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Art documentaries

 

I decided to share my favorite art documentaries, which either informed me greatly or helped me regain my focus. Let’s get inspired!

 

 

Marina Abramovic – The Artist is present (2012)

 

The queen of performance art and one of the most influential contemporary artists take us on a journey of setting up her MoMA retrospective. Blood, sweat, tears, and discipline.

 

Marina Abramovic In Brazil: The Space In Between (2016)

 

It’s a kind of behind the scenes of Abramovic’s work and the logic that drives her.

 

Pina (2011)

 

This is a documentary about contemporary dance and the legacy of the late Pina Bausch. It’s a very motivational watch, even if you’re not into dance.

 

Finding Vivian Maier (2014)

 

The unbelievable story of Vivian Maier, a street photographer nanny who only got famous after her death.

 

Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013)

 

This is a great meditation on Hollywood, ambition, and art production… And it’s hysterically funny. Although, Jodorowsky is my problematic fave and says some incredibly cringy stuff along the way.

 

McQueen (2018)

 

Alexander McQueen was an iconic fashion designer, and this is a story about his art. His work inspired me greatly, and I hope it does the same for you!

 

Bloomberg – Brilliant Ideas

 

This is not a documentary but a series of short documentaries that are free to watch on YouTube. Each episode follows a different artist who guides us through their practice. There are more than 70 videos & I recommend them all.

Still, my favorites were on Mariko Mori, Olafur Eliasson, Maggi Hambling, Random International, KIMSOOJA, Chiaru Shiota & Yinka Shonibare. Also, the Art21 series from PBS has a similar concept.

Something is soothing about watching other artists talk about their work, especially when you feel down with your own. Let me know your recommendations!

My Favorite Artists

 

I narrowed the list down to eight artists who influenced my style the most over the years.

 

Agnes Martin

 

If you woke me in the middle of the night and told me to pick one favorite artist, it would be Agnes Martin. I spend a lot of time looking at her paintings. I use them to meditate, to focus, and as a reference when analyzing my work. Her paintings ground me, and I find them to be the representation of true power. I also love listening to her speak. You can find several of her interviews online.

 

Hilma Af Klint

 

Hilma Af Klint is the first abstract artist in the world, who created amazing paintings at the turn of the 19th to 20th century. She investigated spirituality and focused on some very unorthodox ideas. If the concept of freedom were an image, it would be one of her paintings. There are no figurative religious paintings that could remotely transfer me to a spiritual place that Klint’s paintings take me to. It is unbelievable and inexplicable to me how recent her paintings seem.

 

Mark Rothko

 

In case you aren’t familiar with Rothko’s life, I recommend watching the BBC documentary. His life story is fascinating. I listened to my friends describe their extraordinary, religious-like experiences when seeing his paintings in person for years. I finally saw them myself for the first time in 2019 in Vienna. For me, Rothko’s magic goes beyond those canvases. It is his history and his attitude that made those paintings so influential. It is also inspiring to watch his art chronologically because of his transformation from figurative artist to an abstract expressionist.

 

Rothko & me

 

Agnes Lawrence Pelton

 

Her abstract paintings had a strong impact on me and my work. They are visionary without a doubt, but there is also personal iconography, almost personal folklore that grounds her work. Her strong perspective makes the paintings what they are. I love how she managed to balance between abstract and figurative, which many great artists famously failed at.

 

Rachel Whiteread

 

Rachel Whiteread is an English sculptor, a dame, and one of the members of YBA. She was also the first woman to win the Turner prize in 1993. Her sculptures are truly extraordinary because she uses plaster and concrete not to build something new but to enclose an existing object or a building. I love her Victorian houses filled with concrete because they radiate an incredible presence.

 

Anish Kapoor

 

Known to many people as the artist who created the blackest black color, Anish Kapoor is a British artist who mainly does installation work. I love his use of color and his spatial distortions because there is always something deeper underneath his engineered simplicity. I saw one of his “Void” pieces in Belem, Portugal, and fell in love with it.

 

Anish Kapoor & me

 

Marina Abramovic

 

Marina Abramovic is a Serbian artist who investigates the concept of pain. There are so many great works created by Abramović that it’s tough to pick a favorite one. I strongly recommend reading her memoirs, “Walk through Walls”, to get to know what drove her to create such an extensive body of work.

