Valeria Duca: a sixteen year old talent

CS:         Valeria, I will ask you later about your success in your career, but I want to start by asking about your participation in the contest ‘Miss Optica 2012’, where you’ve been chosen one out of 450 girls. Is it your first contest that has nothing to do withpainting or sports, but with beauty?

VD:        No, it’s not the first one. I also took part in ‘Miss Prometeu’, where I also took the first place. I also took part in a series of online contests, but in this one I was really excited about the members of the jury; and of course about the prize itself.


CS:         Are you planning to take part in more contests of this type?

VD:        I am not planning to become a model; this was simply an attempt to try something new. ‘Miss Optica 2012’ is just a new step for me that I wanted to make, but I won’t be going any further in that direction.


CS:         Painting and sports, like inspiration and discipline, are very different. How do you manage to combine them?

VD:        A lot of the artists that I met practice some sort of sport along with painting. Maybe it has some psychological explaination, but for me it is just about finding a balance between these two extremes. This balance is a very comfortable way of being.


CS:         How did you start drawing?

VD:        By chance. Early in my life I noticed that I can easily copy photos and cartoons. Soon after, my parents suggested to take art classes. That’s how I went to Victor Ursu’s studio. There, without having any knowledge about composition and light, I enjoyed abstract art. Everything seemed to work well and very soon, I had my first exhibition. Then I met Ion Serbinov, who is truly a Master of art. He opened to me other secrets, taught me to draw. This later constituted a strong basis for my art. In 2010, I had the happy opportunity to work with the Canadian painter, Alexander Sheversky. He taught me a lot and probably influenced me in identifying myself with expressionism.


CS:         At what moment in your life did you realise that painting is what you want to do?

VD:        It’s hard to say. I’ve been painting for so long… it seems that I’ve been painting my entire life. First I was inspired by art; then it became a hobby; then, in a very natural way, it became part of my life.


CS:         How may exhibitions have you organized?

VD:        Eleven personal exhibitions; the 12th will open soon in the Museum of Visual Art in Romania. The most important ones were the ones in the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, the Tower of Federation in Moscow, the Venice Biennale, the Chelsea Town Hall in London, the Museum of Art in Odessa and the Museum of Archaeology and History in Chisinau. I also took part in more than 20 group exhibitions and in 6 charity events. Exhibitions are such an efficient way of introducing my art to the public and a way of developing.


CS:         What do you tell the public through your exhibitions?

VD:        When I only started painting, I never thought about the possibility of communicating a message to the audience through my art. I was simply enjoying the process of painting. Then I started to understand that I can do more than that and I began to put more thought in my work. As Cezanne once said, ‘with an apple, I will astonish Paris’, meaning that we find beauty in simple things. That was the idea behind the exhibition ‘The World Around Me’ which I exhibited at the Venice Biennale. Through my paintings, whether it they were portraits or abstract compositions, I wanted to express the sincerity of the simple things.


CS:         It’s admirable that at only 16 you have already have behind you such and immense life experience. It is probably difficult to deal with it all on your own. Who are the ones that support you?

VD:        My family; although they are doctors, they manage to support me with everything I do in art. I am very thankful to them for everything.


CS:         Do you think art is a talent or a skill that can be acquired if one is willing to learn it?

VD:        That’s an interesting question. I think that you can learn the skills, that is not a problem. Talent is something you are born with, something that helps you acquire these skills quicker… but without a lot of effort, talent becomes useless. Talent only shows you where to go and what road to take, everything else depends on you.


CS:         What is the first question that people ask you when they find out that you are a painter?

VD:        ‘Can you paint me?’


CS:         And do you paint them?

VD:        Sometimes; but it is easier for me to work when the initiative is mine, rather than when I am asked to do so.


CS:         You are so young, but you already achieved a lot. Did you ever think that you may be simply lucky?

VD:        Simply lucky? Yes, I am simply lucky that I was born in my family. I am lucky to have had teachers and trainers. However, the results in art and sport are something that I’ve achieved by sacrificing years of my childhood. When you love your work, there is no chance for failure. I do not want to think about luck, I just want to say thank you for what I have.