*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.
Q and A with Ramona, Bucharest, Romania
“Art can give us strength to carry on, courage to push through.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I am passionate about empowering, uplifting, and bringing joy into people’s lives through art. During the lockdown, I started a series of paintings called Urban Queen. Initially, I gave up my studio and planned to relax at home for a month or so. I was planning to do all the things I never have time to do like reorganize my wardrobe, read, and drink cocktails on my terrace. It didn’t last long. One day I read an article in Forbes magazine about the 7 women head of states and how they dealt with the pandemic. I started thinking about all the women in lockdown, all the unsung heroes, and the women who are leaders in their own way, whether it’s in their home or in their community. I had an urge to paint these women, so I set up a home studio and ended up working 12-hour days for 2 months straight. I took over the living room, and my family got used to fending for themselves.
Through my paintings, I want to bring every woman into the spotlight who runs her household, raises her children, puts up with her boss, looks after her health, and shows the strength and courage in her everyday life. I started sharing my art online and the response I had from women all over the world was incredible. Art has the power to move people at a very deep level and women connected with the paintings in a way I didn’t expect. I had hundreds of messages from women telling me what these paintings mean to them and how they make them feel. Stronger, powerful, self-confident.
A deeply moving experience was talking with Kristen, a nurse on the front lines in San Francisco. She was working crazy hours, doing loads of overtime when the hospital needed her, only taking breaks and resting in her car when she was on call. We messaged each other and spoke a lot. She told me, “I’m scared, inspired, and empowered raising girls during this time! These paintings spoke to me on such a deep level as a nurse on the front lines and mother of two daughters. Seriously, these paintings blew my mind on so many levels.” This expresses what I paint for: the power of art to lift our souls. It reminds us that we are magnificent beings capable of doing so much good in the world. Art can give us strength to carry on, courage to push through.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: I grew up in a totalitarian communist regime where ‘freedom’ was nonexistent and food shortages, fear, and persecution was part of the daily life. I hated the system that imprisoned my grandfather, I hated the fact that everything was grey. When I was about 12, I saw a book on Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel. I was so moved by the art, the colors, the beauty that I decided there and then that if I can get out of the country, I would leave and never come back. That chance came when I was 18 years old, so armed with big dreams and a bag full of clothes, I made it to London, UK, all by myself.
I wanted to finish my education, so I was going to college during the day and working evenings and weekends. It was then when I discovered painting. I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world. I would stay up really late at night to finish my paintings assignments. However, the mentality I grew up with was that of the ‘starving artist,’ so instead I pursued a career in fashion where I thought, worst case scenario, I can get a job as a seamstress. Instead, at the age of 25, I opened my business, a fashion label that expanded rapidly selling in 300 boutiques all over the UK.
Time passed, I fell in love, got married, and had our daughter. In 2009, my family and I moved back to my native Romania. This was now a totally different country I didn’t recognize.
Liberated from communist regime, the country was flourishing and exciting. I started an interior design business that made six figures in the first year. Still, painting was something I was called to do all my life, so I started painting again, at night time and during the weekends. In 2013, I was invited to exhibit in Miami, during the famous Art Basel. That was all I needed to get me to pursue my long life dream. Shortly after I walked into my office and told all my staff that I would be closing the business in order to pursue a career as an artist. I was 40 years old! It was a bold, crazy move and what followed was a few years of really hard work. As a self-taught artist, I made a point on working extra hard on my technique as well as finding my artistic voice. And still, I didn’t feel “worthy” unless my art was validated by the “art establishment.” When my family and I moved back to the UK in 2018, I got the validation I thought I needed by working with some well established art galleries, exhibiting in central London, selling my art to important collectors.
Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?
A: Life is about constantly learning, growing, and evolving. Painting the Urban Queen series has taught me my latest lesson: I don’t need the art establishment to validate me or my art. I am a queen and I wear my crown with pride. At the same time, my biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that “I am on Purpose.” I have been searching for purpose, for the best part of my life, and asked myself many times, “How can I live on purpose?” I think Urban Queen has provided me with the answer. When you are passionate about what you do AND you serve others, you are living with purpose.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: Feminism is reestablishing the balance between feminine and masculine. It’s recognizing and honoring our differences. It’s understanding that vulnerability, sensitivity, intuition, creativity, and nurturing are very important qualities the world needs. They are not weakness as we were raised to believe. We don’t need to be like men. We need to connect to our own inner feminine qualities and lead from there.
Q: Would you like readers to know anything else?
A: I would say honor yourself. Women are used to doing everything for everyone else first, and we leave ourselves last. I am also guilty of that sometimes, and it’s something I’m still working on. To me, honoring yourself means working on your mindset, learning to appreciate what’s important in life, being grateful, being inspired, treating yourself, and most importantly, loving yourself. Find the Queen within!
Thank you for reading!
I’d love to connect with you!
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