Daia Grigore - About vulnerability and connection
Illustrator and designer Daia Grigore explores our connection to nature and our imperfect bodies through her work. Daia's images offer us a space to reflect and feel vulnerable. You can easily recognized her work from the use of saturated colours, especially purple, and organic shapes.
Daia shares more of her inner artistic world with us, explaining how she runs her own business, what inspires her and some of her favourite projects.
Have you always known you will be an illustrator and designer? Have you considered any other creative paths?
I didn't always know. In fact, during high school, I was convinced that I wanted to become a translator. Despite this, during those years I continued to explore various artistic mediums such as handmade jewellery, photography, drawing, and digital collages. It wasn't until my final year of high school that I made the decision to pursue a creative career by studying graphic design and illustration.
What is your favourite subject to illustrate and why? Do you have any recurring imagery that you come back to again and again?
In terms of illustrating, my favourite subject is nature. There is something so beautiful and inspiring about the natural world that I find incredibly soothing and fascinating to draw.
Your images often portray women and their relationship towards their bodies. They are also often seen naked in nature. Is your experience as a woman often inspiring your images ? Do you feel that there is a connection between womanhood and nature?
Through my illustrations, I aim to capture the deep connection between humans and the environment – one that we often forget that exists. I like to include imagery that reflects this relationship, such as plants, animals, landscapes, usually in the presence of my beloved purple & naked character – a woman named Mova. The use of nudity in my illustrations is a way to explore the vulnerability and intimacy of the human experience in relation to our own perfectly imperfect bodies.
Your images often create a sense of introspection and mindfulness. Do you think art can offer a space for us to reflect on our circumstances?
Yes, I truly believe that art can be a powerful tool for self-reflection and mindfulness. In my creative process, I often use the opportunity to express my innermost thoughts and emotions, which can be healing and transformative sometimes. I also enjoy the idea that viewers may see reflections of their own feelings and experiences in my work, which allows us to connect in a very intimate way. It's a beautiful feeling to know that my art can bring people together and evoke such meaningful emotions.
Speaking of mindfulness, we love The Gratitude Calendar. Can you tell us more about how this project came to life? What inspired your beautiful designs for this project? What was the process for creating this?
Thank you for loving! The calendar is centered around the concept that gratitude is like a muscle that needs to be trained. Many times, we get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget to appreciate the small joys that surround us, like the chalk drawings children make on the pavement. I believe that incorporating more gratitude into our daily routines could benefit us all. For each month, I've created an illustration representing something to be grateful for. Also, on the back of each card, I've included some unofficial and fun holidays, like Work Naked Day, Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day and Napping Day, among others.
How do you generally come up with concepts for your projects? Are you an organised creative or the type that embraces the chaos?
I am definitely the “embrace the chaos” type when it comes to my illustrations. My creativity usually leaves the room whenever I try to control it, so I choose to embrace its spontaneous nature and to get the most out of it any time it decides to pop up in my life. On the other hand, when it comes to my graphic design projects, I am definitely more organised and focused. I do thorough research and planning to ensure that the end result meets my and the client's expectations.
Our next issue will focus on our discarded ideas. What is that one idea that you just never can get around to finishing? Is your inner critic ever stopping you from creating? How do you deal with this?
To be honest, I can't recall any ideas that I've completely abandoned once I started working on them but I’ve had plenty of ideas that I never pursued because I didn’t have enough faith in them. I know I have my reasons for doing that, so the inner critic is welcomed here. But where it is not welcomed is when I try to explore new visual territories for new projects, especially when I doodle in my sketchbooks. I get caught up in trying to make everything perfect from the beginning and lose sight of the fun in the process that comes with bad ideas and odd-looking sketches. I'm working on letting go of my perfectionism and giving myself the space to explore and experiment more.
'Don’t focus too much on figuring out every little detail before you start. Things will never be exactly as you planned them in the first place, anyway.'
We know that Daia shop turned 2 at the end of last year. How did you start your shop? Are you managing this all on your own ? Do you have any advice for other creatives looking to start their own business?
That’s right, my shop recently turned 2. Having a shop with products designed and illustrated by me has always been a dream of mine. When the pandemic hit, I decided to take the leap, so I quit my job as an Art Director in Advertising and started investing all my time and effort in a website and a shop of my own. And yes, It's mostly just me running the show, but my friends and boyfriend are always there to lend a hand when I need it.
My advice? Don’t focus too much on figuring out every little detail before you start. If you're anything like me, overthinking can lead to fear and overwhelm and you might end up not doing it at all. Just go with the flow and solve the problems as they arise. Things will never be exactly as you planned them in the first place, anyway.
Do you have any secrets for finding inspiration?
I don't, but I do hope I did! As I said before, my inspiration comes whenever it wants to. However, I have found something that is really helpful, and that is allowing myself to do nothing. I make sure I save some time to sit quietly with myself and my own thoughts, which gives me more clarity and creates space for creativity.
What is the one project that really boosted your career? What is a project that taught you a lot?
A very beloved project of mine that taught me a lot about perseverance, patience and about the fascinating nature of our own emotions is "Fear has no hair" – a book written by children, with the aim of teaching adults about vulnerability and fear. It all started with the question: "if your fear were a character, what would it look like?". I brought their written descriptions to life by illustrating the characters and also included six anxiety exercises written by psychotherapist Oana Șerbu.
What is the next step for your career? Do you have any goals for 2023 you would like to share?
I am quite superstitious, so I won’t tell much about my plans before they actually happen. But all I can tell is this: from the online world to the physical one.
Are there any artists you think we should know about ?
Yes, I admire a lot of artists and designers from all over the world. Although, I will only list a few of my favourite illustrators from my country, Romania. I will mention them by their Instagram names, so that it will be easier for you to find & follow: @alinabohoru, @alinamarineq, @ana_banica_illustration, @christina.pirvu, @rina.draws, @kadnanda @emmmib @loreta_isac, @paularusu
You can find Daia's shop and work here: www.daiagrigore.com