Craft and creativity continues to grow in China, none of which would be possible without the inspired and daring minds behind the ideas and production. We are asking the creative community in China five fun questions to learn a little bit more about the people behind this burgeoning industry. Hope you enjoy! If you think you should be profiled or you know someone creative who should be profiled send an email to email@example.com.
Designer – Art Director
A multidisciplinary designer and creative, hailing from former Yugoslavia and now based in Shanghai. He works closely alongside concepts of future-past and relating them to the current moment. With an MA in contemporary costume, his design career spanning 15 years is encompassed around branding, identity systems and art direction.
1.How you discovered you were creative? 你是如何发现自己有创造力的?
The first time I realised I created something was actually by the act of destroying. I figured out that when paper is folded and you cut thought the middle, you get symmetrical image. I would cut shapes whenever possible; making patterns on my mum’s night gowns, my own clothes, curtains and sheets.
A shift happened when my creation became valued. I must have been around 5 years old at my uncle’s Slava (orthodox family’s patron saint day) and I was bored sketching. He approached me and offered me to do as many drawings of St.Tsar Lazar (his house family protector) as I could. He then invited all the neighbors and family over and did a proper fierce style auction of my watercolor paper ‘icons’. I remember sitting and watching everyone yelling over each other, my uncle furiously speaking of my drawings as masterpieces to boost their price. That was the first time I saw value within my work, my first commissioned work and my first fee.
我还记得第一次我的作品受到了认可，那一刻历历在目。我大概五岁的时候，家人聚在我叔叔斯拉夫的家，我感到厌烦了就开始随意素描。我的叔叔走近我，出了主意 — 让我尽可能多画圣沙皇拉扎尔(他的家庭守护神)。我画完了之后，他邀请所有的邻居和家人过来，并对我的水彩纸“圣像画”进行了一场热闹的拍卖。我记得我坐在那里，看着大家互相叫嚷，我叔叔为了提高价格夸奖了我的画，把它们说成是杰作。那是我第一次在我的工作中看到价值，第一次有人委托我创造作品，第一次用作品赚钱了。
2. One thing that always makes you happy and one thing that always makes you sad?
Elevated roads. Growing up in architecturally brutalist neighborhood, I was always fond of raw concrete structures. Moving to Shanghai, I realised that I get that feeling of reckless childhood when I’m driving under them. Their monumental cold geometric pillars wrapped in flourishing lianas and greenery, as literal representation of urban jungle, continue to leave me in awe. A zest about the fast achievements of humanity and (ir)relevance of identity. They make me feel serene, safe, aware and smiling. At the same time they are giving me ‘weltschmerz’ – melancholic, dystopian thoughts about fragility of the world and how those strong structures are concrete cockroaches that will eventually outlive us. Basically, what makes me sad and happy might be the progress of humanity.
3. What you wanted to be when you grew up? 当你还是个孩子的时候，你梦想成为什么？
It is still hard for me to grasp what growing up means. Maturity? Having a stable profession and family? Getting old and stagnant. I probably gave some answers as a kid to this question, and its more than likely those were my points of interest at that moment. This is still pretty much the same method I have when pursuing a project. I never really yearned for some of the stuff I’ve done, but I try to seek out something playful within my work and happy accidents happen.
4. The best way to destress? 对你来说，最好的减压方式是什么
Home style sensory deprivation tank. 家用感官剥夺罐。
5. Your favorite creative project you’ve ever worked on, and why you like it so much?
It must be yugodrom.com project that has been ongoing for 10 years now. Maybe it’s a cheat answer because there are several projects under this umbrella, but overall it is about re-contextualizing Yugoslavian audio-visual heritage, with a strong undertone of memory and how it shapes us. With our first exhibition we juxtaposed logotypes of brands with a type of person, giving each graphic this kind of personality viewers could relate to. Our goal was to produce a visual semiotic, tying in this underlying familiarity and to act as a bridge for the six countries that were once one.
Later on, we got commissioned to work with other artists that were having projects related to Yugoslavian discourse (research exhibition, indie sci-fi movie, album covers). Occasionally, I am curating themed mixtapes of Yugoslav artists, which makes this whole ‘Yugobsession’ of mine even broader. The search for collective identity becomes, in a way, a personal quest of discovery and retrieval.