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Art Essay: Pencil Nex – New Generation Art in Eastern Europe, after the Communist struggle

By Damian Targan
ART TIMES online January 2014

Cowboy Drawing by Alex VranceanuCowboy Drawing by Alex Vranceanu

A group of Seven young artists from Romania, born on the edge of communism and capitalism in Eastern Europe, are trying to regain “the territory” that arts and culture lost during the communist regime, through their project, called Pencil Nex (

During the Soviet Union and while the communist regime was present in most of the Eastern European countries, art was one of those fields that were stepped aside to allow factory workers and other industrialist affaires to prosper. Although the Romanian revolution against the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his communist party took place in December 1989, art in this country and in other former communist countries in Eastern Europe still didn’t rise up to its amazing potential, due to the fact that people were more interested in buying jean, oranges, bananas, chocolate and other things that were not available back then.

Given the fact that everything you brought in Romania from abroad would definitely sell because people were breathing the new found capitalist air, nobody took a serious interest in art because the effort of making a living through art and culture was much more difficult than buying a large variety of things and selling them to Romanians that were still “living a dream”.

Drawing by Diana NineDrawing by Diana Nine

This is where Pencil Nex comes in, as a group of artists determined to change mentalities amongst the young generation of Romania, Eastern Europe and to make their voices heard all around the world. These young artists represent Eastern Europe's new age art, having a very unique way of drawing and mastering the graphic arts, which is a real subject considering the fact that during Romania's communist regime art was mainly forbidden and considered a waste of time. Pencil Nex's unique way of doing things and the way they bring art closer to the people and bringing people closer to the artist represents the new current in Eastern Europe.

Pencil Nex is trying to revive Romania's art & culture after almost 40 years of struggle in the communist regime. They are a new online phenomenon and represent the new generation art current, bringing back art to the attention of the young generation. These young Romanian artists really stand out as the voice of a generation, taking attitude in front of political corruption in Romania and also giving something pleasurable for the public eye.

They have a very well defined mission to bring back ART to the attention of the new generation who is constantly preoccupied about gossip and non-values being constantly hooked to their smart phones, not noticing any of the surrounding natural beauties and almost never taking interest in problems that affect all of us, one way or the other.

The group creates various forms of graphical arts, starting from portraits of different famous and regular people, cartoons with different messages, caricatures about politicians and certain events that affect people from Romania and all around the world and they also design logos numerous graphic shapes, forms and landscapes, getting their inspirations from people, just like you and me, from day to day problems and events and from their background which is based on a long transition period from communism to capitalism very common for modern Eastern Europeans today.

Drawing by Jean C. CiuntiDrawing by Jean C. Ciunti

“It’s a very difficult path we have chosen, but we are very determined to stick to it because we know that it is just a matter of time before art will flourish once again in Romania, Eastern Europe and in the rest of the world. Given the fact that communism was based on quantity, not quality, we are trying to communicate, through our artworks, that the poles have to be reverse. Everybody should start wanting quality over quantity, being an example of mind over matter” Mr. Vlad Teodorescu Birla, Co-Manager at pencil Nex declared.

Pencil Nex is a project based on arts and culture, which comes as a response to a very visible need for beautiful things that have a story, that are not made just to be made and for the desire of having something unique, something that can without a doubt be called art.

Having more and more fans and appreciations from people all around the world, this young group is very well focused on its goal of making art and culture a priority in any country, because that is the only way you can have a strong and civilized society.

“Along with Ana-Maria Toma, Diana Nine, Alex Vranceanu, Martin Duma, Doru Jean Ciuntu, Vlad Teodorescu Birla and all the people who have showed us support since we’ve started the Pencil Nex project, we believe that without art and culture, you can have a population, but you cannot have a society that will understand the needs for living in a civilized country and a better world”, Ms. Cristina Borbely, Co-Manager at Pencil Nex mentioned.

Drawing by Martin DumaDrawing by Martin Duma

Making and promoting art and culture is not easy anywhere in the world and it’s even more difficult in former communist countries who are not 100% adapted to the idea that you can enjoy art even if there is no material benefit in it, even if it’s just for giving you an idea and maybe a new perspective on the way we treat others or on the way we live our lives.

With such an ambitious young generation represented by artists and intellectuals that are trying to make a change for the better in the world, fighting political corruption and ignorance, everybody can tell that a hard road is ahead, but if you keep going further, you will manage to reach the point where the voice of art will be not just heard, but also listened and understood.

Pencil Nex artists are very young, enthusiastic and willing to share their project and creations with everybody, all for the sake of ART & CULTURE and this is why they need your support. To admire their works or to see more about the project, go to their Facebook page, Twitter or e-mail them at

(Damian Targan, arts & culture enthusiast and world-wide traveler was born in Poland.)

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