Although I’m always interested in discovering new ideas and endeavours when it comes to contemporary art, I hadn’t yet been to a festival dedicated to the creative industries, whatever those might be. That is, until yesterday.
Because this weekend, the Botanical Garden of Bucharest hosted Creative Est, a festival that celebrates design, contemporary art, music, film and technology. The event was at its first edition and, even though it wasn’t very crowded – a sign of it’s yet lack of popularity among the audiences (chances are this will change for the next edition), it proved really interesting to me.
I met with young, friendly entrepreneurs with a passion for what they do and a fresh take on things around them
What got me going there, in the first place, was the promise that I’d meet people who turned their creative ideas into sustainable businesses. The young wave of Romanian creatives, as they said. And I did meet them. Most of them are young, friendly entrepreneurs with a passion for what they do and a fresh take on things around them.
So naturally, I was super excited to see all the cool stuff presented there, all made by designers, all ready to be sold. And all insanely creative. The most interesting things I saw:
wallets for “him & her”, made out of truck tarp (customizable print)
other wallets, more sophisticated, with a pattern spine inside, that after a few weeks of wearing in your pocket would come out on the face of the wallet
sunglasses with wooden frames and hand-made sculptures on the handles
skateboards made out of wood and printed with color
origami deco stuff for walls
a workshop where you can get your bike repainted with a cool design
notebooks/sketchbooks with covers illustrating popular Bucharest street art (like this one I got, entire story here)
A few interesting businesses that sell printed goods
The best thing, though, was being able to talk to all the participants and find out their stories and how they do their business (or part of it). To be honest, I was particularly interested in meeting some of the people who sell printed goods, because it’s something I’m also looking into. I’ve always thought it’s a good way to expand, as an illustrator, and it’s something I’d want to do, eventually.
So I had the chance to meet with the guys at Bewise Collective Movement, who make handmade recycled skateboards out of wood. They practically collect already used skateboards and reshape them into cool, new ones and add various prints to them. It was interesting to find out that printing on wood, for example, is a delicate process and it’s called transfer. Quite different from printing on fabric and not that easy, from what I understand. I was also very happy to hear that they’re interested in collaborating with a graphic designer for future projects, which I’d love to be a part of 🙂 Think about it, a limited edition of wooden skateboards with a cool design.
I also met the guys at Turific, who create wearables (mainly for cyclists, but not exclusively), using useless, discarded materials – like the truck tarp mentioned earlier. And BumBag, a brand that creates these little waist bags with funny patterns, which they actually print on the fabric. That was interesting to know, because there aren’t many places in Bucharest where you can do that, at least not that I know of. Most people just buy the fabric with the print on, so it would be cool to print it out using your own designs.
Another great thing was meeting with Alin, the guy behind Cameleo.ro, a Romanian online art shop (and possibly the only one we have). It’s a recently launched business and reunites graphic designers, illustrators and photographers who sell their art on paper, canvas, even glass. Perfect if you’re looking to decorate your home, office or bar/restaurant with some seriously cool art. I like the idea so much, that soon you might find some of my work there, so keep an eye out! 😉
So I guess that, after all, the best thing about such events is being able to get in touch with other fellow creatives and exchange thoughts. For me, it was refreshing getting to know some of the people in this business and find out stuff about how they work. Stuff like where they buy their textile stock, where they print the materials (and what techniques are used for each material, for what costs), how the business works so far (do they sell yet, is it sustainable?) and so on. And, why not, see how we might be able to collaborate on future projects.
And I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the next edition, that’s aiming, apparently, to expand and bring out creatives from all over East Europe. Looking forward to it!