Filled with adventure, intriguing characters, obstacles to overcome and startling twists, the story of Ovidiu Avram began in Teiuş, a small town in Romania, noted for its role as a crucial railroad junction. It was the 1950's when traveling by train was the most popular means of transport and steam engines were still in use. Due to his innate passion for knowledge and exploration, it was only a short while before he developed an enduring fascination with those captivating vapor emanating mechanisms. During his early years, it was his grandfather who engaged the young Avram in building miniature wooden wagons together, an activity that induced the child to continue fabricating his own toys, predominantly locomotive engines, plus all kinds of other vehicles that his fantasy conjured up. Careful in guiding his grandson's as yet veiled potential he was the one who piqued his interest in the profound contents of a comprehensive library, and the one responsible for teaching him how to venerate outstanding writings. Although he was an earnest collector of valuable books, he was forced to keep them in hiding, lest a neighbor or an informer would denounce him to the "Securitate", The Department of State Security. Subsequently, when he was in the seventh grade, his parents hired a private tutor, to ensure that their son would benefit from a well-rounded education. Keenly aware of the latest advancements in the cultural and scientific domains, his contribution was paramount in molding the personality of the tender adolescent. As an exceedingly genteel, scholarly, at the same time exigent and rigorous man, his mentor nurtured Avram's ardent desire for reading, for learning, for cultivation. Once he penetrated the complexity of painting, possessing a solid, lettered foundation, he was immediately aware of his inner resonance with it.
His relentless father, who had wished for his son to become an engineer, disapproved of his choice of study, and sent him to the "Liceul Industrial Construcţii de Maşini", the specialized High School for Industrial Engineering in Cugir. There, despite the desperation he had to grapple with, he familiarized himself with many techniques in the field that would prove especially favorable for the artistic work he would create in the future. The fact that he was surrounded by mathematical and mechanical disciplines prompted him to associate himself with several literary reviews as both a poet and graphic artist. Trying to cope with such an unwanted reality was also the catalyst that sparked his need to maintain his esthetical strivings alive, when he arranged his first show in Teiuş, at The Romanian Railway Club. Relieved to have completed that part of his life, mature enough to choose for himself and disencumbered by dominating, paternal authority, he attended the "Institutul de Arte Plastice Ion Andreescu", The Ion Andreescu Institute of Art in Cluj-Napoca, from which he graduated in 1979. Committed to his creative path he participated in national solo exhibitions, as well as produced covers and illustrations for books. A rare opportunity arose for him when he found a position as a designer at "CERO", The Institute of Ceramics and Glass Research in Cluj-Napoca. Gratefully accepting the only available offer, he commenced experimenting with techniques for the metallizing of ceramics and porcelain. Consequently, that novel source of inspiration enabled him to accomplish unique small-scale sculptures and bas-reliefs out of metal covered porcelain.
In the 1980's when the communist regime indoctrinated its population with a highly rigid propaganda, his paintings displayed a realm that did not conform to the implacable requirements of the dictatorship. Censorship was severe and artistic license was controlled. Unattainable, any communication with the world beyond the Iron Curtain ceased. Attempting to make contact with the Western European artistic community, regardless of the challenges that threatened him, in 1985 he succeeded in sending engravings to Germany illicitly, four years before the historical Revolution that culminated with Romania's liberation. Touched by them, Rom-Art's gallery owner, Hans Joachim Grove, exposed those artworks in his gallery whenever they managed to surreptitiously make their way past the strict border patrol. Ultimately, nothing less than a lifelong collaboration ensued between Grove and Avram.
At a moment when he was fiercely disheartened, he met the erudite Nicolae Steinhardt through some mutual friends. Steinhardt soon became a pivotal figure in his existence, owing to his vast wisdom and his singular capacity to conduct discussions about an astonishing variety of subjects. Dejected and faced with little but grim misgivings, he had a number of failed attempts to flee Romania. With difficulty, in 1988 he signed up for an excursion to Poland, having obtained a visa for twenty days. Unhesitatingly he seized the opportunity and stayed there for six months, as an illegal immigrant. Circumstances facilitated his affiliation with "Solidarity", the first independent labor union in a country that belonged to the Soviet bloc. On account of their intervention and a letter of recommendation signed by the reputable Lech Walesa, he crossed the border over to Hungary. Unfortunately, his situation continued to be just as compromising in Hungary, which was still in the clutch of communism itself. For his next step, surprisingly enough, he was aided by two airport customs officers, who were aspiring to become students at The Academy of Fine Arts. After a tumultuous struggle, he landed in Occidental Europe at last.
Cologne provided what he had longed for, thus he remained there for an interval, having been granted political asylum. Drawn by the prospect of being among other international artists, he lived at Wachsfabrik, a former candle factory that had been converted into a quaint colony for artists. Individual studio spaces, an extensive library and well equipped facilities were available for those who sought to immerse themselves in an enriching entourage. Unhindered by the fetters of suppression and having gained access to much sought-after reading material, the freedom to study intensively was his to honor. Delving straight in, his intellectual effort encompassed various topics, including philosophy, physics, chemistry, engineering and mechanics.
By 1992, after having absorbed a substantial number of scholarly and painterly experiences, he returned to his homeland. The absence of his friends, of the cafes he had frequented with their alluring charm and the tranquility of his studio in Teiuş called him back. Having suffered oppression for decades, Romania opened its gates, permitting the vigorous flood of contemporary ideologies, habits and behavior to gradually infiltrate and combine with the established, pre-existing ones. It was a period of effervescence when the artistic milieu was abuzz with chances for renewal and improvement. What followed could be referred to as a renaissance in Avram's artistic career, studded with multiple exhibitions in numerous cities throughout the country and around the globe. Painting retained its significance for him and his loyalty to it never wavered, nonetheless the learning he had accumulated tirelessly was conducive to his initiating sundry projects in different areas. He conceived the design of door ornaments made of cast iron, as well as metal sculptures intended to adorn decorative armoires and clocks. Besides emanating a soothing ambient light, his intricate table lamps comprised zeolites, Himalayan crystals and essential oils. Functionality merged with artistry when he had his images printed on upholstered chairs using ecological paint and silk screened on dressy blouses and shirts. Occasionally, he tackled the often flamboyant arena of scenography for the "Teatrul Naţional", The National Theater in Cluj-Napoca.
Not a stranger to hardships himself, he has been a firm believer in charity. The "Asociaţia Alfa Grup", The Afla Group Association has been receiving regular donations from Avram, in the form of paintings, which are then auctioned for a profit so as to help teenagers who have grown up in orphanages secure a vocation and integrate in the post-communist society. Weaving its web of quiet simplicity, Alba County's scenic landscape, in which his hometown is situated, has unfolded its splendors to his observant eye, resulting in his dedication to preserve it.
Recognized for his contribution to the arts, he was granted The Medal for Cultural Merit, by The President of Romania, in 2004. Avram joined the international Surrealistic elite, in 2008, when Professor Gerhard Habarta, the Austrian curator and publisher, a distinguished name within Viennese artistic circles, included him in the "Lexikon der Phantastischen Künstler", "The Lexicon of Fantastic Artists", featuring the most distinctive Surrealist painters of all time.