An introduction about yourself.
My name is Valentin and because of my obsession with the number 23, people know me as Mr23. I really believe in this magical number and my life gravitated around it.
I was born on June 23, while I used to play professional basketball, I used the number 23, my car’s number is 23, the height difference between me and my wife is 23 cm and so on :))
I used to be a martial arts artist for more than 17 years and in 2008 I turned my life towards dancing and opened a salsa school which become my main profession. I used to compete a lot and in 2010, I won the 5’th place in the world in Bachata and the 7’th place in the world in Salsa, at the World Championships from San Diego.
Do you work on photoshop just for fun or are you a professional digital artist?
I do not consider myself a professional digital artist, I use photoshop like a therapy, to relax, to evade in a new world that I can create and to inspire others also. Because I already knew photoshop, when I opened my dance school, I created all the posters, flyers for my business and they were pretty unique and attracted a lot of people to the dance scene. I used to work as a freelancer in the 2000’s but I stopped when I opened my dance school.
How long have you been working on photoshop?
I believe that I started working, but at a basic level, around 20 years ago, when there weren’t any tutorials, no paid classes and back in the days it was just trial and error.
This pandemic came with bad things, almost ruined my dance business and with a good thing, because I started to create more in Photoshop and upgraded my level like I never could in 19 years. So basically, I took Photoshop more seriously last year, when the pandemic started.
Do you love any particular style of work? Like a few people love to work on only horror. Some prefer fantasy and so on. What kind of works do you do?
As an artist, I tried all the styles, I am not attached to a particular one, because I see potential in fantasy art, NFT art, surrealism, cyberpunk, minimalist, space art, horror etc.
But, if I have to choose one, I am more attracted to fantasy art because I have two small children at home and I love creating things for them.
Can you share your favorite works from your portfolio? Any specific reason why you created it?
I am really attracted to the ideas of dreaming / portals to other worlds and some of my works, or the ones I love the most, contain those things, kids dreaming to become a superhero or someone famous and so on.
I saw that you have your own YouTube channel too. Can you share something about it. How it all started?
Almost all my life I was ashamed to show people my creations, I thought they won’t like my work and I did not trust myself to expose my designs. This pandemic changed it all, because I had to stay more at home I decided to teach and inspire others too. Because I teach people for almost 25 years, I said why not teach them Photoshop too, especially Photo Manipulations. So, in my YouTube videos I tell them each step that I do, I explain them everything, I do not do speed arts and people love that, my channel started to become more popular lately.
Do you follow other digital artists for inspiration? If yes you can mention your favorite artists here.
Yes! Imagine that I discovered Instagram last year only and since I have made my Instagram account, I was shocked by the number of insanely good artists that were out there and I did not know them at all.
So, in no particular order those are one of the greatest artists that inspire me: Phase Runner, Benny Production, Max Asabin, Exolorian, Kevin Garden, Pulkit Kudiwal, Naouri Redouane, Jose Francese, Seventh Voyage, Erik Johansson and I can write you 100 more others!
Do you create 1 image at a time? Or do you work on multiple projects?
I usually work one design at a time, but when I am involved in more projects, I can work at multiple designs in the same time.
Do you use any other software other than photoshop?
Besides Photoshop, I use also Adobe Premiere to create my videos for the YouTube tutorials or for the Instagram Reels, but I am still a beginner in using Premiere.
Do you use reference images while creating on photoshop?
Creating a design is really random, depends on what inspires me at that moment. I use a lot of free websites for photos, but I bought images from the paid ones so I can have quality images too.
Would you like to share a few tips on photoshop? If yes, mention them here.
I would say that following a lot of tutorials from different artists is the best way to grow. There isn’t a perfect way or tool to create, there are just different paths to achieve your goal. In just one year I have changed a lot of my techniques or skills because I simply learned new ways in creating better designs. Even if I use photoshop for 20 years, I still learn from others, because there is so much to learn and I am grateful that other people share their knowledge too.
Since I have opened my YouTube channel, I receive a lot of messages and I see that more and more people don’t have time to do their research, to search for the right pictures, they ask all the time for ideas, for stock images, but the thing is that we are all different and we had a different life experience and for me, finding the right stock images is one of the most important parts of my designs and that’s why sometimes I spend hours in finding the right pictures.
And, the most important thing, working in upgrading your skills and techniques is more important than having a certain stock photo, brush or font.
Anything else you want to share with our readers?
First, I would like to thank you for this interview and to everyone that saw and appreciate my work so far. It means a lot and I am really grateful that I can share my passion!
VALENTIN STEFAN ON YOUTUBE