He spent the first ten years of his painting career doing letters and graffiti in his hometown and it wasn’t until a few years ago when Artez (1988, Belgrade) introduced feminine characters and figurative elements in his artwork, mostly delicate women surrounded by plants and immerse into their daily routines. Today he’s one of the leading artists of the Serbian generation and his perseverance and hard work has taken him to paint walls all around the globe, from Argentina to India, Belarus, Italy or Sweden. Even if he still suffers from a little vertigo he enjoys hanging from the top of the buildings with climbing equipment to paint his walls, based on a mix of realism and illustration. His next big dream? A huge solo show the year he turns 35. Get to know the artist in this short questionnaire about his life experience, musts and don’ts.
Your first memory painting… It brings me back to my dad, I used to draw with him in color pencils when I was just a kid. I still have those drawings with me. There’s lions, Space Jam characters… I also used to draw my sister with her ‘boyfriends’ with horns like demons!
The last thing you painted in the street… I just finished a huge mural for an hotel here in Belgrade, my hometown. It’s like 300 square meters. I was lucky I could still work during this isolation period.
Street or studio work? A hundred times more the street! Being outside, painting large scale walls in the open air is so much more interesting than painting canvases.
Your color… More than just one, I have a combination of colors. My favorite is light blue with brown.
A daily routine… When I’m working on a project I wake up, eat, paint, eat and sleep. And if I’m more relaxed I wake up, eat, paint in the studio, eat, sleep! It’s only when I don’t work that I don’t even set my alarm, but that doesn’t happen very frequently.
Who would you like to do a collab with? With Sebas Velasco.
An artist you admire… Aryz.
An artist less know but with great projection… Alba Miočev. She is from Croatia and I never met her but I really enjoy her work.
The work you’ve enjoyed doing the most? I would say the mural I painted in my hometown with the hanging equipment and ropes on top of a skyscraper, ‘Above the clouds’. It took me around a month to paint it.
And the work you feel the proudest of? The wall I did in calle Fuencarral in Madrid with you guys! I’m proud also of ‘Above the clouds’ but this one surprises me daily by people’s reaction. They keep posting and tagging me on that wall, it’s crazy! I’m really proud.
Any crazy experience while working? In La Palma in Islas Canarias my hanging platform was facing a 20 meters tall wall and didn’t have a motor to move up and down so I had to do it with my own hands. It was physically exhausting and I will never forget that! Also the bamboo scaffolding I had to use in India… It’s the common thing there, but my first time I couldn’t believe it, I’m much bigger than they are!
A turning point in your career? When I decided to shift from spray cans to brushes and rollers. My style and perception of colors completely changed.
Who was your mentor? I was self-taught.
Describe your work in three words… A mix of realism and illustration.
And your personality? Always smiling!
A city where to paint… I would like a challenge like painting in the North Pole under extreme conditions.
A special spot for you… A bar in Belgrade where I painted, Caffe Bre, a house with a garden and paintings, antiquities…
What do you hate? Boiled chicken skin.
Animals or people? I’ll say animals.
An animal… A dog, of course!
The last book you read… “The Encyclopedia of the Dead” by Danilo Kis, I read it in a day!
The last movie you’ve seen… “The Gentlemen” by Guy Ritchie.
A series… My all-time favorite is “Breaking Bad”.
What music inspires you? I’m listening to a lot of radio lately. Nice Cream FM has three channels and it’s mostly chill out, ambient… easy going music.
Do you dance? No! I would love to but I just don’t get to articulate my moves, I’m like an elephant in a glass shop! I thought so many times of taking classes… I feel envious to see people dancing and not being able.
A Museum or Art Center… The National Art Museum in Minsk knocked me off my feet, it was mind blowing! All these Byelorussian and Polish artists are so different from all the things that are happening in the West.
A mural… Borondo’s interiors, his churches… I wouldn’t mind seeing that every day.
A bar where to find you… Telma Bar in Belgrade.
Your favorite dish? Indian food, butter chicken and naan.
What do you fear? I have fear of height, I think everyone has it but I’m overcoming on that one. Also I fear that something will happen to my body that won’t let me paint anymore.
Any fixation or obsession? I’m a workaholic.
Alone or in company? I’m an extroverted introvert. I really enjoy expending time with myself, those are my peace moments and were I get my energy and creativity to work but I also depend on people a lot.
How do you waste your time? My favorite way is playing video games. But I learnt how to limit myself with it, last time I managed to play Minecraft for only twenty minutes!
A goal… I put myself time goals. Now I’m trying to fulfill a five-year goal which is to keep pushing as hard as I can to have a big solo show the year I turn 35. To do that the first thing I need is to set up a studio with people helping me, I can’t do it alone.
What are you working on right now? I’m working on trying to learn how to chill and not work. For the last two years I’ve been working nonstop, literally exhausting.
Your ideal future life… Focusing only in the things that really inspire me and not so many commission. Having free time for myself and just focus on the artwork.
Your life mantra… “Nothing comes without work”.