Dorina Costras is Pink Panther Magazine’s November Feature Artist. Dorina studied decorative arts before working as a designer and a teacher of fine arts. She currently resides in Bacau, Romania where she collaborates with decorating companies as an indoor designer and of course, she paints.
The mood that Dorina’s art evokes is enigmatic. It presents a certain peace and calm despite the storm. There is a feminine strength that extends beyond the canvas with the power to change the atmosphere. The facial expressions and haunting depth she infuses into the eyes of her subjects demonstrate the dynamics of woman’s loss of innocence and quest to succeed despite her obstacles. There is a grace present in her art that is absent of sickly-sweetness, and a courage that rises above the title of victim. All of these qualities, as they blend together, infuse her art with a romantic sense of hope and promise—the romantic sense translating as a dream-filled heart that never ceases to believe.
Through the magic of electronic exposure, Dorina has managed to gain an international following. It’s encouraging and exciting to stroll through her Internet portfolios and see how well recognised and received her art is amongst art lovers, and even more exciting to see how diligent she is in showing her gratitude and appreciation to these followers—despite the language barriers she has to navigate in order to do so. ~Jenifer DeBellis
A FEW WORDS FROM THE ARTIST AND A POET
BACKGROUND AND FEMINIST ROOTS
I am an artist among many others in Romania … one who just wants to convey upon canvas feelings, emotions, and other elements interpreted in fantasy themes. My art is also about things that are beautiful and sensitive…spiritual experiences that only a woman can feel. Therefore “she” is the main character in my art. I could never know if a man feels the same way, which is why I always prefer not to deviate from this theme of self-knowledge.
In my option, the term Feminism has several levels of perception. Although the main character in my art is woman, I am not extremely “adept of feminism.” Feminism, from my view, is when you’re on the side of women. I hate discrimination and I believe that feminism was often understood in terms of tradition, “the side” regardless of gender, race, culture. Feminism has been seen differently by many authors as an “ideology of modernization” and I agree with this. If we talk about feminism, strictly in the area of art, such an objection to the current feminist movement is based on the inabilities creative women encounter, because as we know, genius is almost exclusively male. Although far fewer in number than men, female scientists exist, female artists exist, but everyone wonders why there is almost no female composers. If I had to judge fairly regarding feminine participation in the culture, I think we need to examine the historical conditions of that period. Woman’s vocation is related to society, but for humanity and its field of action is not civilization, but “culture.”
My conclusion is that I recognize myself as a feminist but my boundaries cannot upset those who are against feminism.
THE MAKINGS OF AN EXQUISITE ARTIST
I have no doubt in being attracted to painting ever since I was little. I do not remember my first drawings (which probably were on the walls of the house). When I was very small, witnesses for my actions have always been my parents and brothers, who even now do not cease to remind me about funny little stories about my earlier artwork. Later, I decided that art, namely painting, would be my main extra-occupation. I was able to sit for hours and draw everything I could think of. I remember one day when I was stubborn and set on painting in the yard. The wind blew terribly and all my sketches were flying. I think I was about 8 years old.
When I reached a sufficient age to realize what I wanted to do in life, I was sure that art was my great love, without which I would not feel fulfilled. So I followed the study of art, and since the age of 20, I have worked in this field. My first job was that of fashion designer in a clothing factory. Then I also worked as professor of art education for many years. Now most of my time is spent at my easel.
THE INNER CALM AND PEACE BEHIND THE EASEL
For me art is creation. Art is a daily challenge, a means of expression and sensuality. It is its own force, its own lifestyle, with its own means of spirit. It’s originality and passion, grace and femininity, and last but not at least—even if it sounds rude—it’s my source of existence. I have no doubt that I could have another occupation and that my life would have been better. I am absolutely convinced that my place is at my easel, where I find my calmness and inner peace. Here I can express myself at my best. Here I can expose my dreams and imagination on canvas. My art is like an open window to a lot of dreams, a personal journal without words. I was always attracted to fantasy themes, and to learn how to polish up my style lasted a good period of time. Lately the style and presentation of my pieces is sufficiently uniform as to say that I found myself in it and that is exactly what I wanted to convey.
