Digital Art’s Remedy for Loneliness

Larisa Murariu’s work is an elixir for the imagination; she transports us to a range of galactic and surreal locations helping us move beyond the limits of our own visions. We are met with winding roads that travel through star-studded galaxies to remote green-laden islands, we meet lone figures in forests followed by mysterious smoke trails and we become observers of a bubble bath floating in space with a front-row view of Saturn… 

Although on first viewing Larisa’s images are playful, adventurous and fantastical, her work carries an underpinning of loneliness and the need for escapism, a feeling that has intensified for Larisa amidst the pandemic.

We spoke with the talented artists about her transition to digital art, her creative routine, her go-to music and the difficulties of finding inspiration in a time characterised by monotony and repetitiveness for many.  

THE PLUS: What did you do before you became a self taught artist? And are you a full-time artist now?

Larisa Murariu: I’ve always been doing some sort of arts or crafts. Digital collage is what I finally settled on. I also still hold a regular corporate job so I work 2 full-time jobs.

TP: Have you always worked digitally and if not, how was the transition from more traditional forms?

LM: No, I’ve done traditional painting and drawing. As with a lot of artists, I was reticent to go digital. The first digital drawings I did were on my phone and maybe 5-6 years later I bought my tablet. Buying the tablet was a natural transition; an attempt to once again learn something new, I watched a photoshop tutorial on drawing and then I started drawing.

I didn’t stick to digital art consistently, but I wanted to create a cover for handmade notebooks and I was very inspired by the digital collage style of Mr. Babies and Frank Moth. I tried digital collage myself to see how it turned out and it felt very natural and easy. I loved the process and end result so much that I haven’t stopped since.

TP: When you start a new piece do you usually have an idea of how you want it to turn out?

LM: Sometimes I get an idea and I sit on it until I come up with the perfect picture, sometimes I browse for pictures and see what they inspire. Prior to the pandemic, I was able to create new ideas more easily because I could pull things from from my day-to-day life.

I haven’t really been in contact with a lot of people in the last year and I find myself repeating the same themes of loneliness and escapism throughout my work. It is the feeling of a constant journey with no destination.

TP: Is there any specific genre of music or artist that you turn to for inspiration when you’re working?

LM: I listen to a lot of psychedelic rock and more alternative stuff, I don’t really know my music genres, I just like the music. The biggest impact on my work and life however is Tame Impala, followed by The Black Angels and a dash of Still Corners.

TP: What is the relevance of the moon/galactic world in your work? Where did your interest in these themes stem from?

LM: I had this life changing experience while on a virgin beach at night. You could see all the stars of the milky way, it was like a thick gooey network of tiny sparkling dots. I felt so important and so minuscule at the same time.

The moon was shining through some thin clouds and painting light across the sky. I use this galactic theme as a connection to that moment in time and a symbol of the subconscious and what could possibly be beyond our human understanding.

TP: What programmes do you work with?

LM: I exclusively use Photoshop.

TP: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about your own creative process over the last year?

LM: That I get a lot of ideas from talking to people.

TP: What one piece of advice would you give for someone looking to enter the digital art sphere?

LM: Work as much as possible if this is your dream, invest as much time and resources as you can, be constant and disciplined and always learning.