Interview with Ivica Stevanovic
Can you tell us about your career?
I started my professional career by illustrating children's books — schoolbooks, textbooks and picture books. Although my wish in early childhood was to become a comic book cartoonist, today I am an illustrator ... and a professor at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad (Serbia). I'm also involved in the design of books and comics.
Would you describe your art as surreal, grotesque or do you have another description for it?
For the most part, my art is characterized by grotesque, for sure — there is no dilemma. Even when I do illustrations for picture books, in many of the characters I draw you can find the essence of the grotesque. Of course, in my art there are also many elements of surreal and symbolic, because I like to play with the meanings of form and deformation, and find new ways in building authentic imaginary worlds. I was infected with grotesque at the earliest childhood by reading the comics and watching the old black and white horror films. The famous Italian cartoonist Roberto Raviola (Magnus) has influenced me, especially through the comic strip series Alan Ford.
Also, I like naive art, so it can be felt a certain naive perception of reality in my drawings.
What is the best aspect of being an artist?
There is no greater feeling of freedom when an artist can live on his own art. That is why the audience is a very important factor in the development of the artist. He and his artwork must feel desirable by the audience. Of course, the audience doesn’t define what is good and what is bad art, but it is a key factor in keeping the artist in life.
Can you tell us about your creative process, from idea to final product?
In most cases, when I create I don’t define the idea in detail. I treat the idea as a kind of guideline in which direction I could move. In the realization of the imagined concept, the space for improvisation is wide open. In this area of improvisation, certain originality can occur which makes my art more authentic and fresh.
I don’t want to feel like a performer of artwork, so I leave the initial ideas for my drawings and illustrations in raw condition, without clearly defined details. I want to be a creator hat includes spontaneity as a way of defining details, if you understand what I mean. Don’t get me wrong, this is my personal approach to the creative process and it doesn’t mean that is the correct path in artistic creation.
What other current artists, any genre or medium, do you like?
The difficult question — there are many of them. In fact, surfing the Internet every day you can discover at least one talented and powerful artist. I think the world has become too virtual, so this virtuality devalues images as artistic imaginations. The real question is how artists will deal with this virtuality, so that they don’t get lost in it.