 

Mariko Mori

 

Mariko Mori is a Japanese artist who creates incredible works that deal with technology and spirituality. Her sculptures resemble spaceships and entities from other worlds. I find something soothing in her futurism, almost like a utopian promise, but never to be mistaken for naïve or superficial.

 

Evolution of my Art Style

You know those kids who seem to be born with their specific art style, they get into the art school, and they are amazing with their focus sharp as a knife?

I wasn’t one of those kids. Don’t get me wrong; I worked my ass off for years to eliminate all the noise in my work. It took me a long time to strip it all down, and it was a deeply personal journey.

I’m going to share some of my works that point to the evolution of my art style throughout the years and the thoughts behind them.

 

University Years

 

Let’s go back to 2008 when I got accepted to the Art Academy in Osijek and was really happy about it.

I was obsessing with collage and made a weird sculpture of a baby’s head. When I look at some of these old works, I see I used humor to deal with my insecurities and the lack of focus. But there are also the first signs of minimalism in my artworks.

There are some truly introspective personal illustrations which matter to me to this day.

 

Baby’s head in plaster

 

Mixed media on cardboard

 

The beginning of digital work

 

These are the works I did outside of Uni just for myself, and I mostly played with the idea of narrative in illustration. I think this is the period in which I started to enjoy working in sequences.

 

Sketch in Photoshop

 

Canada

 

In 2014, just two weeks after I graduated with an MA in art education, I moved to Edmonton, Canada.

I started working night shifts at the local bakery. Crazy, right? I lived there for a year on a working holiday visa.

From today’s perspective – I’m grateful that I never gave up on painting and kept pushing myself to work even through the day (or night) jobs.

 

Self-portrait

 

The attempt at graphic design

 

After Canada, I moved to Lisbon, Portugal. A constant search for a day job made me feel annoyed, and I wanted a steady income. I decided to divert my artistic practice into a more commercial career – and to do graphic design. I failed 😊

 

Logo design

 

Drawing and Realism

 

In 2015, I returned to Croatia. Inspired by my travels, I started to create my personal illustrations and build my independent style.

 

Moon

 

Clarity

 

I started working on Inertia in 2016. It will always be an important piece for me. It marked a new period in which I began to narrow down my focus. I worked on it for a year and learned the importance of editing.

Minimalism made me happy. In the end, my slow process gave me the confidence to proudly stand behind my work.

 

Inertia

 

Today

Here is an image from my most recent project – Esc. I started working on it in late 2019.

If you want to see more, check out my portfolio and read my artist statement.

 

Esc

 

Studio Jasmin 1159

This is the first artist’s profile that I’m writing on my blog, so who better to start with than my first collab – Studio Jasmin 1159. Get to know this amazing ceramics brand from Vinkovci!

 

Behind Studio Jasmin 1159 stands Ivana Zulumović, a Croatian artist and ceramicist. She graduated from the Art Academy in Rijeka in 2011 and, in 2017, started her brand.

She also works as an art teacher and takes care of her many animals. Studio Jasmin 1159 was named after Ivana’s horse – Jasmin, which you can see in her creative logo design.

 

Ceramic cups by Studio Jasmin 1159

 

Her love of animals is also visible in her motifs. She often illustrates horses, birds, and cats on her unique pottery products. And her products are truly unique – she does not use a mold and avoids serial production. Her many cups, broches, and vases are one of a kind.

What drove me to her work and made me want to represent Studio Jasmin 1159 were her amazing drawings.

There are many great ceramic artists on Instagram, but what really makes her stand out from the rest is the mastery of her drawings. In combination with her stunning ceramic craftmanship, it was really a no-brainer.

 

Ceramic cup by Studio Jasmin 1159

 

Studio Jasmin’s ceramics were featured in Studio Hana Juric for the majority of 2019, and it was a great experience!

Visitors would fall in love with every piece, especially for their lightweight, porcelain-like characteristics. I strongly recommend checking Studio Jasmin’s Instagram and Facebook to see what’s new!

You can contact Ivana directly about purchasing one of her beautiful works for yourself or as a truly remarkable gift for somebody you love.

 

Ceramic cup by Studio Jasmin 1159

 

For the Art Lovers Visiting Zadar

If you are looking forward to visiting Zadar, you are into contemporary art and want to see something other than (the very rich) cultural heritage; then this post is for you.

Zadar is not very famous for its urban contemporary culture like Istria, Split, or Zagreb. When I moved here 5 years ago, I was very underwhelmed. As you can read in “The story of Studio Hana Juric”, that is what eventually motivated me to start my gallery business.

