The Block

Art & Culture — 4 months ago

Creative Living: Cracklez

Artist Cracklez shares his creative life. 


Based in Bucharest, Romania, illustrator and graphic designer Cracklez draws on skate culture, ‘90s anime and video games for his energetic images.


Freelance for almost four years now, Cracklez doesn’t really draw a boundary between life and work – the experiences he has away from his desk only serve as inspiration: 


“It can be as simple as watching people chatting, or a guy wearing something weird. Anything that makes me want to start a graphic.”  


Here he discusses growing as an artist, routine, and grappling with life as a freelancer. 


Shop Cracklez’ T-shirts here.

Everpress Team
Courtesy of Cracklez

When do you feel most creative?

Almost all the time. I usually think a lot before I start working on a graphic. I let a bunch of ideas and concepts take over my mind, and then I keep the ones that matter. In the times that I’m not feeling creative enough, I will play some games or do something else until it comes back.

Tell me a little about your relationship to deadlines? Do you meet them easily? And do you need them to motivate you?

There are times when I’ve worked on tight deadlines, something like between three and four days for more than five graphics. I think they are good as an exercise to see how you perform in a time frame, but honestly, I’m not a fan of that type of work. I like to take my time when I’m doing a graphic; pulling references from different sites and images, looking for typefaces, and whatever else. 

I like to take my time

Courtesy of Cracklez

In general, I try my best when I’m doing a graphic to sit down and to not rush it. Some graphics can be done in one day, and others in more than two weeks. When I’m working on a graphic I’m not just making a graphic. I have to put everything I have into it, and try to come up with something different. ‘Different’ can mean the topics I reference in my graphics, the way that something is drawn, layouts, typography, all of that. I treat my work pretty seriously. 

Do you need routine?

I have some sort of a routine. I tend to wake up between 07:00 AM and 08:00 AM, do some exercises until 10:00 AM, eat, then work until 21:00 PM or 22:00 PM. It’s roughly like that, but not neccessarily all the time. 

Courtesy of Cracklez

How much do you adhere to a ‘conventional’ 9-5 working week?

I’ve been a freelancer for almost four years now and I have to say, I really don’t know how I would handle a 9-5. It’s not even that I’m afraid of working those hours, it’s that sometimes the people you are working with are the ones that make the job a nightmare. Over these past years I’ve worked with a lot of cool brand owners and established a bond with them. They respect my work and my vision and we treat each other like friends. I feel like these types of connections wouldn’t happen that often on a regular job.  

Do you work better in the morning or the evening? 

It used to be at night, but now I just work. It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t have a time of the day where I’m going crazy.

Do you work on the weekends? 

Mostly yes. The only times I’m not working are either health stuff or family time.

Work and life blend

Courtesy of Cracklez

Do you try to draw a clear line between ‘life’ and ‘work’ or does it all blend into one?

I don’t want to be seen as a workaholic. I do hang out with my friends, go out with my girlfriend and take trips, but during those times I tend to have a voice in my head that says, “Dude, you are wasting time, go do that graphic you wanted to do,” or, “Study that stuff.” That’s because I have high expectations of myself, and I know that with work and dedication I can reach those. Overall I think, for me, that work and life blend, because the experiences that I have away from work end up inspiring me and appearing in my work. 

On days when you hit a creative block, what do you do to get past it?

I tend to study. I like going back to the basics, that’s always helped me. It is a way of making you grow and it unlocks new doors for you to create. Currently I’m working on my anatomy skills, drawing muscles and all that. I’m trying to learn them in my own way. I have had some burnouts and low moments where I’ve said, “Man, I feel like I’m not evolving, I’m not feeling inspired.” and that’s led to insecurity and depression. Once I started practicing on things that I hadn’t mastered, I became more confident in my existing skills, and ideas started to come because I’d opened up my understanding of how something is drawn. 

Courtesy of Cracklez

How has your relationship with your practice evolved over the years?

I feel on the right path right now. My work has really developed, and my mind too. I already see how I want my art to look over the next few years, and I’m super proud of myself for not stopping this journey.

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