Interview with Petar Smiljanic
Petar Smiljanic was born in Valjevo, Serbia in 1985. He graduated from Faculty of Architecture in 2009 in Belgrade, Serbia. After he finished master in Architecture he was working in several international companies. He showed passion about painting in his early age learning from his father who is engaged to this art. He is currently based in Shenzhen China, where in parallel to his job as an architect he strives to express his passions on canvas.
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started in the arts? and your first experience in art making?
I am an architect and painter from Serbia, currently based in Shenzhen, China, where in parallel to my job as an architect I strive to express my passions on canvas. I started to paint in my early age learning from my father who is engaged to this art. After my high school I made a long break from painting and then I started to paint again at 2013 when I moved to Beijing, China.
How would you describe yourself and your artwork?
I become obsessed with an idea that I need to show the world something that they never saw before. To combine things that are impossible to combine together. In the beginning it was very hard and uncertain what I will create but with dedication and lot of work I think I find the right way. It was very important for me to have a clear and unique idea.
’Human Arch - Scapes’’ is a series of paintings that interpret the human figure as building block of architectural cityscape. Using various levels of abstraction and experimenting with the scale I am trying to develop a dialog in which the human is simultaneously city’s creator and destroyer of its physical and social ecosystems. Knowledge, sense of space, perspective as well as digital media techniques derived from my architectural background help me to create a unity of the human and the city in a contextual heterogeneous matrix. The context varies depending on my current location, interests and emotions, all of which are explored in my painting process.
The portrait series showing existence and presence in the city. How does city becomes destroyer of human, or it is inevitable that we will destroy each other. We create city and city create ‘’urbanites’’ with different moral, ethical and personal values.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
For me inspiration is everywhere. I like to observe people and things very detailed. I like to talk with people and try to know and understand how they feel about their life and place they are in this moment. For sure big source of my inspiration coming from architecture and how architecture influences on people.
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
I had very strong emotions towards my paintings especially when I started to paint because I had very serious problem with anxiety. In that time I was very confused and I think that’s very visible in my early canvases. So when I ask people what they think I will always get different answers. I think that’s very good because we are all different and one thing is certain for sure that no one is detached.
When do you know that an artwork is finished ?
It’s very difficult to say. Probably it’s never finished in my case, but I learned it’s good to stop when you feel satisfied because after you paint few more paintings you will see a big progress.
What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?
My art is very young and I didn’t have a lot opportunity so far to exhibit my painting. Last couple of month’s things started to happened and more and more people are interested about my work. For sure most important thing for me was exhibition in London last month in The Brick Lane Gallery but most exciting moment for me was my first solo exhibition in Belgrade in Gallery Stab.
How long does it take to produce one work?
It depends. I usually work on several paintings at the same time so it’s really difficult to say about exact time. I tried to calculate few times and approximately for bigger paintings I spend around 100 hours of work but since I am very busy with my architecture job that can lasts few months before its finished.
What exciting projects are you working on right now? Can you share some of the future plans for your artworks?
Currently I am working on few new paintings with slightly different context but still part of the same idea. Last couple of weeks I’m also developing some mixed media techniques rather than just oil painting.
Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions we should know about?
Next months at 22nd of January I will exhibit few of my paintings on group show In Paris Glazia exhibition from VH art Gallery.
Where do you see your art going in five years?
At this moment I am working as an architect and it requires most of my time. In near future I would like to spend all my time just for my art. That means that besides making oil paintings I would like to develop my skills as a sculptor. I tried it already since I have lot of experience in making handmade architectural models and I think that will be a great way to show and develop my ideas.