But when these events do occur, they are extraordinary, and there is a lot of thought put into their development.

Here are a few places and festivals that you should definitely visit when you come to Zadar.

 

Monoplay

 

Monoplay is a contemporary dance festival, and it has a long tradition. It started in 2009, and every year it marks the end of August. It is dedicated to solo performances and contemporary theatre.

As an international festival, it shows both renowned names and dance students. The production is simply amazing. Monoplay festival usually lasts for a few days. There are many great things going on – exhibitions, live interviews with performers, great after parties, and much more.

It is without a doubt my favorite festival in Croatia. If you are interested or planning your trip check the official Monoplay website –

There are a few other festivals in Zadar – I would recommend checking out Zadar Snova, Zadar Craft beer festival, and Zadar Jazz & Blues festival.

 

Indie – café bar

 

If you are looking for a special place to go out on the weekend or to have your cup of coffee in the mornings, I would recommend Indie. It is located in the center of the city but hidden enough from the big crowds.

The music is great, and you will definitely experience something different from the regular tourist hotspots.

Indie often hosts great art exhibitions too. I would recommend ordering a bottle of wine or the local beer Plavuša and enjoy some local culture.

 

Nigdjezemska

 

This is for the fans of hardcore, alternative, and punk, but Nigdjezemska is much more than that. It is a well-known place in Zadar, run by volunteers.

There are cool exhibitions and many concerts, so I would definitely check out their schedule to see what’s happening. It is located within walking distance from the city center. Bring your booze and get ready to meet some interesting people!

 

Studio Hana Juric

 

And of course, if you are in Zadar – come and say hi!

Studio Hana Juric is an independent art gallery and concept store based in Zadar, Croatia, and it was created in 2019.

The gallery’s focus is on contemporary art, new media, high-quality prints, and local production. It is also a workshop where are developed various artist products and artists-designer collaborations.

I hope this helped plan your trip, and I persuaded you to come to Zadar and support our independent culture. If you missed one of the festivals, you could always check out the open-air Zadar summer cinema.

If you are a theatre fan, there is Teatro Verdi. I’m sure you will find something in their program that catches your eye. And finally, Zadar is the city of basketball so don’t miss a match!

My Creative Process

 

I’m always curious to read about other artists’ routines, so I wanted to share a couple of things about my creative process.

I had to learn to be very organized in order to create art. That is not always easy to do alongside running an art gallery. Here are some of the key ideas and rules I follow to make it all work!

 

 

Schedule

 

This is not a very romantic subject, but I’m not too fond of the artists who say they create only when struck by inspiration.

I need my schedule to make it all work and to prevent painting from becoming a weekend hobby. It takes me 2-3 months to finish one of my sequences. Without a schedule, this could easily turn into a whole year.

I’m not in a rush, but it did happen before that a piece lingered for too long that I couldn’t make sense of it anymore. There is definitely a pace that makes sense for me. After I complete my sketches, I create a schedule and a timeframe in which I plan to complete the work.

 

 

Mood board

 

Collecting things that inspire me is a big part of my creative process. Every time I’m starting a project, I create a mood board with all things relevant to the vibe of my new work.

I never question the things that I find inspiring and avoid the intellectualization of this process at all costs. I firmly believe that everything that moves you is legitimate, be it the Higgs boson or some celebrity’s Instagram selfie.

 

Art journal

 

This is not a sketchbook and not a personal journal, but a very strategic notebook which I use to elaborate on my concepts.

It does sound ridiculously serious, but you can get really creative with it. I write in a ready-to-publish way while avoiding the free flow and venting, which helps me focus.

 

 

Ideas

 

I learned that having too many ideas might mean not having a single one worth developing. As a very anxious person and high functioning at that, sometimes my mind feels like exploding with creativity.

There is just too much to handle all at once. Then I have to remind myself that when the idea is that good, I focus on it and forget about everything else. But that is not always clear, so I made it a part of my process to have at least two weeks just for the sketches.

In that period, I usually have my sketchbook around at all times and keep it on my nightstand when I sleep.

 

Being stuck

 

I often get stuck, and it happens for many different reasons – sometimes, I change my mind. Sometimes I have to put my work on hold for so long that I need to get familiar with it all over again.

I use a designer method that pushed me through some hard times. When I’m not too fond of a piece that I have already created, or it is mid-creation, I grab a pen and paper and write down all of its characteristics.

