You are self-taught, do you regret not going to an art school?
I’m mostly self-taught. I did attend some art classes in college, with the intention of getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts. But, I dropped it in pursuit of a business degree.
I do kind of regret not continuing my art education beyond where I left off though. After I dropped art, I became very lax and let myself stagnate in terms of technical proficiency and professionalism (what little I was starting to learn then). I fell far behind my peers, I feel, and now I have a lot of catching up to do.
What are some resources that you used to study and practice art?
The internet has been my immediate resource for a lot of material. I’m not sure that that’s a good thing, but I can’t imagine anyone else who doesn’t utilize it for inspiration. It is as bountiful as it is convenient.
Other resources include photos that I’ve taken to work from, frame stills from movies or interviews, and life.
How did you get interested in human anatomy, the macabre and developed your unique surreal style?
Multiple factors go into that one. But, they can all usually be tied back to my Sister, who was my introduction to most of the world when I was growing up. 80’s slasher films, medical encyclopedias, anatomy books, and the surrealism of Dali all found their way to me through her. Probably out of idolization, I wound up developing an interest in anatomy and the composition and deconstruction of it (thanks to the medical and anatomy books, and slasher films, respectively).
As I got a little older, I found myself hung up on the concept of self and identity and how closely we tie it to our physical form- more so over how easily our form can be destroyed, taking our sense of self, maybe even our essence with it. That’s roughly when the surrealism started to resurface for me. Trying to wrap my head around that concept became a little easier to manage when I dropped the logical approach and just tackled the subject on a subconscious/gut level. I’m still working my way through it though.
You chose Belgrade. How come?
A couple months ago, I caught an interview between Mira Adanja-Polak and Sergei Polunin. I remember her asking him what he liked about the city of Belgrade or why he was drawn to it, and two key things in his response caught my attention: 1) the people are super nice and very friendly and 2) things are more affordable in Belgrade than in some other places.
Being a socially anxious person who’s half Scottish (sort of), I was intrigued and started to do a little more research on the city. I was surprised to find a very vibrant and open city which clashed against the stereotype I had been brought up to believe. So, I hit up ResArtis to see what residencies resided in Belgrade and started to apply.
What is your opinion about Belgrade Art Studio concept for artists to have the concentrated space and time and to see what can emerge when in an artistically charged space away from the day-to-day thinking of their norms and routines?
It’s amazing. Being uprooted and taken away from the day-to-day humdrum is a great way recalibrate your head. It’s also great to have your comfort zone and vices removed. I think those two elements can really inhibit the creative process.
There’s also a rush (for me anyway) from being in a new city/environment that stimulates the mind. From day one, ideas have been churning. And, I’m finding myself enjoying the process of creating again, rather than beating myself up for the results. Whether intended or not, Belgrade Artist Studio facilitated the readjustment my outlook needed to fall in love with art again. Which is great, because we were headed towards another separation (art and I have a volatile relationship).
Did you find your inspiration in exploring Belgrade?
I think so. There’s a pulse to the city that’s invigorating and hard not to synch up with. I love that there’s still a bohemian vibe tucked away in every corner. And that it’s its own unique brand of bohemian…something modern, open, growing, and genuine. It’s nothing like I’ve experienced before.
What advice can you give to other artists who want to come to Belgrade?
Do it. The entire experience is nothing short of amazing and will help you to grow in many ways.
Also, learn a little Serbian. It may not be necessary as most people in the city can speak English. But, it’s a nice courtesy to show them, one that will be appreciated.
Would you come again…. maybe for a longer while?
Absolutely. I’m already in talks with friends about coming back for a collaborative project…maybe in the summer time? 🙂