“My photography is centered on what it is to be human. It’s figurative. As an artist and a Doctor, I am interested in the body and our nature. I want the viewer to experience and think upon our humanity through my creativity vision.”
Born in the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca, the unofficial capital of Transylvania, artist C Fodoreanu M.D. grew up fifty miles from the infamous Bran Castle. The fortress more commonly known as Dracula’s Castle.
At a young age, Fodoreanu was taught the family tradition of glass iconography. His father taught him the time-honored traditions that were passed down through generations from his Great-Great-Grandfather. Romania has a long history of folk-art paintings of sacred images on the reverse of glass plates since the 18th Century.
Creativity simply was an essential part of life among his extended family as he was surrounded by musicians, opera singers, and cello players. As a teenager he attended music school and found a fascination in the arts as he explored oil painting, poetry, and photography.
He recalls going to antique markets where people would gather from villages across the country who spoke all kinds of dialects. This inspired him to write a dictionary that translated archaic sayings into contemporary expressions. Eventually, Fodoreanu wrote three books of poetry that were published while he was in High School.
“My poetry plays with the ideas of language,” said Fodoreanu. “The dialect is so ancient that today’s Romanians may not exactly understand the words but would have a solid intuition of what they mean. I plan to bring it into my current photography but it’s a slow process as it requires a command of old English that I am learning to properly convey the subtle translations between the past and the present.”
Fodoreanu came to the US with his family, originally settling in the Los Angeles region. When he visited San Diego to study at University of California San Diego (UCSD), he knew that this would become home.
“I have traveled to many beautiful places across Europe but nothing captured my spirit like San Diego”
He received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from UCSD in 2007, followed by a Doctor of Medicine from Harvard in 2011. Over the next two years, he plans to complete his Master of Fine Arts from School of Visual Arts in New York.
Photography became an outlet to balance the weight of his medical studies. While at Harvard, he organized and curated a photographic exhibition called ‘A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words‘ to establish funds to hire a Spanish language tutor for the student body to learn medical terminology. This was followed by his first solo exhibition entitled ‘SPLITS‘ that focused on the impact of the split decisions.
“I am particularly proud that I was able to bring the creative spirit to the medical campus. It opened the doors for future medical students to express their own artistic visions.”
During this time, he accumulated a lot of photographic images that are just now coming to light. Having settled into his professional career as a pediatrician, he now has time to bring his artistic work to completion.
In 2019, Fodoreanu partnered with Miguel Henry Tovar and opened Cornel/Henry Art in Liberty Station with the sole idea to bring his medical and creative worlds together.
“I work with many at-risk kids who have tremendous potential. Unfortunately, I also see society, culture and economics setting up roadblocks to their success. If memories and experiences can shape development, I wanted to create a positive experience through the arts for the kids that could have a lasting impact.”
Fodoreanu and Tovar established ‘Street Smart,’ a photographic exhibit with a catalog providing 100% of the funds going to create an educational fund for young artists. The exhibition included a book signing reception, Q&A time with professionals, and press interviews to showcase the possibilities that life has to offer for the kids.
This was followed by his own solo exhibitions alongside invitationals celebrating works by other artists showcasing Motherhood, Black Lives and Queer Photography. When COVID-19 hit, he decided to close his studio for a time.
“For me, I think that as a physician I am witness to things that regular people may not experience. I meet someone and immediately come to an understanding of their life. I suffer with them. I experience joy with them; of course that affects me tremendously. As a doctor concerned with healing, I have to be sensitive to my patients and I carry the weight of their lives and treatments. My art helps me to channel that weight.”
Recently moving into The Studio Door, Fodoreanu is ready to refocus on his own work. As he slowly rolls out each photographic series that have been accumulating over the past 15 – 20 years, he is creating small editions of work. For example, his studio currently reveals the work from the series ‘motus corporis.’ Shadows and multiple exposures of male forms move across the black and white photography creating a sense of urgency and timelessness.
“When I first learned how to use the camera, I came across a lot of accidental effects that I now incorporate into my contemporary work. For example, before digital cameras, my Leica Camera required that you manually roll the film to the next frame. The double and triple exposures that inadvertently occurred then, now influences how I use it as an assumed effect in my photography.”
Fodoreanu is looking forward to being a part of Hillcrest’s art community and is planning a “Street Smart’ follow up exhibit in the near future.
“I’m looking forward to continuing my growth as an artist and see San Diego become as important as Los Angeles in the art scene. We certainly have the potential.”
C Fodoreanu can be found online at www.cfodoreanu.com and on Instagram at @cfodoreanu.
Patric Stillman is a fine artist and gallery owner of The Studio Door. If you are an artist in San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community and would like to be featured in an artist profile, please contact Patric for consideration at [email protected].