{the interview series} harem6

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Hoje apresento-vos um fantástico duo criativo: Ildiko e Flavia. Elas vivem na Roménia e são o coração e alma de harem6, um estúdio onde dão largas à sua fértil imaginação, criando objectos de arte que vão desde desenhos originais e bonecas artísticas até joalharia. Acredito que esta é uma combinação perfeita de personalidades e técnicas, porque o seu trabalho destaca-se entre a multidão. Mas não vão só por mim... leiam a entrevista e confirmem-no por vocês próprios!

[Este post pertence à rubrica semanal {the interview series}, onde publico uma nova entrevista todas as quartas-feiras, com artistas e bloggers inspiradores que admiro, de acordo com o espírito handmade e um estilo de vida criativo. Tornem-se fãs no facebook e não percam nada!
Por motivos óbvios de extensão e compreensão do texto, tanto pelos entrevistados como pelos potenciais leitores do resto do mundo, a entrevista segue em inglês.]

Today I present you an amazing creative duo: Ildiko and Flavia. They live in Romania and are the heart and soul of harem6, the studio where they give wings to their fertile imagination, creating artistic objects that range from drawings and art dolls to jewelry. I believe this is a perfect combination of skills and personalities, because their work really stand out of the croud. But don't go by me... read the interview and check it out by yourself. 

[This post belongs to the weekly feature {the interview series} where I publish a new interview every wednesday with inspiring artists and bloggers I admire, according to the spirit of handmade and a creative lifestyle. Become a facebook fan and don't miss a bit!]

Ildiko Muresan & Flavia Marele | harem6
Cluj Napoca, Romania

1. Let’s pretend we don’t know each other and I’ve never heard about Harem6. Tell us a bit about yourselves.
Hi! We are Ildiko and Flavia, two full time visual artists and dreamers living in Romania and working together under the name of Harem6.

2. Harem6 is a creative studio founded by Flavia Marele and Ildiko Muresan. You both love art and have been creating together since 2003. How was this creative passion born and how did it bring you together?
I: I have been drawing ever since I was a kid, I don’t remember when I started, it must have been a very very long time ago, but there are a few drawings, not many, which I vaguely still remember, there were big creatures like robots in strong colors made with carioca – I was fascinated by these colors as not many children used to have them due to the political situation of the country, so I was the lucky owner of a set or two which were replaced only when someone from my mother’s side of the family traveled to Hungary or the relatives from there came to visit. I have to say these trips were quite rare. But still I liked to draw and paint a lot and my family always supported my artistic activities. I inherited my mother, she was also very talented, she used to play the violin and draw until around the age of fifteen when she gave up.
F: I have been drawing since I was a little girl, I used to draw foxes. I remember that I once drew a whole fox family. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be an artist or a cinema star. I also wanted to become a singer, unfortunately I had an awful voice (I still do), but I still used to entertain my family with my singing abilities.

I & F: In 2003 some colleagues from the Art Academy threw a party at someone’s house, there was also an exhibition and that’s where we met. Soon after we met we realized we have a very similar vision about art, living and the world in general, although of course there were many aspects we thought about differently but that was perfect. Why perfect? Because what’s the need for two people to create together if they are both the same? If they were to be identical then there is no need for two, one can do things perfectly all by himself. Actually the differences united us.

3. I imagine that working together must be both a support and a challenge – how do you manage to cope with your differences? Who does what?
I & F: We think working together is both a support and a challenge. In the beginning it was quite hard to make the two concepts – from our heads – run on the same railway, that is we didn’t know exactly how to make this machine work. We used to talk a lot and we were afraid of starting to photograph. Because in the beginning we started with digital photography combined with drawings. I used to draw and Flavia photographed. Once we’ve started things simply arranged themselves because we were very focused to create something different from what we’ve made till that point. I had the drawing skills and Flavia the photography, neither of us could manage without the other because our ideas combined both techniques. At start we had a note book where we used to write what we needed, those notes included both ideas and material for the footage, places and people who were to be in the images. When one of us thought about something the other came with something new or maybe different from what the first had thought about, so we can tell you these conversations and working hours were really great. About three years ago we started creating dolls and animals. This came as a very strong need of changing something in our art. We both felt it was time for a complete change, but we never thought we’d create sculptures or make three dimensional works.

I: I started to be very interested in three dimensional art objects made of all sort of mediums, not necessarily wooden or stone sculptures, but made of new materials and mixed media. So I imagined my drawings as being three dimensional. I had no clue of what or how to do that and I told Flavia about it and she started to look for a sort of clay which could be good for modeling and drawing. We tried many but nothing fit our expectations.
F: That’s when I thought I should try and make our own technique and it worked. I create the shapes of the dolls and Ildiko draws them, so the process is quite simple, there are no fights or quarrels. Ha! Ha! Ha! I mean each one of us knows her part. As for the animals we both make them and I also started drawing, Ildiko encouraged me to do that. I am happy I started it again. In the jewelry pieces we both do the modeling and painting. At this moment Ildiko makes the drawings on the jewelry objects.

