Romanian illustrator Andreea Dobrin Dinu shares her typical working day
Andreea Dobrin Dinu is a Romanian illustrator, graphic designer and artist, currently living in Hamburg, Germany. Last year she launched SUMMERKID to refocus her professional practice.
At the beginning of 2016, freshly relocated in the hanseatic city and after some months of adjusting, I opened my own one-woman-graphic studio called Summerkid; a bright illustration focused universe that is constantly evolving through editorial, art direction, branding, artistic projects and whatever the future might bring.
The three turning points in my journey so far are (in this exact order): 1) becoming a self-taught graphic designer whilst in Business School, 2) deciding to quit my comfortable advertising graphic designer job to go to Art School and 3) opening my own studio after getting my Graphic Arts degree. All scary, all thrilling, all crucial.
My manifesto is not a longing for immaturity or nostalgia, is simply about fuelling this inner fire and never letting it die.
I chose the studio name like some people choose tattoos I guess. I wanted to never forget that the main reason I do this is to keep alive the enthusiasm I had in the summer vacations as a kid, waking up super early to go play, draw, invent and build things. In reality we all know how easy it is for this type of drive to get lost in the everyday details: e-mailing, promoting your work, talking to people, deadlines, contracts, taxes, invoices, sheer procrastination or…life. My manifesto is not a longing for immaturity or nostalgia, is simply about fuelling this inner fire and never letting it die.
SUMMERKID studio represented a fresh start for me. Before this I had worked for several years as a more generalistic graphic designer and then went to Art School to study Graphic Arts, drawing to be more specific. It was obvious that after these two experiences there was no way I could continue doing generalistic work and illustration was the perfect vehicle to start working on projects in which my own voice was more visible. Maybe it’s selfish and from a design thinking point of view it could even be considered wrong.
As for a typical working day, well…9 to 5? More like 8 to whenever things are done! I work in my home studio, a cute flat overlooking one of the “secret” inner gardens of Eppendorf, Hamburg. In this first year of starting things out it functioned well that it’s a space where I have a peaceful environment. When I draw I am so into it I can’t even listen to music. As I slide into my second year of the studio’s life it’s ever more clear that I need to actually experience and connect more to my local community. Also, a bigger space where I can actually get my hands dirty is also on my mind.
SUMMERKID started with me erasing all of my previous work; it was a new visual language, vibrant, graphical, playful with a touch of humor.
SUMMERKID started with me erasing all of my previous work and making just 10 drawings. I put them up on my studio’s website and I didn’t know if they were any good (I was not in my most confident phase) or if anybody would be interested in doing anything with them, but for my personal journey it was a new visual language, vibrant, graphical, playful with a touch of humor, incorporating all of my eastern European graphical heritage and I wanted to do more of it. One year and several dozen drawings later, the studio’s body of work is a mix of editorial pieces such as the ones for Süddeutsche Zeitung Familie, Gute Leute Magazine, SUB25, Mask Magazine, some identity projects from which the largest one is Art Safari Bucharest, an yearly art fair in Romania and lots of personal work.
A lot of what I drew in the past year takes its inspiration from my domestic environment and my relationship. I think there is a lot to discover in this micro universe of how we live and love. Humor and self-irony are not just a defence mechanism, but some of the main ingredients I use to expose bits of truth.
Humor and self-irony are not just a defence mechanism, but some of the main ingredients I use to expose bits of truth.
I came to Germany because I fell in love with its graphic tradition while I was studying Illustration and Typography at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, but I don’t think our current lifestyles are so much constructed based on borders and it’s extremely interesting to see the results of these identity cocktails, especially for artists. For me, the SUMMERKID studio coincided with changing countries but also with exploring themes and aesthetics that were radically different to what I had done before, which was more social driven and contextual to the Romanian history. I continue to be equally interested in both directions, I just view them as separate parts of myself that only sometimes intersect, mainly in the preoccupation for books and in the use of a visual discourse that is like a playful dance around serious subjects.
I tried to learn from all of my previous experiences and reached out for advice from other artists I admire such as Gizem Vural, Marylou Faure and Noa Snir. They were all very nice and e-mailed me back with what they’ve learned in the process. However, one of the simplest and most striking advice I actually picked up from browsing Tumblr, I don’t even remember who post it exactly. The advice was: do more of what you would like to do in the future. I know we hear things like these every day but it’s only rarely that they ignite an inner revolution.
Future plans include a self-started publishing project that will, of course be heavily illustrated, enrich my list of editorial illustration pieces and author graphic projects, launching my own line of products which is right now in its conceptual phase and finally, hopefully doing my first mural somewhere. I think I’ll start with a wall in my studio 🙂