Bogdan Topîrceanu is part of Aspire Academy 2012 generation. He has a PhD in Visual Arts and, currently, he is teaching arts at Avenor International College and Rubik School. Apart from this, he is developing his own startup, ArtLink, an AR solution for the arts and culture sector.
- What is ArtLink?
ArtLink represents a digital solution conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic through which we wish to help the international artist community keep in touch with its audience through the means of Augmented Reality. We bring the physical experience of an art gallery to everyone owning an AR compatible smartphone, at any time and in any space.
You just download the app, scan the space around you, choose a place where to summon the exhibition, and you can enjoy high-resolution representations of the paintings, drawings, sculptures, videos or animations from the comfort of your home.
2. What side projects do you have?
I have also developed a contemporary art festival in abandoned industrial spaces starting from 2015. Art Factory is a pop-up gallery and contemporary art festival intended to raise awareness regarding the faith of the abandoned industrial spaces. It seeks to (re)activate abandoned sites by organizing cultural events meant to reinstate or temporarily revive these passive spaces that are at risk of disappearing. Thus, I and my team have been trying to bring them back into the community’s circuit by temporarily converting them into cultural points of interest.
Art Factory’s core values are creative dialogue, non-formal education, social involvement of youth and raising awareness towards the current problems of the urban areas. We believe in promoting these values and in the benefits they bring to society, especially through artistic means.
Currently, we are experimenting with new ideas for reviving it in a hibrid way using AR in a post-COVID era. Moreover, we are working on our first iteration which you can experience until the 13th of June by downloading ArtLink here.
You can take a look at the 2018 aftermovie here.
You can also help us find more about the way you consume art by filling up the form here.
3. What is your biggest professional achievement?
Well, I could say that probably completing my PhD thesis has been one of my biggest professional achievements. It was a 4 year effort which helped me put my ideas in order and truly define and contextualize my motivations for drawing. My thesis explores drawing and art in general as a basic human need.
It is a journey which inquires and analyses the act of drawing in all of its aspects: starting from its prehistoric roots in cave paintings and decorative objects til the modern day concepts of art, I amass proof from fields such as brain physiology, psychology, art history, philosophy while also exploring the artists’ own biographies, interviews and correspondences, in order to determine why is drawing a need for the human psyche and how it helps humans in both their development as individuals, and also as species.
It has been probably my most comprehensive analysis of both art and drawing as concepts, and also the most in-depth analysis of my own practice as a visual artist.
4. What is your biggest personal achievement?
Being able to accept failure as part of the growth process. I have been a perfectionist from an early age and I found failure really demotivating in my adolescence and the first years of my youth. The past years though, have taught me a lot and I now perceive failure as a teaching experience from which I can learn how to better myself.
It’s more or less the same as in drawing. It takes a lot of time and practice to master a technique, and many failed experiments. Such is also the entrepreneurial life. Every failure is just another experience which will help you to do better next time. If an idea fails, you will certainly find another one and will also benefit from the experience of your past failures.
5. How did Aspire help you on a personal and on a professional level?
Hmmm… Where to begin?
Aspire was a truly transformative experience. It helped me gain more trust in my own ideas and taught me how to further develop them. The Harvard experience was life-changing, bringing me in contact with a totally different educational system, which was more focused on self-development and less on simply acquiring information.
The professors and peer advisers guided us through theory, practice, case studies, experiments, exercises, in order to finally teach us how to build an idea, a business plan and how to pitch it. The group strategy was marvelous: from the leadership development groups, to the final project teams, you ended up meeting and working with all of your 49 colleagues, helping you turn mere strangers into possible life long friends.
6. One thing you learned at Aspire…
I guess it was more or less, an occasion to rediscover myself, and also rediscover how it is to work with others. I had until then kind of a lone wolf approach to doing things. So, if I were to choose one thing I learned at Aspire, it would probably be teamwork, and the sense of belonging. It was one of the greatest feelings ever.
People who I thought I would never get along with at first proved to be great people I could trust, and also, I saw myself changed: from an anxious teen, not so keen on trusting others, to a confident team player. In order to achieve this I had to admit my fear of failure and fight it. The week-long Aspire experience helped me gain more confidence and also encouraged me to trust people and rely on their skills as well as on mine. So I guess I didn’t just learn only one thing, but many, which still help me guide my life in the present day.
7. One nice memory from Aspire…
The Aspire community was the place which actually inspired me to build my startup.
The first idea started from a conversation I had with a friend, alumna of the same Aspire generation, back in 2013. We were at an Aspire gathering and she asked for recommendations for galleries and museums she could visit. I said I would compile a list for her, and I was baffled to find out that I myself had a hard time finding information on more than a few large galleries in town, which I already knew. There was no list, no database of any kind. This showed me that the lack of centralization, led to disorientation for the common art consumer, which even though interested in exploring the cultural events and locations, had a hard time finding out about them.
So, there and then, I identified the first need: an art aggregation platform.
An easy way to use art portal, for the regular art consumer. From there, it took several years to find the best fitting solution for this need, and we are constantly searching for ways of improvement, but I do believe we are on the right track.
“The Aspire programs and community really had a large impact on my life.”Bogdan Topîrceanu