Tell us more about you! Where are you from and where are you now?
I'm originally from Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe. I immigrated with my parents back in 2002 and have lived in many states before landing in Dallas, Texas!
What did you do before becoming a full-time artist?
I was always drawn to art and creative things but took a bit of a detour before I realized it was my life's calling. I studied marketing and business in college and even went to get my MBA when I didn't know what to do with my life. I didn't know much about art as a career and that illustration is a thing that you could get paid for, so it took me a bit of time to get back to my creative self. I worked for many years in the corporate and then agency worlds before deciding to give art (and entrepreneurship) a try.
How has your life influenced your work? What does your art mean to you?
Art to me is how I express myself. It allows me to celebrate the different foods that I find myself falling in love for. I am one of those people who goes to the grocery store to cheer up, if I'm feeling down for some reason. I find inspiration anywhere I go because it almost always involves food in some (even out in nature, I love to see wild berries and mushrooms!).
Why are you drawn (pun intended!) to food and snacks?
I'm drawn to food and snacks because I have a very strong and emotional connection to food. Growing up in Moldova, I'd go visit my grandma in the summer. She had a beautiful garden with all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies ready to be harvested. Helping her out with picking strawberries, red and black currants, cherries and others, left such a deep imprint in my mind and soul. It took me a very long time to make that connection, but ultimately, that is how my food and snack-loving journey was born.
Where do you find inspiration? Who are your influences?
I find inspiration in nature and delicious foods. I'm also very much inspired by different cultures and I think that food is one of the best ways to truly experience that. Nature, on the other hand, often reminds me to enjoy each season and have patience; we must first plant seeds and wait and then enjoy the harvest.
How do fuel your creativity? And what keeps you motivated?
I fuel my creativity by experiencing various types of art: fine art, movies, music, and of course culinary art. I love trying new things and seeing how I can apply new knowledge to my art practice. A few years ago I decided to join the Birdtober challenge (where people paint a bird each day in October). Because I knew that the only way I'd get through this challenge was if there was food involved, I decided to combine the two and the Birds on Snacks series was born. My favorite part is seeing people chuckle at the unique combinations of birds on snacks, like Penguin on a Pavlova, a Cardinal on a Cupcake, a Flamingo on a Flan.
What inspired you to publish your book?
My publisher, Rocky Nook, reached out to me after they found one of my classes on Skillshare. I was thrilled at their proposal and of course, happily agreed to write an instructional book on how to paint foods with watercolors. It quickly became one of the most rewarding projects of my art career, and I am so grateful for the support the book has gotten since it came out.
What are you looking forward to in 2022?
I'm looking forward to more travels and trying more tasty snacks! Every season seems to bring a new introduction to a food for me, and I like to go really deep into the interest and study and paint the subject. This past year that happened with peppers and the result of that became a design for a tea towel, which also became a best seller with my community.
What is your favorite snack? :)
My current favorite snack is a Kodiak toaster waffle with peanut butter and slices of pear.