Liviu Mihai was born in Slatina, small town in Romania, on April 9, 1980. He had an idyllic childhood, full of unforgettable moments in his grandparents’ house, in the countryside.
His passion for painting was born one day, around the age of 11, when his father brought back home a painting he had bought from an amateur painter. Under the spell of the landscape, he wanted to set to canvas his first contact with the world of painting, so he copied it, to the best of his artistic inclinations which, to his great satisfaction, he discovered to be quite important.
At school, his mischievous nature would only find peace with the drawing pad and watercolors. He felt literally overwhelmed by his freshly discovered passion and was eager to cultivate it as often and as intensely as possible. This intensity sometimes resulted in his running out of colors and using toothpaste instead of the white color.
He took his talent for painting outside drawing classes and into the bucolic scenery of his summer holidays in the countryside. Nature was one of his rich sources of inspiration while his grandparents were good subjects for his sketches.
While in secondary school, he started taking drawing and painting lessons from painter Nicolae Truta who showed admiration for the boy’s skills and helped him improve them. Nicolae Truta came to trust Liviu Mihai’s talent completely and, consequently, suggested he should attend Scoala populara de arte.
His parents, however, wanted him to have a military career and did not endorse his artistic plans for the future. His teacher stepped in and managed to convince his parents that their son is actually talented and he should study painting further.
So, in 1995, he becomes student of the painting section of the Art School in Craiova.
Here, he studies with painter Mihail Stefan whose colorful grays as well as nonconformist artistic style and permanent search for experimenting will leave their mark on Liviu Mihai’s own style.
Full of excitement, after his first year at the Art School in Craiova, he puts together his first personal exhibition, in his hometown, Slatina, at the County Library. Parents, close relatives, art lovers and, of course, his first mentor, painter Nicolae Truta, are there.
His passion for drawing and painting drive him to spend endless hours, sometimes whole nights, in the Art School’s studio, together with other students. This is the environment where he learns to distinguish between commercial art and true art. Georges Braques and Nicolae Grigorescu gradually become his artistic references as he is particularly interested in mastering the unique brush stroke of the Romanian painter in his paintings of ox-drawn carts. His high school work is rewarded by prizes at county and national painting competitions.
Throughout the final year of high school, he works on a complex portfolio made of landscapes, still lives, drawings, and studies for the university entrance exam. To his bitter disappointment, he is not admitted to the Bucharest National University of Arts.
Motivated by his failure and the fact that this was his only opportunity to get admitted to university, given that instead of providing the much needed support, his parents are encouraging him to get a job, he starts working on a new portfolio. He studies for a whole year and sets up his own studio in a laundry room in an apartment building in Slatina, provided by an uncle. Before the university entrance exam, he calls on Professor Nicolae Alexe for advice. In 2001, he is admitted to university, the Graphic Art Section, as a student of Mircea Dumitrescu who will encourage and support his artistic endeavors. During his first university years, he studies painting using models and other traditional graphic art techniques such as etching, lithography, and linocut. Professor and painter Ioan Atanasiu’s appreciation of his work throughout university years leads to Liviu Mihai’s taking part in a painting summer camp in Iasi.
After he graduates from university, he starts working in parallel with digital art and traditional painting and drawing.