The magnetism of art lies not only in the fact that it can be visualized by the creator and left open to interpretation by everyone else, but that it can also be composed of any material imaginable. From conventional paint on canvas to works composed entirely from scavenged scrap and industrial waste, art really knows no boundaries.
Romanian artist Darius Hulea’s chosen material is wire made from copper, brass, and stainless steel, all of which he shapes into portraits of well-known philosophers, artists, poets, and other icons from the past.
Like many artists, Hulea had muses in his childhood that significantly influenced his artistic trajectory. For starters, both his grandmother and great grandmother were weavers, creating brilliantly colored fabrics in conventional, intricate geometric patterns in Romania all throughout his youth. His grandfather, a wood craftsman who worked with a wide range of agricultural tools, was also a role model from whom Hulea gained insight and stimulation. Observing the magic of creation using one’s hands and imagination was a major factor in his rise to prominence as a world-class sculptor.
Classic Meets Contemporary
Many pen and pencil drawings of renowned sculptors’ in-progess works have gone on to become as famous as the sculptures themselves. They reveal the painstaking process the artists go through to perfect every angle before they begin molding clay, metal, or stone — procedures they frequently repeat many times before the pieces are completed.
Although Hulea’s work is labeled contemporary because he uses wire in his creations, his sculptures are ingrained in the fundamentals of classical drawing. His labyrinths of both wide and narrow metal strands closely resemble the pen and pencil strokes found in sketchpad images by history’s great sculpting masters. Many of Hulea’s creations also appear unfinished, giving observers the freedom to truly interpret their meaning all on their own.
The Aesthetic Allure of Wire
Hulea claims that working with different types and sizes of metal wire gives him endless options for creativity. After all, wire can be distorted, restyled, and turned in a myriad of ways to fashion all kinds of shapes and forms. He explains: “I hope that people will understand that I do nothing but draw in a new way, in a durable material of the past. I can then explore and research, as an artist, mythical, Renaissance, and modern thinking by finding three-dimensional examples that describe us now in a history of the past.”
Many conventional artists are limited by their materials, which is why Hulea embraces working in metal so passionately. He uses wire as thin as fiber optic materials to produce the exact shades he desires. When he’s ready to generate dauntless curves and shapes, thicker wires come into play. He sees this freedom as a great asset in creating works that bring the past to the present, noting: “I discovered during my second year of college that the great artists of modern history used the principle of drawing in space or drawing the space through different metallic structures…For me, this type of drawing is what we find in the sketches of the great artists of the Renaissance like Michelangelo and Da Vinci — serious and realistic compositions that anyone can understand.”