All the simple, descriptive things like – is it feminine or masculine, light or dark, texture or flat, etc. Then next to every word, I write the exact opposite. Going through this simple list helps me spot what’s wrong and which characteristics make me dislike it.

Of course, it doesn’t work all the time, but it’s still very useful.

As you can see, editing is a big part of my process.

Don’t get me wrong – some of my favorite works happened by accident or by having fun and experimenting. But the clarity of the narrative and minimalism are some things that I enjoy the most. Also, I’m not particularly eager to romanticize what it’s like to create art.

I rather focus on discipline and hard work because I believe everything else is pure luck.

The Story of Studio Hana Juric

How I became an artist

 

The story behind my art gallery is not your typical business chronicle because it’s also my life story. My name is Hana Juric, and I am a Croatian visual artist. I grew up in Belisce, a small town in the region of Slavonija, where there’s not much happening culturally. Still, the beautiful nature, many rivers, and forests make up for it.

I started creating art in high school, where I studied to become a sculpture designer. I continued my art education in Osijek, and in 2014 I completed my Master’s degree in Education in Fine Arts.

The Education part of my degree title was of no interest to me, so instead of teaching, I moved across the world to Canada and started working night shifts at a bakery. It’s a funny story that didn’t last for too long, but I continued to find different day jobs over the years and travel the world in search of inspiration.

Doing so, I never quit creating art. It was not an easy existence but crucial in following my path as an artist. I have seen so many independent art galleries and artists’ run centers, which I couldn’t find back home in Croatia. It was a bittersweet experience, inspiring but at the same time frustrating.

It made me painfully aware of the shortcomings of the Croatian cultural landscape.

 

Lisbon, 2015

 

From artist to entrepreneur

 

I lived in Lisbon, Portugal, with my long-term partner when she got a great job opportunity that involved moving back to Croatia.

We moved to Zadar, on the Adriatic Sea, and I won’t lie – it was a struggle for me.

Again, beautiful nature, but not much happening culturally. Zadar is quite notorious for the lack of cultural infrastructure. It wasn’t easy, but I continued to create art. Time passed by, and I quit looking outside for inspiration.

In 2019, we moved to Austria for a while. We were living in Graz, and there was a beautiful gallery walk right under our apartment. Small spaces, designer outlets, and completely different, exciting art styles.

It was a wake-up call for me, and I realized I needed to become much more proactive in my environment.

 

 

“There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

 

 

Artist-run centre

 

The summer of 2019 was a time for action. I made a decision – instead of waiting for somebody else to do it, I was going to start my own art gallery!

It was not just an art gallery in my mind – it was everything I was not getting from the city I was living in.

It may all sound very romantic, and it was nice to fantasize, but here come some hard facts –

I have no formal education in business. Except for being an avid fan of Shark Tank, I had no idea what I was doing. But I was so motivated to learn that I made it all work in one single month.

Now that I think of that period, it makes me proud of myself. I haven’t slept at all – but I managed to write a business plan that got me a nice grant for small businesses. The funding was sufficient to get me through the whole year.

While the amount of Croatian paperwork was unbelievable, I was happy to find a tiny space in the center of Zadar. With a little help from my friends, we made it work.

Originally, I chose the name Moja Soba (My Room) because the concept of the gallery was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s A Room Of One’s Own. Later on I decided to change the name to Studio Hana Juric, because after all, it is a place in which I am representing my own work.

 

Making it work, 2019

 

My own art gallery in Zadar

 

It is not easy being a full-time artist and running a business. It’s all about time management and discipline, but I will write about that in another post. Here I want to say something about my business plans.

Studio Hana Juric is a commercial art gallery and a concept store. The focus is on developing artist products and creating artists-designer collaborations. I’m selling my own works but intend to feature a few local artists as well. I would also like to inspire and educate other local artists to start their businesses.

Zadar is perfect for this type of venue – it’s a tourist city, and it’s hungry for some contemporary art! I am producing everything locally, and that is one of the backbone ideas of my business. It is a slow-paced production – and quality is always above quantity.

 

Design Process, 2020

 

To conclude

 

The gallery’s physical place is temporarily closed due to the COVID situation, but I haven’t lost my business, not legally and not permanently. I have created new plans, and while I’m preparing to re-open Studio Hana Juric, let’s hang out here!

Don’t hesitate to say hello or ask me anything! I will feature many stories, recommendations, and artists’ profiles. I can’t wait to share it all with you on my blog.