4. You love to experiment different mediums and even though this is one of the most interesting aspects of your work, your art in clay is probably the most personal way to express yourselves. Tell us about your choices and your favorite mediums to work with.
At the moment we love to work with clay, fabrics, pencils and a camera. But we all know that people like working with the tools they know how to work with.
You cannot say that you don’t like to play the piano if you have never played it you can only say you can’t play it. So one has to start doing something in order to know whether he likes it or not. We are looking forward for the new materials which we’ll discover during our artistic evolution, if we’ll feel the need for some new materials at a certain point.

5. Either in drawing, sculpture or wearable objects you create an amazing fable world, with curious animals and strange creatures. How are they born? What inspires you? Share your creative process with us.
All these works reflect our personalities, they are fragments of our souls. We sometimes imagine them on a beautifully decorated stage where anything is possible and this is such a beautiful image, full of possibilities and the pleasure of not knowing what’s next and the pleasant expectation of the new work to come. There is such joy and an impossible feeling to describe before the idea starts its way. You have to know the art of waiting, that “sleepy” momentum, isn’t a waste of time or dead. We’d call it the glorious silence.
We couldn’t say what inspires us exactly. Inspiration is everywhere! In a movie, a book – absolutely - a feeling of discomfort, a strange noise, the music which comes from your neighbor at 2 a.m., a recent talk... you must stay awake and welcome and transform the material you receive in your every day life.

6. You create artistic pieces, such as stunning art dolls, but you also turn your illustrations into wearable objects like pendants or brooches. Do you consider yourselves more artists or crafters? Do you think there’s actually a big difference or there’s only a thin line separating these two concepts nowadays?
We think of ourselves as artists. We think there is a process of transformation, one’s first a crafter and then an artist. You become an artist once you decided that’s what you want to be and you seek for your own identity with all your strength. But of course there are also people who don’t know they are artists, they simply are and that’s why they are special.

7. What is creating for you: a profession, a passion, a necessity, a life style or a hobby?
It certainly is our life.

8. Through your shop your creations travel all around the world! What means do you use to promote your work?
We have a blog, a facebook page, a shop and we also work with art galleries. It was really hard in the beginning as we didn’t know how to do things to get in touch with the world. Our shop gave us a lot of exposure.

9. Would you share with us a regular day at work?
Hmmm, it’ difficult to answer as there isn’t any rule, we hate rules when it comes to hours and minutes. We might start creating at 8 in the morning or at 4 in the afternoon. We both do whatever or however we wish to. But generally the day starts with checking emails and drinking coffee or tea then work.

10. Would you give us a glimpse of your working space? Describe it and tell us what you love most about it.
We like to have things organized when it comes to materials and tools but unfortunately we never succeed to have everything in perfect order and we always look for things in the house. We arrange things very often but we have so many boxes full of materials and small tools, fabrics, objects etc. and it’s impossible to remember everything.
The working table is full of pencils and a piece of paper or the doll or animal to be born. And there must be music: always!

11. Share your passions and hobbies with us.
Our most loved passion is for vintage objects, we love collecting objects from the past. We like going to flea markets not only to have those objects but sometimes we meet people with fascinating stories about themselves or the things they sell. We love animals and our two dogs, Leska and Veracruz. Reading and watching films are certainly of great importance.

12. You live in Cluj-Napoca, a city in Romania – what do you love most about this place? Would you like to live anywhere else one day?
We love the most the surroundings of the city, the woods and the villages. We sometimes take the train and go to a place we heard about or saw from the window when traveling back from where we’d been.
Yes, we’d love to live in the Kingdom of Bhutan, we surely all have many things to learn from those people.

13. If you could live in any historical era of your choice, what would it be? Why?
In the 70’s in America or U.K.: it was a period of great people, the hippies had lots of fun and we might have met Freddie Mercury. Ha! Ha! Ha!

14. What advices would you give to someone who would also like to become an artist?
Dream as big as you can, be ambitious no matter how difficult it will be.

15. What are your plans for the future? And your most unrealistic dreams?
We don’t like to make plans, God makes the plans for us and we must stay awake, be wise and strong to accomplish them.

Now a quick question and answer game so we can find a bit more about you and your tastes!
Tell us one:

book: I: My Is Red - Pamuk F: The War of the End of the World - Vargas Llosa
music: Tom Waits, Mariza, Queen, Jarousky
movie: La Antena - Esteban Sapir, Frida, Incendies - Denis Villeneuve
personality/artist: Francis Bacon, Vermeer, Botticelli, Bosch, Christina Bothwell, Bruno Walpoth
color: I: green F: aqua blue
object: I: books F: dumbbells
animal: I: okapi F: white lama
drink: I: white wine F: smoothies
food: I: spaghetti F: vegetable salads
season of the year: spring
travel destination: Bhutan
piece of clothing: I: dress F: jeans
secret: our dogs are gay

Thank you for sharing your unique art with us, Ildiko and Flavia!


  1. A very nice interview! I love their work!

  2. great interview, I'm a fan of their work and it's so nice to learn more about their work and lives.

  3. I follow their work with admiration since times, and I enjoyed very much discovering more about their universe !

  4. So unique creations! It's nice to learn these small details for this creative duo!


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