Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Giants are coming

Back in 2011, a client from Canada commissioned me to do a drawing for his collection. A few days later, while walking through the woods, an idea presented itself, so during the lunch break I did a few rough sketches in my sketchbook.

I remember getting quite excited by the idea that gradually crystallized itself in my mind while walking through nature. The emotion that grew out of this picture was quite powerful. Recognizing a well-known pattern of picture and emotion simultaneously growing out of the same source, a process that often resulted in a good piece of art; I could not wait to come home to start working on the drawing.

Back home, and as soon as I started to draw, quite spontaneously a story all together with the title (The Giants are Coming), “came out” of the scene that was evolving in front of me. I then quickly wrote down the story, not knowing that this would mark the beginning of my writing a whole series of stories which would eventually make up the foundation of my  new book, the book of giants.

Before that, I was already reading about mythology and folklore. However something strange happened in me that day, something like a subtle switch, that made the inner mythology, or my personal myth, come to the surface. Writing that short story was a very special moment for me. It made me delve even deeper into the realms of mythology, as well as psychology. The next few years, I spent much of my time reading about it, writing stories, and doing drawings and paintings inspired by the myth, epics and legends.

Then, about a year after the drawing was finished, a collector from the US commissioned me to do a painting. Because I was quite sure I wanted to do a painting of the recently finished drawing, I presented this idea to him. Fortunately he was excited about my proposal, so I soon set on another adventure with the giants.

The creation of the painting was not as easy as I hoped. Many different things, some having nothing to do with painting whatsoever, interfered with the work on this piece. Finally, after a long struggle that included many short and long breaks, the painting was finished and delivered. And with that, this little journey which started spontaneously about 3 years ago whit a glimpse of a future painting I saw in my mind while walking in the woods, came to its end. However not without leaving a significant trace behind. In one or another way, a few important thing came out of all this: my new book inspired by mythology and based on discovery of my personal myth; rediscovery of the work of C.G. Jung and psychology, and the new elan and inspiration that proved to be so important for a further development of my work.

The Giants are Coming, oil on canvas, 70X100 cm 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spectrum 21 Award Nominees

And the Spectrum 21 Award Nominees are…

Please click on the link to see all the nominated works.

Nicolas Delort

Bill Carman

Ed Binkley

Jean-Baptiste Monge

Justin Sweet

Kirsti Wakelin

Mark A. Nelson

Petar Meseldzija

Shaun Tan

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Essay 2 - On Inspiration

Last week, John Fleskes from FleskPublications and I have decided that my book on giants will be released in the spring of 2015, with Kickstarter campaign starting in August this year.

Ogre-Shaman, from The Book of Giants

This book is a major project for me not only because of the scope of its pictorial content (it will include about 120 drawings, as well as a number of  paintings), but also because of its general concept.  As far as I am concerned, the book’s textual part is almost as important as its visual components, which is, I have to admit, a big challenge for me because I am not a writer. The “problem” is that I have all those ideas, and nobody can look into my head better than myself. Fortunately there is one thing that is helping me – the inspiration! Yes, that wonderfully illusive word that has become somewhat unpopular nowadays, to the point that it is considered a taboo in the certain circuits.  Well, this certainly does not apply to me. Moreover, I am thankful  (to whom I don’t know, but I am genuinely thankful) for being able to be in contact with my Muse. I can’t, and will not, speak about HER nature, for I am afraid that my explanation would soon turn into a subjective speculation,  while objectivity is required here. On the other hand, how to talk objectively about something that is so obviously subjective in nature? Tricky!

Anyway, if you asked me whether this inspiration is coming from deep within me, out of the obscure, vast storage of experience, knowledge, information, suppressed  emotions, etc., in short the unconscious; or whether I think it could be attributed to an “external” source, (un)popularly called the “divine”; and under the presumption that these two are considered as separate “entities” (which, in a way, I don’t believe they are), my answer must be – I don’t know! Although most of the time my inspiration can be traced back to the things which were/are on my mind,  however sometimes I really don’t know where all these ideas and concepts are coming from. The only thing I know is that they appear on the surface of my mind, often abruptly, . No, don’t even think about it – I am not talking here about the spiritual visions of any kind (when it comes to that, I am as empty and as talentless as a chimney). Forget “automatic writing” as well. I am simply talking about inspiration, something all of us experience from time to time.

Back to my book - there are moments when stories and ideas just keep on popping up, seemingly from nowhere, so quickly that I have troubles writing them down. I must admit that I am somewhat delighted by this, but at the same time a little sad as well. I can’t remember that I ever experienced such a  strong flow of inspiration in connection to my paintings. Or perhaps it is another type of inspiration, a milder one that stretches itself over a longer period of time, contrary to the latter that often happens in bursts and lasts not very long. In general, painting is for me a bit of inspiration (mostly external) + much of hard work. With writing it is exactly the other way around, the biggest part of it goes to inspiration, or to be more precise – it flows out of inspiration. Because I am not an experienced writer, I have troubles writing without inspiration. It is frustrating, really! Besides, I write in English, and my English is not perfect; yet I dare write in English. A perfect recipe for making a fool of oneself, you might think. And you might be right. But somehow, when inspiration strikes, I am able to write. That is not to say that my writings can be compared to those of the real writers…oh, no, not at all! My writings are very humble and basic. My ideas and the simplicity of expression are the only weapons from the writer’s arsenal which I have at my disposal. You might think, and not without reason, what is to become of such a book then? Has Petar finally lost his mind? …To be honest, I don’t know. YOU will have to tell me later when the book is published! I only know that I have to take that risk.

It is as if a genie, or a demon, has taken possession of me, and the only thing I can do is to obey him. That is inspiration for me. Is it internal or external? I don’t know. It does not matter to me! The results of this endeavor is what matters, and the impact of it on our development, on becoming more complete as a being, and live a fuller life. The question is not whether the things we believe in are objectively true or not (define Truth!), but instead how much they feed and support the psychic foundation of our lives.

After all, life is an incomprehensible mystery, a miracle, and we are just a tiny particle, a speck of dust in its entirety. Neglecting, or suppressing that what spontaneously arises from the vastness of the unconscious, the psyche, is not the wisest thing to do. In fact it is the road to psychosis. Open-minded and bravely encountering and dealing with it as best as we can, however scary, painful and tricky it might be, is the way of the hero in us. One and the same hero who, after having 1000 different faces, is still eager to have yours, and mine, as well.