Interview with the EYE alumni, Roxana Luca
Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Luca Roxana-Emlia. I am an art student, following the Master Programme of Curatorial Practices and Art Management in Romania. I usually live in my hometown, Alba Iulia. I am an emergent entrepreneur, who opened a start-up company of design and printing, called Omcuom. In my hometown I am a curator at the Museum of Sacred Icon and member of a cultural NGO. As professional experience I worked as an artist, graphic designer and mostly photographer.
When and why did you decide to take part in the EYE?
I was thinking of a year before 2020, but things needed time for a proper arrangement. I wanted to participate in this program because I am impressed by the academic and European structure of learning and keeping diplomatic and cultural exchanges between countries. I also wanted to find out more about the publishing sector and how it works at a big level of proficiency.
When you participated in the Erasmus experience exchange? Where? How long was the exchange period?
I started my exchange in the 5th of October, 2020, at Vetro Editions Publishing House based in Berlin, founded by the host entrepreneur Luca Bendandi, an Italian designer. It was a short but intense period of learning, of 2 months.
What support did you get from your IO?
I got plenty of suggestions towards my best choice. The responsible for the association I worked with, Cordelia, searched for appropriate applications for my interest. She was always available to represent my position in the program and she helped me in the end with a further application into a social crowdfunding program. So everything was more than I expected because we have also built a friendship.
Can you tell me how you benefitted from the programme?
I have learned all the process behind a book distribution and its launching. Also, I gained great insights into what the publishing business sector deals with, on a global scale, from my host entrepreneur, who is working both on a larger scale and with niches. Fortunately, I was provided with great documentation and lessons.
Because we hosted and created the exhibitions, I have learned how to make proper contact with the artists and how to curate in a foreign cultural community. I made the most expected contacts, grace to Luca, my HE, in all areas of the cultural world I was interested in (models, cinema entrepreneurs, artists, dj, producers, cultural merchandisers, publishing houses managers, designers, etc.).
How was your business plan changed or influenced by your EYE experience?
The exchange helped me to overview my aims in the company for the following future. I realized I need not only more financial investment, but also a different strategy in order to fit into the publishing field-which made me question my intentions of going out on the market in this shape. After the whole experience, I wish to open a new company, a cafe with art and design books (where I can promote the books that are already produced by Luca, my HE, and many other great workers in this field). I would like to promote the idea of exploring a contemporary book and appreciating those workers which deserve more artistic autonomy and appreciation. Regarding the publishing sector, I firstly wanted to influence the Art Academy where I study to create a profile for this study but then I realized that within my power, there could be the possibility of creating an Art of Books Class that will give people a more stable perspective upon the publishing sector to go. So, in the end, not influencing the creation of books in the first place (working with the materials), but trying to work with what is more accessible, the knowledge and exploration of its history and concepts.
Meanwhile, I am also benefiting, as a result of this program, from a social entrepreneurship course that helped me launch a crowdfunding campaign with the idea of a coffee&books art place. I hope this idea will get more accessible towards the brilliant minds around.
What is the relationship with your Host Entrepreneur now, six months after the exchange?
My relationship with Luca, my HE, is simply amazing. We are both keeping in contact. The roads were in such a way that we met again in Barcelona, the city in which I am currently working in another Erasmus Program. He offered to help me with a donation of books so that I could add them as rewards in the crowdfunding program. He now does amazing photographs, and I think I have a little role of inspiration in this (because I am mostly doing fashion and art photoshoots, which he also does now, mostly)-of course, he engaged with the best designers of natural material clothes and so on, which is absolutely stunning!
What did you learn from the experience?
From this experience, I have learned that it is very important to follow an Erasmus program in order to meet your desired job. Only in this way you could see if it is made for you or what this “dream job” that we are all running in lives for actually means. Mostly, everything is knowledge. For me, that was important to realize that I can contribute even in a greater way, in a more useful way that I had first proposed to myself. Changing jobs, changing ideas, there’s nothing bad with it. We live in a world of Fab Labs, where the target is sustainable and responsible development. Second, I have spent some great time in the city among a lot of cultural people and it was important for me to interact and also try my own skills in a broader and more coagulated community regarding my interests.
How is your business developing?
As I said before, my business is going slow but safely. I learn from other people’s risks and I know more precisely towards what am I disposed to go. I really hope to succeed with my crowdfunding campaign and if not, I will keep on trying.
What are the latest innovations you brought into your business or the latest innovative changes you made to your business?
So I basically changed the whole structure of my business. Now I am planning that my book or periodic production will work just as a secondary service, in very rare situations (so that I can also concentrate on a good topic to get out with on the market, not just a collection of information or reiteration, visual creation-in respect for the intellectual work and education and also for artist books). The first service I want to dedicate to the coffee shop will gather people and cultural actors, students that can have the possibility to invest in a recent publication in an actual artist. I plan to sell books the both local and worldwide actual and cultural publishers and also art objects from the locals. In this way, I can set up the scene of interest in whatever future publication I would like to bring onto the market. In my case, at least, there are a few changes to go on the market with publishing as the main work. This is the field I don’t necessarily recommend to anyone who would like to start a business now. I have seen in Barcelona places like art shops/libraries with a separate spaces with printing machines and serigraphy, where they produce their work. I think this is a more relevant option for creation.