Catalin Sotiut Puts Art in Every Letter

Born and raised in Oradea, Catalin Sotiut traveled the world as a tattoo artist and finally settled in Bucharest, where he worked in advertising. Artistically inclined and with a passion for calligraphy, Catalin used his skills and inspiration for clients, putting aside working on his own pieces. Currently living in Cluj, he works as a real estate market analyst at Yardi. We wanted to know more about his artistic work and how the adventurous road he has been on brought him to Yardi Romania.

Tell us three things people should know about you.
First of all, I’m just an ordinary guy with crazy ideas. I’m not more talented than the next guy, but I just work harder at it. And I don’t really see myself as an artist. Again, I’m just a simple guy that loves to make marks on a piece of paper. I’m not looking for recognition or fame. The fewer people know about me, the better. It`s one of the main reasons I don’t have a daily job in the art industry anymore.

How did you get here, at Yardi Romania?
It’s kind of a funny story. I was looking for stability at that moment in my life and a good friend of mine, who lived in Cluj-Napoca, told me about Yardi and how unconventional the work experience is there. So, his girlfriend, who was working at Yardi at the moment, recommended me for an interview. I liked what I saw and heard, so here I am. I really think that I was the right person at the right time.

How does an artist get along with real estate market analysis?
It’s a love/hate relationship really. On the one hand, I really like the challenges that this job throws at you and I kind of like being outside my comfort zone. On the other hand, it does take a lot of getting used to the corporate language, attitude and, basically, the entire “office lifestyle”.
When I was working as a graphic designer for branding and advertising agencies, I had no time for my own projects. All my creativity went into creating stuff for other people. I had no more ideas or will to draw, write, paint or create anything once I got home from the job. But now, as I’m following procedures at work, I don`t use a lot of my creativity at the office, so when I get home at night, I only want to put my ideas on paper.

When and how did you take up typography?
I always had an interest for letters and old writing. I was fascinated with the regularity and the strict guidelines used in the old calligraphy books. I was obsessed with printing procedures and I wanted to know more.
During my years in college I met a lot of people that had the same passion for letters as I did and those people became my friends. We experimented with different styles, tools and ideas and slowly, but surely, we found ourselves loving this new thing we call typography.

What inspires you?
I take inspiration from everyday situations. The thing about typography is that we take ordinary situations and present them in an unusual way. The actual design of the letters is the easy part. The hard part is knowing what to write, what message you want to send and to whom. So, basically, my everyday life inspires me. It`s not that I live a spectacular life, but I just see it differently.

Who are your favorite artists and why?
I have a few favorite artists with different styles and backgrounds. As a tattoo artist, I love the way Nikko Hurtado blends bright colors and dark ink to create depth and brings his work to life. I love how Kitra (Nicu Duta) takes his illustrations and simple patterns to a level that just makes you cry and smile at the same time. These are the types of art I like and hang on the wall above my bed.
When it comes to typography artists, I absolutely love and envy the work of people like Ged Palmer, Chris Labrooy, and Alex Beltechi, who is also a very good friend of mine.

How do you see Cluj in terms of art and culture?

At first, I heard only good things about the Art University here in Cluj, how they experiment with new and old styles and how Cluj is the epicenter for young artists. But after I moved here, I was quite disappointed with the low quality of the street art in this city and with the absence of underground art culture. The few art galleries are full of generic art and I don`t see anything different, no bright ideas written on the wall in a way that can draw the attention of all kinds of people, young and old.
Regarding this matter, I think that the art scene in Cluj can learn a lot from cities like Berlin, Budapest, London and even Bucharest. Or maybe I’m just searching in the wrong places.

Where can people see your art work?
I don’t really advertise myself or my work. Most of my time went into working for advertising agencies or directly for clients. The things I create in my spare time can be seen at Kabinet, The Type Collective’s art gallery in Bucharest. We usually sell artworks. However, what remains we simply give away most times. You can find a sample of what I and my fellow mates from The Type Collective do on our website: www.thetypecollective.com. Also, some of my branding and advertising work can be found on my Behance profile.