A few months ago, we collaborated with Iustin Grancea, an artist who is currently located in Venice, California. Having been born in a Transylvanian town, and immigrating to the U.S. as a child, he applies a sense of geographical diversity to his art. In our collaborative project, we made use of twelve organic cotton t-shirts and revamped them into unique art pieces, which illustrate the terrestrial wonders of this beautiful planet.
T2TR: Iustin! How are you doing man?
Iustin: I’m good, yeah, how are you?
T2TR: Doing well! Could you tell the readers about our recent collaboration.
Iustin: So a little bit of a backstory. You approached me a while ago regarding creative direction for T2TR, and I eagerly accepted. After finding twelve unused shirts from a previous collection, we decided to paint on them, since that is what I do (haha). It was an ode to the various natural features all over the world, from rivers to glacial erosion. Essentially, all sorts of interesting patterns that the earth has. It was an interesting process, since I had never painted on shirts before, and it required a different technique.
T2TR: Well, it was a pleasure working with you! You started talking about nature as an inspiration for your art, could you tell us more about that? Is it common for your art to include these varying elements?
Iustin: I would say it is pretty typical for my art to incorporate elements of some form of outdoor environment, but each painting will be distinct in and of itself. I am actually working on a series of paintings that I call the “Terran Project,” which utilizes soil that is mixed with paint, forming a viscous texture that is inspired by and reminiscent of volcanism.
T2TR: That’s really cool, incorporating natural “ingredients” in art, I can't wait to see the finished product! What is a major goal for you with your art, what are you trying to advocate? How would you categorize your art?
Iustin: Well that’s an interesting question. It’s hard to categorize art, since there are many forms that illustrate how I feel at certain times. In a sense, each piece has its own motive for coming into existence, almost like its purpose. In this process, I try not to dictate meaning, and people also do not need to subscribe to my meaning. I encourage people to come up with their own.
T2TR: I like that open-ended outlook. Moving towards a more environmentally friendly future, how do you think art will change? Is the art industry already sustainable?
Iustin: The short answer is no, art is not sustainable as an industry. Someone who paints on a canvas is dependent on the resources, and that brings up questions… “are the materials made naturally and/or ethically sourced?” But that is minor, in comparison to the shipping that is needed for the large objects that are displayed in art shows all over the world. I don’t have an exact answer for how this could be changed, but looking into the past, art was much more in tune with nature and sustainability.
T2TR: And as we move towards digitized art, such as NTfs, how do you see the industry changing?
Iustin: Many people say that the future of art is digital, but I steadfastly disagree. While I don’t dismiss digital art, it lacks tangibility and presence, and I don’t think it will replace physical art. Paintings and sculptures have a distinct physical dynamic, with relation to a viewer. It’s a bit like a relationship with another person, in the sense that you might not like it at first, but overtime and seeing it in a different light of day, your opinion changes and vice versa. You might start out liking a painting, and then find out that you’ve changed, or gotten what you needed from that particular work. That is the way I view my own work, my take on it is always evolving. I don’t think you can get that digitally.
T2TR: I get that perspective, and I'm still on the fence with this whole thing. So, with the final and obligatory question, how do you stay true to the roots with your art, your everyday life, and the things you advocate for?
Iustin: There is this call that I have deep down to create. And I stay true to that call, not only by learning, discussing, and finding inspiration, but also doing. It’s not really tangible what we're talking about, it’s almost sub-surface, so i’m having difficulty with answering that in detail. Give me a second, I need to think on how to phrase this…(several seconds pass). I believe that art allows one to explore and discover themself, and also discover nature. As humans, we have a knack and curiosity for the unknown and exploration. I cater to this natural feeling by discovering myself through art, and that makes me true to the roots, well, at least in my understanding.
T2TR: Thank you for your insight, your beautiful work, and your time. Always nice talking to you Iustin! For those who are interested in our collection of painted shirts, click here. And if you would like to know more about Iustin and his art, check out his portfolio here.