Balkan Art Scene
Javorka Đurić — Expressing Experiences, Gestures, and Feelings
Author: Ana Klikovac
Javorka Đurić is a Serbian illustrator and the owner of an authentic Instagram art page "Maple Things" where one can see numerous illustrations depicting her daily observations, frustrations, ponderings, joys, colored in neutral, yet rich and inviting hues. Recently we had the pleasure of hearing more about her inspiring work. Here is what she had to say about it.
How did you get into the arts? Is that something you have always loved or did it take you some time to discover it and simultaneously develop your personal style? Drawing has always been the thing that fulfilled me, but I had never received a formal artistic education. I was guided towards engineering. I believe that I had not drawn anything during college and that entire period is foggy; everything was obligatory, there was no place for desire. That later carried on to the jobs I would choose. I realized a year and a half ago that such pattern was no longer sustainable for me and that I need to try to gain experience and express myself differently somehow. I needed something visual. I was saving up in order to quit my job and give myself time to learn and draw. That process is still in motion.
Although your style is colored in dark hues, it does not lack the warmth; faceless figures fit perfectly with in it, joining together to create an image of a very harmonious symbiosis of our daily life. How would you describe your style? What was it inspired by? I believe that I am leaning towards the style that does not attract a lot of attention and is not "in your face", even though I appreciate others' bold colors and shapes. I am trying to translate the gestures, the feeling and the experience, but to also maintain a certain distance by avoiding faces and my own. I personally do not even perceive those colors as dark as I am using them, however, after some time goes by and I return to previous works, I notice that what others have pointed out about the illustrations. I am inspired by everything that is habitual and inevitable; everything that keeps me up at night.
Who are the people, art movements and techniques that have inspired you/ continue to inspire you? I adore Expressionism, Japanese art and Ukiyo, Modern art, as well as art from the "New Yorker", contemporary Korean illustrators, digital illustrations that I see on Instagram explore, talented and hard-working illustrators from the region. The styles that bare no likeness to my own are those that inspire me the most.
Looking at your Instagram page, it is clear that each of your illustrations is (consciously or subconsciously) commiserating with everyone who encounters it. What does having such impact on people around you feel like? Did you expect that kind of a reaction from the public? I have a feeling as though everything is happening in a parallel universe where we understand and empathize with one another. Almost as if that is a parallel world of empathy where minimal words are needed in order to make a connection. In this real world, however, much more is needed and that is why I am uncertain if I have an impact on it. I expected minimal attention. I thought that only my sisters and friends would keep up with what I do and like occasionally, but through time quite a bit of people have noticed it. All of that is still very abstract to me.
Is illustrating beneficial to you as well? What has art helped you discover about your character?
I had taken breaks from posting my illustrations, and I am doing that less than I had before, but I would always return because sharing is indeed helpful to me. It gives me a chance to release something that I do not know what to do with inside of me, then let the Internet do with it what it will. I realized that I appreciate the affirmation and that I am in a sense weaker than I thought.
When speaking of the larger social discourse and your art in the center of it, what kind of conversations would you like to spark with your illustrations? What kind of emotions do you wish to awaken in people?
I wish people were more aware of internal struggles of other people and not assume their weight. I wish they were more considerate towards others; that they do not reject and judge but instead try to understand others' differences and vulnerabilities. Those are the kinds of things that I myself am learning as well.
What is, for you as an artist, key for creating art that is fulfilling firstly for you, and then for others as well? In order to be fulfilling for me, it needs to arise from a feeling that is genuine and personal and for that feeling to be accompanied visually; that I am not artificially generating ideas, but thinking, practicing, watching and questioning. Those things then evoke reactions in others that are equally genuine, but experienced subjectively, explicably or inexplicably.
Do you have any interesting projects or illustrations planned in the following period? I have a larger personal project planned that includes illustration and a bit of writing, but I need time to realize it, but besides that, there are still going to be illustrations and frustrations, smaller and larger projects for myself and others.
Follow Javorka's artwork on her Instagram account.