Andreia Gliga and the magic of colors

Andreia Gliga (personal archive photo)

Andreia Gliga (personal archive photo)

“My move to the USA twenty years ago shaped my vision of the world, helped me overcome my own doubts.  Also, it empowered me into creating “windows” where the “doors” were closed.”
— Andreia Gliga

I’ve met Andreia after arriving in DC, almost three years ago. We were friends on Facebook and I admired her work and her joie de vivre. When I came up with the idea of organizing and curating a collective exhibit of Romanian born American artists last spring at Artomatic in Crystal City, VA, I reached out to her, as well. I discover a complex woman, a loving mother and gifted art teacher, an artist in love with color and magic.

Andreia has been in US for the last 20 years. Graduate of the Theater University in Bucharest, she is now an art teacher, language instructor, and court interpreter.  Her grandparents are from Voronet, Suceava, part of Moldovan Romania that has deep cultural roots and historic heritage. The famous monasteries in the area, build in 1400’s by Stephan the Great, Prince of Moldova, are one of the biggest tourist attraction of Romania. She told me that the vacations spent there left a permanent mark on her. “The colors, specially the unique blues and deep greens, the harmonious shapes of the surrounding areas, all the treasures hidden in the forests, all the deep layers of history, the people, their way of understanding life,” all and more contributed to who she is today.

I invite you in Andreia’s world:

Daniela Kammrath: How did all start?  When did you know you want to be an artist?

Andreia Gliga: For as long as I remember, I’ve been passionate about three things: being a teacher for all the kids in my neighbourhood, an actress and director- playing and directing shows with and for them, creating and painting everything from the show invitations to the decorum!

I was a very busy child! [she laughs] My passion for shape and color grew within me from my school years in my adulthood, but I’ve never felt it as powerful as after a trip to Romania I made after 13 years of leaving In Unites States. For the last seven years I painted constantly and I also turned my passion into my profession by becoming an art teacher.

My need for strong colors comes from my memories created around Voronet, with its evergreen trees, the immortal blues of the monastery.

DK: Tell me more about childhood and adolescence, growing up in Romania.

AG: I think that everything that happens during our childhood shapes us in a very unique way. Every single thing mattered when I was growing up, the trips, the poetry recitals, the colors of the city, the shapes of the mountains, and the sound of the rivers. My need for strong colors comes from my memories created around Voronet, with its evergreen trees, the immortal blues of the monastery. I have great memories about the times when me and my sister, as children, were going inside the church, at that time it was open at all times, and we were the only ones inside. I remember us, the girls, being very respectful and somehow overwhelmed by everything. I could see Stefan the Great' s portrait every day [Stephen the Great (1457-1504) was Voievod or Prince of Moldavia from 1457 to 1504.]. It felt like the place belonged to us somehow, we felt at home there in such an impressive historical monument. Those were the times when history was mixed with my growing in such a natural way!

I had a great time during high school in Suceava. I was lucky enough to have some amazing teachers who encouraged me and, sometimes, that's all a kid needs. 

During my 4 years at the Theatre University in Bucharest I worked on many projects at school, National TV, and at the National Theatre. I have very dear memories working with well-knows Romanian artists like Adrian Pintea and Mircea Albulescu. Those were very intense years, with me a show almost every day and movies at ‘Cinemateca’ after school. I was driven by pure passion. I remember leaving the house at 8 am and coming back after 10 pm, after the plays at TNB [National Theater in Bucharest], Bulandra [Theatre], Nottara [Theatre] every day.

DK: How was your first exhibit?

AG: My very first exhibit was out of this world!  Washington DC. One huge building. Three levels full of my work! It felt like an extension of myself, like I was projected on all those walls.  It was empowering and it gave me such great hope. I am so thankful for the people who believed in me.

DK: Where do you get your inspiration?

AG: My inspiration is actually my life! Everything that I experience with my body and mind gets stored :-) I like being surprised by amazing color combinations and striking forms. I love studying people and things. There is so much to be discovered!

I am aware that I have a wild style. The most intimidating and special time is when I sit in front of a white canvas. After I start, it’ s all joy. Another important moment to me is knowing when to stop. To feel that the painting is complete, that makes me feel alive!

DK: Who are your mentors?

AG: My biggest inspirations are Vincent van Gogh- for his raw style, for leaving a little part of his immense soul in each of his works, Paul Gauguin- for his painfully beautiful colors, Kandinsky- for his articulated and controlled color explosions, Luigi Serafini- for his out of this world imagination, and my sister, Raluca Gavrilescu- artist extraordinaire.

DK: How do you balance the art, family, and work in your life?

AG: I am happy at work, teaching children ages between 6 to10. I make time to submerge into my paintings, jewelry or clay works. I really need it. My girls are older now, 15 and 12, and there is a different dynamic in the house. In general, things tend to settle into their natural groove if you follow your heart and instincts.

DK: What do you consider to be your greatest achievements?

AG: My girls are my greatest achievements! 

DK: What next for Andreia Gliga as an artist?

AG: I don' t know what tomorrow might bring! I had a few surprises coming out of nowhere in the past... I am an optimist to the core and I believe that the journey is more important that the destination!

DK: Your ultimate dream that would make your heart explode and your head spinning….

AG: This is a hard question! I would like to see a truly happy Romania!  My impossible personal dream is to travel all the time. I could live with a suitcase by the door. But, for the time being, I travel through my colors!

About the artist: Andreia Gliga lives in Virginia, USA. She had solo and group exhibits in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Bucharest.  In 2012 she got selected and participated in a competition called Art Takes Times Square in New York and had her work shown on huge panels right in the heart of the city. Her work was later published in the event's book.  At the “Romanian At Heart” collaborative exhibit at Artomatic 2017 in Cristal City, VA, Andreia was one of the 7 Romanian born American artists featured, together with Michelle Marin, Sonia Coman Ernstoff, Cristian Ianculescu, Doina Dascalu, Pandi Dacu, and Alin Tolea.