True Wisdom: The Craft and Discipline of Mr. Valeanu Andrei

by Joshua Diokno   

When asked for his message to other artists in light of the world’s current state, Mr. Valeanu Andrei had this to say:

Also, do not give 100% of what you know. Never. Not even to friends. It is not because of the threat that they might take your job, but because being an artist does not come easy. A good artist struggles for the knowledge and the skills. They simply didn’t learn it over beer.

While it may throw some people off, Valeanu speaks of the truth. Every artist knows this, it’s just that he is among the few who is not afraid to boldly declare it. If you are an artist of notable calibre, you know that your level of expertise did not just happen overnight. In fact, it is highly possible that you did not get sleep in some nights just to master your craft. This is called discipline. If you do not have it, do not delve in anything that requires ingenuity. Just like any other field that does, digital art demands not only talent, but patience and perseverance, two things that Valeanu obviously has. This makes him an artist to be reckoned with.

Xeno Creatives (XC): We understand that with just about any craft, passion takes precedence. In your case, how did it start becoming a passion? Would we be right in assuming that you consider it a “calling” as a lot of your contemporaries do?

Valeanu Andrei (VA): I started drawing when I was 16 years old but soon after that, I discovered Zbrush. There was a moment wherein I realized it was a calling definitely. The process of penetrating the sphere was pretty fun for me.

XC: Was there ever an art piece (digital or otherwise) or artist who bolstered your interest in 3D art and motivated you to enter the space? When did you get involved fully in the industry?

VA: Yes, it still happens when I open ArtStation. Well, back when I started, it was Andrei Cristea who blew me away with his art. Two of my peers, Cesar Brandao and Rik Lee drove me into refined and dramatic beauty. Right now, there are so many that hook my attention when I open ArtStation. Seeing everyone’s work in this huge museum of a platform is a blessing.

My career started in 2012 in Bucharest Romania .

XC: Now that you’re an active part of the industry, would you say you have a solid place in it?

VA: I want to believe that, but I also tell myself often that “you are as best as your last artwork.” I still have to learn and develop my skills to stay relevant especially now when I see the new generation’s work. I guess its a life learning experience and as long as the tech improves; as this happens my passion for the craft also evolves.

XC: What does your day look like in production?

VA: I start by walking the dog outside and think about what I am going to do. Once I come back, I open ArtStation, get mind blown, then open Zbrush to my latest passion project. I disappear from life for the next 6-12 hours. Afterwards, I walk the dog again and think what I could do better, where can I improve the current 3d model. Then I sleep. Some say I am a workaholic hahaha.

XC: What are the common challenges a 3D artist like you encounters daily in a project?

VA: I think I can sum up all the challenges under the “do better challenge” In each project, we all make the same steps. But at a certain point in the life of a project, you will ask yourself, “why is this better than your last?” From here, you start to research a lot of stuff in order to fulfil your quest to polish the last piece.

XC: We have seen your works on ArtStation and we were really impressed with your style. Do you have any favorite works? If so, why are these your favorites?

VA: Thank you! First of all, my favorite artwork is always the last; and it is also the one that I hate the most because I get to see where I could have done better. After that, I plan the next one with my current mistakes in mind.

XC: What would you consider your biggest or most exciting project to date?

VA: It was an entry for Zbrush Summit 2021. I didn’t make it to the top 5 but was able to receive an honorable mention. I plan to compete again this year and aim at getting in the top 5.

As for a project with a client, working with Black Rifle Coffee Company was exhilarating. The company asked me for a visual pitch of their project and for the deliverables to be 3D printable. What blew me away was the fact that they were war veterans and have a different way of talking and understanding stuff. They adhered strictly to a step-by-step approach. It opened my mind to the fact that I need to be happy with myself and my work as if it were my last day.

XC: If you were to market yourself, what would you highlight as your edge?

VA: I want to say the beauty of how I render realism, although realism is easier to achieve today than it was back in 2015. I still use my custom alphas to sculpt when I have time to kill. Also I want to put some emphasis on the fact I can go out of the realm of hyper-realism and make some stylized cute girls.

XC: If you weren’t a 3D artist today, what would you be working as?

VA: A painter or a tattoo artist.

XC: What is your message to other artists in these challenging times?

VA: It depends on your level of expertise. I think that you need to have fun, have patience and don’t go for the number of likes or views or anything like that cause that will make you happy for a short period. But because of this temporary high, you miss out on the opportunity to holistically enjoy the fact that you did something from nothing.

Also, do not give 100% of what you know. Never. Not even to friends. It is not because of the threat that they might take your job, but because being an artist does not come easy. A good artist struggles for the knowledge and the skills. They simply didn’t learn it over beer.

Thank you for the opportunity to express my ideas here and thank you for having me Xeno Creatives!

See more of Mr. Valeanu Andrei’s works by clicking here!

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