7 Moments of Andreea Iuliana

6 February 2020 text Violeta Ivanova
After 3 years of studying Animation in London, the academic environment kind of made her hate it and drop it at the end - at least for now, Then she traveled the world for another 3 years, trying to be as sustainable as she can - she had little luggage, little money and slept in a tent and on people's couches a lot. All of this made Andreea (who's originally from Timisoara, Romania) a pretty flexible person.

Along the way, she learnsed how to make stick and poke tattoos and became super keen on activism: first, she helped in a refugee kitchen in Thessaloniki, then a good cause introduced her to Sofia as well, where she liked it so much that she's living here now. She and her partner Aya continue to tattoo people under the name @cica.da, and with the queer feminist art collective Violetki Andreea runs events and workshops and insists that creating art is everybody's right, it's not just for people who have studied it. Andreea herself is multi-talented though - she makes video art, documentaries, photography and these crazy drawings that can sometimes make you laugh, other times shock you a little, but will definitely make you eager to hear more about the author.

The moments that make you wanna pick up your camera
I've been photographing regularly since I was about 12. I used to do it with my cousins, we were taking pictures of each other and when I was a teenager I was taking a lot of self-portraits which helped me get through body image issues. I like to document my friends and my family, stuff I see on the street and in my travels. I don't keep a written diary so photos help me remember.

The moment when you want to try something new on the blank piece of paper
I have many different styles and mediums that I work with. I used to hate that about myself, I thought every great artist had one recognizable style and that I should have one, too. It's even more insidious these days with Instagram culture and every artist having to "brand" themselves. So I tried to find other artists who are like me - Max Ernst is a good example. That dude was a genius and his work is very varied. Now I just have fun with everything I do and I don't analyze it anymore.

The moment you first tattooed another human
The first human I tattooed was myself. I actually couldn't believe it when people started asking me if I can tattoo them. The first time I did it on another person I did a terrible job but she loved it. She lives in a different country which is good for me because if I had to see that tattoo regularly I would die of embarrassment.

The moment that pushed you towards social activism
When I was a kid I had a very strong sense of what was fair and what wasn't. My family is really poor on both sides and my parents struggled a lot to raise me. Then in university I was reading about different issues, but I didn't consider myself a political person. In 2016 I went to Greece to volunteer in a DIY kitchen in Thessaloniki which prepared food for refugees. There's a documentary about the people there called I wish I was a bird, which can be watched online for free. My experience made me feel so empowered. I understood that meaningful change doesn't come from the top but from grassroots activism and strong communities. I've been an activist ever since.

The scariest moment you experienced while travelling sustainably
A scary moment I experienced while traveling was at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. Me and Aya decided to camp in the forest a few km away from the border. A really scary dude showed up holding a rifle gun. He unloaded it in front of us - some empty shells fell on the grass. He started questioning us, and I realised that he wasn't a border cop. He told us that there's refugees in the forest and that we should be careful. We asked him what he was doing and he said "I'm just out for a walk". After he left I cried out of fright and anger. This was before I worked with refugees in Greece.

The moment when you moved to Sofia
When I moved to Sofia I felt like home right away. It's very similar to Romania but different enough to keep me interested. I love how all the neighborhoods kind of have their own personality. Some of the best, kindest, and most creative people I've met are here. So I plan on staying here for a while.

Andreea Iuliana is on instagram.com/nada.ree


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