EMOTIVE THEMES AND IMAGINATIVE MESSAGES
I paint from imagination and a favorite theme I revert to again and again is costumes and masks of carnival, as well as a fantastic universe with the atmosphere of the story away from our days. As far as art subjects go, I alternate between them depending on my mood and inspiration in the moment. Those that influence my creativity most are romance, fantasy, dreams, love, life…
There are many themes that I have developed in a series over 12 or more works. The series I love the most is the “Impossible Love” series in which the main characters are the Sun and the Moon. They live out a love story in 14 images following the theme of different perspectives of a love killed by two soul mates, a dance of fate, an illusion of retrieval, only to find that love is like an eclipse, or a cosmic minuet, etc. Then there is the series “Constellations” where I personified the zodiac signs, each of them taking the form of a woman with earthly features, but with astral powers. There’s also the series “Whispers” in which each of the works suggest a small part of my feelings and emotions.
In my art there is always a message. Sometimes the message is clear, sometimes it’s subtle, and will depend on how the viewer perceives and understands the piece. Art is meant to be played with and each art lover has the right to do so.
ARTISTS WHO’VE MADE AN IMPRINT
As far as which artists have influenced me, there are too many to enumerate them. Many artists will always have a special place in my mind. Given that everything for this interview was about feminism, I want to start with Tamara De Lempicka, whose work has always fascinated me. Also, one of my first favorites is Degas—I’ve liked his art from the first moment I discovered his special ballerinas, which have given me relaxation watching them. Dali’s imagination and exciting creativity are something I admire. And I will always remember the impressions left by the sculptor Brancusi and painter Grigorescu, two Romanian geniuses, knowing their art you cannot help but love them.
ON DREAMS AND VISIONS WITH WINGS
For now, I can say that I want very much to expose my art abroad, as well as locally. My last exhibition in another country was six years ago. I’ve had 10 solo exhibitions to date in Romania, and now I wish, like any artist, to exhibit in a well-known gallery, and of course I desire my work will have a good impact, and will provoke positive reactions. In the long run, figuratively speaking, I want my art to receive a following that spans as far away as possible. And if it is not possible, then at the very least, where I deserve.
EACH PIECE IS A FAVOURITE AND TREASURE
I’ve never said when I finished a work “this is my favorite painting of all.” It’s like when you have more children and love them all equally. I can just say “yes, this is done better than others.” There is a small regret I experience every time a painting of mine goes to another house. But the feeling is balanced by the satisfaction that someone loves my work and that that work is admired and it is placed in a suitable location, for which it was created. I love all the works that I am surrounded by, yet I understand art is made to be shown and shared. And I experience huge satisfaction when art lovers sincerely appreciate my art.
There’s a shudder that runs through woman’s emotional revelation as her seasonal landscape shifts. It balances upon the threshold of complete abandonment and her momentary reflection of yesterday’s former glory. Yes, it’s okay to let go.
Nobility, loving acceptance, beloved endearment to nature are just a few of the qualities that capture the strength in such silent perseverance.
Daisies… and doubts
The feeling that follows the loss of innocence, the graceful gentleness despite the fall, the day’s eye that closes upon the night as survival are all equal contributors to the levels of uncertainty woman must learn to filter through.
How long do butterflies live
The metamorphosis of the butterfly renders it unreconisable at the conclusion of the transformation process. Such a profound soul shift surely must leave an everlasting impression, one of beauty and awe.
Broken wings — (Nymph3)
“The leaves grown dark
By the autumn wind fall
Cover the ground,
Cover your body,
The wrapping of your being
That hides your true ego.
The warm dew of your eyes flows,
Nothing is there to wait for her,
It gets lost in the void,
Nothing needs their torpor.
Glitter in the sun
That passes through your body
And immerses it in candid dazzle,
The night is coming, the Orient is dancing,
Whirling in his veils, voluptuous dance
Wraps the world.
.And the wood that contains you,
Oh my goddess. And all is mystery,
Possible enigma, incomprehensible fear.”
Pendency — from “Impossible Love” Series
Gothica – The Pure Nymph lyrics
To live is to find oneself at one time or another upon a scene with a tightrope, wondering if such a moment paints the individual as puppet or puppeteer.
What can be said of the exquisite, intricate masks woman fashions for safe hiding?
The story of frozen dreams
It wouldn’t be an authentic journey if there weren’t a few frozen dreams along the path.
When you wish upon dandelions your dreams really do come true.
Glissando — World of Illusions
Woman’s emotional balance glides between the extremes of those two distinct notes: perception often acting as her personal guide.
When a dream has colored wings
Adagio — Sentimental Confusion
Her exaggerated, self-indulgent nostalgia slows the tempo, intensifying the illusions.
The last dance
Just one more spin to dull the pain, one more chance to feel alive again.
Somewhere between heaven and earth, the colour of her emotional landscape are a kaleidoscope backdrop for every dynamic element that makes her the strong yet vulnerable woman she is.