched to branding, being much more interested in work that would last longer. I’ve been doing this for over fifteen years now. Recently I’ve started expanding into illustration and hand-lettering, thanks to a few of my personal projects that have drawn attention online.
Where do you find inspiration?
Reading a lot and being interested in a wide range of subjects. During a project, it comes first from answering the “why – what – who – how” questions: why are we doing this, what is the product or what are we trying to say, who is it for, and how should it feel. Besides that, I always try to “steal” ideas from seemingly unrelated fields, or from old masters. All work that seems original just has less obvious sources of inspiration. And of course, I follow favourite artists and designers online, but I do my best to keep their influence in check.
What’s your dream design project?
Any project can be exciting if you’re working with great people. I’d love to work more with clients who care deeply about their impact on everyone and the environment. For example, Patagonia or the Certified B Corporation companies. Cycling or outdoors related would be just a bonus.
Which designers or thinkers influence/inspire you?
I greatly admire Christoph Niemann for his intelligence, kindness and versatility; Yvon Chouinard for proving that it is possible to have both a profitable and responsible business; Milton Glaser for explaining the importance of being able to create form, not just to find it; my grandad for teaching me to look at everything with a bit of imagination and a lot of goodwill.
Plus I’m always learning from so many other amazing people, like Paula Scher, Michael Bierut, Katsuji Wakisaka, James Victore, Geoff McFetridge, Jean Jullien, Matt Blease, Austin Kleon, Jason Kottke, Alan Fletcher, Saul Steinberg, Herman Hesse, Tenzin Gyatso, and so on.
What was the inspiration behind this design?
For a while I had been looking at how people often wear clothes with many different patterns, but most of them are just decorative, or based on trivial subjects. So I started thinking about pattern designs that would still look nice to wear, but have deeper meaning, like kindness, togetherness, kinship, affection. One of the simplest but nicest things we do with loved ones is to hold hands. So I started drawing lots of different hands joined up, and eventually settled on a repeat pattern of stripes and two hands gently coming together.
At the moment, what is your favorite…
Color: Red & Yellow (both better together than on their own).
Food: Pain d’épices is a great cake from France, I always stock up when I visit 🙂
Song: Say Something by Jordan Rakei (love his latest album Origin).