Florin Stefan is a Romanian painter. He lives in Cluj – Napoca, a city northheastern part of Romania. Cluj is a culturel hub in Romania and many artists emerged from here. He studied at the art high school and then graduated from universities’ Fine Arts Department in 1993. For masters, he went to University of Sorbonne 3 in Paris.
Mr. Stefan paints scenes, portraits, nudes, and landscapes. Feminine figures are abundant in his work. The women play an important role in his pictures and his subjects are expressed through color, light and material. His works have been exhibited in many different countries throughout Europe and they have been kept in high regard by outstanding galleries.
Nowadays, Stefan resides in Cluj and his works are exhibited in galleries throughout Europe. He is currently a professor at Arta şi Design din Cluj-Napoca University, a position he held for many years.
At Florin’s Atelier
In all his paintings, we see the painter witnessing a certain moment, not as an omnipotent all seeing eye, but as another character sneak-peeking at the scene. Therefore, the people who are looking at the photos also feel involved in the painting as voyeurs. He is using a doorknob, a wall, a bed or chair to pinpoint the location of the viewer and to instill the sense of depth in the audience
He is shifting the focus of the audience using the blurs and realism. His paintings are extraordinary expressions of the momentary encounters in life which we do not think about at that time.
He states that the loss of his father and the subsequent feeling of loneliness that his mother has suffered from this loss has greatly affected his paintings. In his mothers’ painting that he is working on, he interpreted the positions of her hands and face as desperate.
When he is looking for inspiration in his daily life of travelling or working he always takes photographs of this encounters in the world and then he works on them. He uses the shiny objects regularly, either a doorknob or the flash of a camera using the shift from vivid colors to faded colors.
Florin Ştefan says that music takes a very important role in his daily life as a source of inspiration, thus we had a great time during the interview while listening to some of his favorite songs.
He described one of the most well known paintings above as a capture of a moment of self, confrontation, we are not sure if she is screaming, choking, vomiting, or is she surprised, scared, it is up to audience’s interpretation.
In this painting, Florin focused on the desperation in the looks of his late father and the feeling of loneliness he expresses. He told that he drove this painting three years ago and that his father passed away in March 2016. There is a barely visible woman figure at the bottom right side of the painting and although his father is looking at the lady, we can understand that there is no purpose of communication in this gaze. He underlined that his father and the table tell two different stories in the painting where the table and the background conveys the message of the life and the situation in Romania.
He is working on a painting of her mother nowadays and and it focuses on the mood of his mother during the process of moving into a new house.
He is working on another painting which takes its name from the movie Blow Up of Michelangelo Antonioni. The scene focuses on the details that are hard to see yet lies hidden in front of our eyes. We find more and more details when we focus in different sections of the paintings. But another point which the painting focuses is that sometimes we lose the context when we focus on the details.
The unfinished piece that depicts the stairway in front of Grand Palais in Paris successfully shows how the most striking detail can disguise itself between many other focal points.
In this painting Mr. Ştefan is taking the child away from the traditional family concept and treats it as an independent subject of the painting while also arguing on the subject of immigration, economy and the Romanian family life.
This painting is told from the perspective of a woman who takes pictures and the painter who catches the flash light of the second. The chair on the right of the photo highlights the existence of a painter there. The flash expresses that it represents a momentary action and second expression like being in love as it means instant crush in the French language.
Florin said "In the city, when we see the horse as a pet animal in the stall, people see themselves superior over the horse, whereas when we encounter the horse with its nature, we can feel its power, its supremacy." Therefore, this painting forces the audience to imagine themselves with the horse in its natural environment where there is no man-made hierarchical construction, just two creations of the nature one against another.
This painting depicts the grief after the death of a friend. The main subject of it is Florins friend who passed away recently and he is depicted like a chemist in the living room behind a table full of bottles and other things where he is working on something. Florin said that he painted the table which should normally be the center of attention blurry because he wanted to take the attention to other parts of the painting, and for this he made for example the wall behind him and the objects on it very clearly.
Florin says that he spent a couple of hours to draw these portraits during the time he spent in Israel and Palestine. These are the portraits of the people from his encounters and they all have very interesting stories behind them about these people. He tells the story of the women that he painted where she gazed at him with the same expression for the whole one hour during the painting as if she was a statue, it was a quite interesting and introspective experience for him to paint he states. One day, when he was taking a picture in the Palestinian territory, a man came to him thinking he is Jewish and he suspected that he was an undercover police and asked what he was drawing, this moment is actually became the start of a friendship that started with the coincidence that they were both Romanians. Another portrait that he has drawn in Palestine is the portrait of a copy painter who drew a perfect copy of Mona Lisa and everyone was amazed by it and they took him to Florin but he understood the difference from the landscape and their friendship began, he eventually came to study and work in Cluj.
His New Project is coming soon…
He is currently working on a new project that where he interprets the photos that were taken in awkward situations that he finds on the internet with his own style. These photos that he is taking his inspirations from are generally the viral photos on the internet that circulate with the funny hashtags and comments but he wants to give them and artistic touch and show a different point behind these pictures that disappears behind all the conversation on the internet.