István Bába: “There were many things in life that I tried, liked and still like, but what I enjoyed most was the process of creating something.

How and why did you start your artistic career?


I think, like for many of us, it was a necessity rather than a conscious decision. There were many things in life that I tried, liked and still like, but what I enjoyed most was the process of creating something. I love seeing an idea start to materialize and take shape on a flat surface, be it canvas or paper, it doesn’t matter. I fight for that feeling every day, and I fight against it too. It’s like an eternal dance that I was drawn into without my will, and now I feel more and more secure in it.


How did you discover your medium and why did you choose it?


Oil paint was the tool that gave me the best illusion of freedom. Of course, I tried a lot of other mediums too. I’ve played around with acrylics, pencils, digital drawing, sometimes I make sculptures with clay, but oil on canvas is the medium that gives me the results that I desire the most.


Can you talk about your creative process? How was your work born? How long do you take? When do you know it’s over?


Most of my paintings happen in a spontaneous way. I have an idea, make notes so I don’t forget it, and the next day, or whenever possible, I make some sketches or put them directly on a canvas. Sometimes I look for reference images to get a touch of reality for even my wildest ideas. I believe that a good painting must be inspired by the real world, but it can go further and cross the boundaries at any time.

Although painting is a place of freedom for me, where all the tools are like extensions of myself, I am also a perfectionist in this field and the harshest critic of my work. If the painting isn’t taking the shape I would like to, then I discard it and start over. It is difficult to say when a painting is finished – there are paintings that are finished in a short time and others that will never be finished.

Who are your favorite artists? Which ones are you inspired by?


For me, being a painter means not only focusing on my work, but also looking at and admiring the works of other artists. When it comes to art, I would describe myself as an omnivore. I love to marvel at a beautiful idea, an incredible solution, some unforgettable colours, brushstrokes, but my eyes are also open to films, music, theatre and poetry.

I research the art and artists based on the topics and projects I am developing at that specific time.
If I’m interested in figurative painting, I look for the classics, Spanish or Italian masters. For more conceptual ideas, I always look at what my fellow artists are doing, or some leading contemporary figures. I can’t name just one favourite.


Name: István Bába
Residence: Cluj, Romania
Occupation: Painter