Andrei Oltean about the Street Art Festival in Sibiu

Andrei Oltean about the Street Art Festival in Sibiu

One of the people from Sibiu is Andrei Oltean, the director of the International Street Art Festival hosted in recent years in Sibiu. He answered some questions about art, the festival, the street art tour and other interesting things.

1. Hello Andrei. We met today to talk about the street art festival that brings color to Sibiu. First of all, what is this street art?

Hello, New Concept Living. Well, let's start with the beginning and tell you a few words about what street art means. The form of expression through drawings began in antiquity. We refer here to paintings, rock sculptures, significant caves. Subsequently, this art took on millions of forms.
For example, the USA-New York Mafia used street art to delimit areas, to mark its territory. Both texts and symbols were used.
In Romania there was a young movement in the 1980s, and later in the steps - Jos Ceausescu -. This was the first manifestation of street art, it was powerful and it was represented by repeated episodes of vandalization against the Government. Such events also took place in Sibiu. Later, in the 2000s, artists would tag themselves, put up a label to spread a message or lease a building, and a work of art would be born there.

Today, street art proposes the beautification of the city through art. The revolt was given up, today we want to bring beauty to a beautiful Sibiu anyway. We brought in the organized festivals several artists who draw in colors, sprays, artists who have superb work techniques, muralists. Thus, the results can only be works of art in the true sense of the word.

2. When did Sibiu International Street Art Festival start in Sibiu?

The first edition of the Sibiu Street Art Festival took place in 2014. It was and still is the first festival that painted the educational institutions in the country, and we are very happy about this. We managed to change the face of the city, but also the mentalities of the people. We have entered the soul of the children, our works being present from the beginning in schools. We strongly believe that the education of the little ones is paramount and we want to have more educated masses in the future.

3. Who are these beautiful projects budgeted in Sibiu budgeted for?
Like any cultural approach, we benefit from both private and public funds. We enjoy the support of Sibiu City Hall, which covers a large part of the festival's costs, we also contribute in person, but we also have private partners. There are many cultural projects, so funding is shared. That is why it is essential to have private support.

4. Where do the artists who give life to the buildings in Sibiu find their inspiration? Or more simply, how to decide what is to be painted?
Artists find inspiration in their daily lives, and their vision is beautifully transposed through drawing, color and shapes. The vision also has an abstract side. Before the festival there is a Call for Application, when the artists register.

The commission analyzes the works according to theme and history and chooses those projects that are to be painted on the buildings in Sibiu. Depending on the theme, we want to choose works that are close in terms of color. After the works are chosen, we choose the locations. People are becoming more and more open about places, but we still get old and afraid.

5. Who are the most famous artists who made paintings in Sibiu?
The greatest artists in the country always come to Sibiu with pleasure. Among them I mention the Square Cat, Sweet Damage Crew, Ortaku. We also have international artists, for example Francisco Camilo (Portugal), Wasp Elder (UK), Dinho Bento (Brazil). Brazil is by far the most fashionable country in street art, but it comes from Russia too. For example, in Russia there are restrictions with billboards, but authorities allow artists to paint advertisements on the facades of buildings.

6. I know that in addition to the beautiful paintings on the buildings, SISAF proposes a more complex program every year. Can you give us some details?

Sure you do. In addition to paintings on buildings, SISAF welcomes art lovers with painting workshops, street art, templates, we have film screenings, live painting demonstrations and much more. Some prefer to remain a surprise until the moment of the festival. However, this year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, these events will be limited.

7. What does Street Art Tour mean?
Street Art Tour is the first street art tour in Romania, inaugurated by us in 2014. A few lines followed at national level. We are glad that we have been an inspiration for others and we support all efforts for art.

8. What are the plans for SISAF 2020? Who are the artists we will host in Sibiu?
We respect the isolation imposed by the authorities and we must admit that in 2020 we will have a festival otherwise, not necessarily as content but different as form. Up to 3 artists work once in a work, so it cannot be about crowding or breaking restrictions. Thus, the festival could take place today, say.

However, the current conditions will determine us to limit the events organized adjacent to the festival.
But without a gift, the festival will be an interesting one. The theme is ORIGINS, also reflecting current times. It causes us to go back to our origins, to our bases. Let's emphasize kindness, mutual help and altruism. Let's go back to those times when values ​​were not money or functions, but pure, simple things whose importance has diminished over time, unfortunately.

9. What is the feedback from Sibiu vis-à-vis the steps of this festival?
People's feedback is satisfactory. People are enjoying the color, the change in the city year after year, the animation that is born on a soft gray wall, for example. We have incredible support from the volunteers. Without them, the festival would be almost impossible.

10. Finally, please tell us, what does SISAF mean for Sibiu?
Sibiu International Street Art Festival means revitalizing the city through art. Every year we want to help the flowering of Sibiu, to fill the streets with color and to bring joy on the faces of the people of Sibiu and beyond. The festival has been promoted every year on national media channels, so all Romanians enjoy it.
At the same time, the festival continues the artistic movement started in 2007, when Sibiu was the European Capital of Culture. We are glad that we have good ideas, which are taken over by other communities, cities in Romania and even from outside.