Davor Smoljan builds, paints and creates. His artwork is unique and displays a visual story within each piece. His surrealistic, large-scale paintings such as his 15 feet work will be featured in 2017 at the Urban Contemporary & Street Art Museum, curated by Street Art Today in Amsterdam, which is an incredible accomplishment.
Q: Where were you born/ currently live?
A: I was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia (1981) and have been living in The Netherlands for the past 23 years.
Q: What is your artwork about?
A: My work reflects our individual and collective place in the world we live in today in which I aim to evoke an emotion or instigate a dialogue based on everyday moments that go unnoticed to most eyes. I strive for a visual storytelling with contextual relevance by painting large-scale, often isolated, highly realistic imagery in a surrealistic setting.
Q: What are the materials you work with?
A: My studio and gallery work consists of drawings, collage works, woodwork installations and large-scale oil paintings. If I'm painting murals, I tend to mostly stick to spray paint.
Q: What steps/procedures do you go through when creating your art?
A: This is always an ongoing story in my mind. For example, I'd think of a concept based on something I've seen or heard and try to combine several of those experiences into one image. At times, I create a setting at my home studio, take a few photos of it and process the images to the next stage, sketching it up on a panel/canvas. Sometimes it could just as easily be the trail of toys or other stuff which my daughter leaves around the house in the spur of a moment because she's too excited to get on with the next thing she has in mind. She's 6 years old. It's an absolute joy to watch her do this and be inspired by it.
Q: Describe your studio. What kind of space do you prefer to work in?
A: Organized and structured. I create almost everything out of my home studio, which is a small but cozy attic in our house. Everything has its designated area within the space. I use most of the open space for painting. If I'm painting bigger pieces, I'd temporarily rent/work out of a studio or space outside of my own home.
Q: Do you have a school background in visual arts?
A: Everything I do is self-taught. I have been passionately drawing and painting ever since I was a little kid.
Q: What category would you place your art in society?
A: Just art. Categories are for critics.
Q: What have been some of your greatest accomplishments so far?
A: I would have to say my two contributions to the world's largest (literally) Urban Contemporary & Street Art Museum, curated by Street Art Today in Amsterdam at the NDSM docks which will officially open its doors in 2017 and is currently fully in the making. First piece I made for this museum is about 10ft tall and the second one towers at 15 feet. Whoever happens to find a chance to travel to Amsterdam next year should really pay a visit to this incredible 'big friendly giant' of a structure. It's quite an experience with an insane roster of internationally contributing artists.
Q: What would you like the viewer’s experience of your artwork to be?
A: That's essentially always up to the viewer, to be honest. The fact that they take any type of experience from my work is humbling and a compliment to my efforts. This is the true challenge any artist faces when they choose to communicate with their audiences.
Q: What themes do you carry on into each piece you create? Or are they all unique in their own way?
A: Anything can work as an inspiration really. To me, this could come from something as trivial as finding an almost completely weathered and torn playing card on the ground or from within a general observation of human behavior in today's society. Through these depictions, they are all connected by a thin red line of my fascination with the transience of all things.
Q: Have you gone through any struggles that would have stopped you from pursuing being an artist?
A: Choosing a life of artistry is never just smooth sailing, but I'd never consider not making art. It's what I love, it's who I am and I get to do it every day. That, by default, outweighs any other struggle.
Q: Do you have anything else you want your viewers to know about you?
A: Live your life filled with Peace, Love & Happiness.