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Mobile Photography & Art – Portrait of an Artist – Seeing Through The Eyes Of Anca Balaj

We are delighted to bring to you the twelfth in our brand new series of interviews within our Portrait of an Artist column entitled “Seeing through the eyes…”. This is a section that has been created by our wonderful Portrait of an Artist Editor, Ile Mont. Mont has been inspired by the life and works of Carolyn Hall Young, as so many of us have. Young was the main contributor to our Portrait of an Artist Flickr pool and filled it with portraits of so many wonderful people, not only of herself. It is for this reason that Mont wanted to create this section, to enable us to view the artists style through their own eyes. At the end of each interview, Mont will keep Young’s tradition alive, with a portrait of herself, seen through the eyes of the artist. In this case, you will see that at the end of this interview there is a portrait of Mont, seen through the eyes of Anca Balaj, what a gift!

Please continue to post your mobile portraiture to our dedicated Flickr group, this way, Mont will search through these artists first to interview. (Foreword by Joanne Carter).

All images in this interview ©Anca Balaj, with the final image a collaboration ©Ile Mont/Anca Balaj

(To view our other published interviews in this series, please go here).


What does “being creative” mean to you?

For me being creative is being as honest as possible. When someone’s vision is conveyed with honesty, the artwork becomes more creative, because each person has a unique vision. To be creative is to convey this vision without being subject to the aesthetic or commercial trends of the time. Artists must free themselves from all this and convey their vision in an honest way.

Can you describe the time when you first realised that creating was something you absolutely had to do?

I think I realised this about 30 years ago. I have a very restless mind, which cannot stay still for a moment. I understood that if I left my mind free, often this mental energy turned against me and I got negative thoughts. By focusing all this energy into my artwork, I use it in a way that is constructive instead of destructive.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?

I try to communicate my limited personal view of reality. Reality is so immense that nobody can see it or express it in its entirety. I believe that artists express their inner worlds and their tiny personal vision of reality, which is just one of its many facets.

On other occasions, I simply love to transform things into what I would like them to be.

Why portraits and self-portraits?

I have always tried to understand the human being, his psychology. It’s something that really interests me, because by understanding others I understand myself better. The portrait is an excellent way of delving into human nature. In this sense, it has an indisputable value, because of the wealth of expressions, intentional or not, we can find in each portrait.

What do you think are the ups and downs about working with your own image?

I love the freedom I have when I’m working with my own portrait, as I am not afraid of offending the person I’m portraying. This allows me to try as many new techniques as I want. On the other hand, the disadvantage is that I want to show myself smart-looking, so I don’t always publish my self-portraits, hahaha.

Is there an artwork you are most proud of?

Yes, as I am an artist in construction, the last one is always the best one.

How do you know when a work is finished?

There is a moment when adding new changes does not improve the quality of the image, but smudges it instead. That is the moment when the work is finished for me.

What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?

I spend time regularly creating new textures and brushes that I will use in my artwork. This way I don’t€™t need to stop working to create them and I don’t interrupt the creative flow.

Another good habit for any creator is to live with cats all around, hahaha.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by life, nature, animals, the work of other artists… Nowadays there are so many wonders to see, there is so much beauty around us, it is impossible not to feel inspired.

What are your favorite tools and apps while creating?

There are two apps that are essential for me: Procreate and iColorama. I always start my works in Procreate and finish them in iColorama. As for tools, I use a lot layers and their blending modes, many custom brushes and textures.

What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?

Be honest.

What advice would you share with us?

Don’t settle for your first idea. Have at least five more ideas before deciding. Improvisation is good for beginners, but if you want to be serious, you have to give it more thought before doing the work.

Thank you very much for your insight and time.

Thank you for the opportunity of this interview. It is an honor for me.

It has been a wonderful thrilling adventure to have been seen through the eyes of Anca Balaj!

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Ileana Mont Born in Mexico City, Ileana is a professional in graphic communications and advertising. She studied in San Diego, CA. in the United States and later on she returned to Mexico City where she worked as a copywriter, graphic designer and creative director for several advertising agencies, until she realized she had a more artistic calling and a very strong feeling for painting and photography. She learned about painting techniques with Mexican artist Irma Grizá and engaged in developing and combining her photography and computer graphics skills through her visual expression. She is now an independent visual artist and photographer and has been featured in some important blogs about mobile art and photography. Ileana enjoys looking for the beauty out of ordinary things and the special things of our everyday lives.

One Comment

  • Carol Wiebe

    I simply adore Anca Bajal’s work, and this interview has made me an even more avid fan. Everything she said here resonates deeply with me. Anca’s honesty and humour come through in her work—they are what I respond to and delight in.