Saturday, November 26, 2011

An interview with the artist Vesna Kolobaric

I met Vesna Kolobaric on Etsy. Seeing her silver art jewelry for the first time was a delightful treat. She lives in a small town in Eastern Croatia, where I have spend a good chunk of my childhood visiting my grandmother every summer. She also studied in Zagreb, the city where I was born. Although I left Croatia almost 20 years ago, I feel a special connection with Croatian culture and arts. Vesna's art combines ancient Croatian history and resurfaces it in her new original contemporary designs. She has a curious mind and is not afraid to experiment and apply new techniques. 

Tell me about yourself.

My name is Vesna Kolobaric... I'm a resident of the Planet Earth.... I have my own point of life on it – in Croatia.  I've become more and more aware of it with all the possibilities available through the internet. A person is a tiny dot that scatters in pixels through the web over all the planet. I love this digital age that also connected the two of us!

What is your opinion of arts education? Is an artist born or made - or both? 

This question is asked quite often. 
There are artists who have no formal education that create  impressive artistic work, but not many. Everybody carries something creative within themselves... the genetic code,  the environment or pure chance direct the person into the art world.
 I believe that education is very important as well as working on oneself  and constant upgrading with self-education, talent is only the beginning. 
Today it is easy to use the term "artist". There is a need to distinguish between creating something and a work of art.

What are your earliest memories of art? 

My first set of colored pencils in early childhood… lying on the floor and drawing for hours…
Were there other artists in your family?

I was born into a family of so-called ordinary occupations. 
In Slavonia, eastern Croatia where I live, there is a strong tradition of hand crafts, so called folk art, and this is my first experience of textile design learned from my mother and grandmother. 
Later, I took a different direction in applied arts.

Why do you do what you do?
These are my emotions; all that I have experienced and lived through takes shape in my hands. For my whole life I showed a tendency towards arts. In the small town where I live there are not many options, so it was my own little world, drawing, ceramics, dancing…. Textiles and clothing have been by themselves logical to me, and they have become my lifetime occupation.  
While in high school I was already making my own clothes, even a coat that was quite difficult by pattern and by implementation. I showed a visual break from the usual and I worked on perfecting that skill. There is a great curiosity in me, and I’m always exploring new techniques, working parallel with them and combining them…. Art is in me, I breathe it.

What work do you most enjoying doing?
Experiments are my challenge. I like to create in a variety of materials and let them permeate organically. 
In my last solo exhibit that just completed I combined traditional techniques with digital media. 
I created wall reliefs of women torsos using paper mache combined with soldering, all with experimental and ecological approach, photographing them and using Photoshop digitally processed  backgrounds. The torsos were shown in their actual appearance with digital backgrounds. All of the images were burned on CD in addition to the catalog and with that I made an exhibit in an actual exhibit.

Describe a day in the life of you, the artist:
My day is a little bit different....first is breakfast with an enjoyable cup of coffee.... but my breakfast is in the afternoon because of my opposite biorhythm, so I work at night until morning. 
The night is my inspiration. 
Otherwise my day is ordinary like with most people... work in my studio, home errands, gardening, hobbies, socializing, internet...  

You live in Croatia, a country with a rich cultural heritage. How is that influencing and inspiring your work? 
My work is divided in cycles. 
In the cycle "Pannonian games" I found inspiration in our ancient, far history... the Pannonian Sea that existed here in prehistoric times and on whose bottom I'm walking now.
 I was inspired by Slavonian folk art expression and folk dialect, studying its geneses. With this inspiration I received a few awards. 

Although later I created a series of cycles, I always gladly go back to "Pannonian games".

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Art is my only occupation. 
I graduated in Textile and Fashion Design at the Faculty of Textile Technology in Zagreb, Croatia's capital. Through my whole career I've been professionally upgrading, I learned designing of silver jewelry and recently web design. I work in many techniques that can be understood as individual professions, but all in the areas of  fine art. 
It is a different technology, manipulation of the hands and the art of creation:
-when painting on silk, movements are slow
-hand weaving on a loom is a completely different technique
-unique clothing required knowledge of garment construction and sewing machine and hand sewing knowledge

- silver jewelry is the art of forging, granules of silver and alloy melted with a burner, poured in a plate or a rod, hand pressed into a sheet or wire, cut, rasped, polished.... It doesn't look like a job for women, it requires powerful hands.
-I recently completed web design so I will soon make my website, and also work for others. With it I perfected the work with Photoshop and I'm using it for the presentation of my work.
-I do patchwork, quilt, applications....
-in my textile sculptures I combine all of my visual experience
I have accomplished a lot in my work as an artist and I would need a parallel life for a second profession.

In Croatia, I have the status of a professional artist. 
This status is granted by the Ministry of Culture to the artists whose art work is assessed as an important contribution to the cultural heritage of Croatia. I'm very proud of my status.  To maintain that status,  it's my commitment to do group and solo exhibitions . 
Between the exhibits, I produce applied arts dedicated to the art market and I live from it.
What inspires you?
My life and life impressions, I experience it emotionally. A look at nature, and look at the sky. Into space. Everything I see, hear or read enriches me spiritually and it gets formed through my hands into two-dimensional and three-dimensional works.

What makes you angry?
Arrogance and injustice.
What research do you do?
I try to erase the borders between art techniques in my work. They are all interwoven in one expression. 
I want to create a complex work and make an exhibition in which I would apply all the techniques that are known to interact in harmony. That would be a visual presentation of our time and virtual life in which disappear all the constraints set and conflicts that exist in reality.
Name something you love, and why.
I love original nature untouched by man because it shows us what we should be.

Name something you don’t love.
I don't like aggression.
What is your dream project?
To stay young and vital, and to work in my 90's and get older later.
Would you like to collaborate with another artist, and who?
I'm fascinated by the expressiveness of Portuguese Fado singer Mariza. Her voice is crystal clear on the air. I wish to create objects of wearable art and art jewelry for her concerts inspired by her songs.

Favorite writer, favorite song, favorite inspiration?
Writer: Tony Morison
Song: Purple rain
Inspiration: Space

Where can one view your work online?

My web page…soon:

My Facebook page:

My blog:

My Etsy jewelry art shop:

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