Author: Hana

My Creative Process

I’m always curious to read about other artists’ routines so I wanted to share a couple of things about my creative process. I had to learn to be very organized in order to create art because it’s not always easy to do so alongside running an art gallery. Here are some of the key ideas and rules I follow to make it all work!

Schedule

This is not a very romantic subject, but I truly hate it when artists say they work only when struck by inspiration. I need my schedule to make it all work, and to prevent painting from becoming a weekend hobby. It takes me 2-3 months to finish one of my sequences, and without a schedule, this could easily turn into a whole year. I’m not in a rush but it did happen before that a piece lingered for too long that I couldn’t make sense of it anymore. There is definitely a pace that makes sense for me, and after I finish my sketches, I create a schedule and a timeframe in which I plan to finish the work.

 

My editing process

 

Mood board

Collecting things that inspire me is a big part of my creative process. Every time I’m starting a project, I create a mood board with all things relevant to the vibe of my new work. I never question the things that I find inspiring and by all costs avoid the intellectualization of this process. I strongly believe that everything that moves you is legitimate, be it the Higgs boson or some celebrity’s Instagram selfie.

 

Stencils I used for spray paint

 

Work journal

This is not a sketchbook and not a personal journal, but a very strategic notebook which I use to elaborate on my concepts. It does sound ridiculously serious, but it helped me so much with every project. I write in it throughout the process and use simple sentences. I write in a ready-to-publish way while avoiding the free flow and venting. I often struggle with coherence, so it helped a lot with my focus.

 

Painting

 

Ideas

I learned that having too many ideas might mean not having a single one worth developing. As a very anxious person, and high functioning at that, sometimes my mind feels like exploding with creativity and there is just too much to handle all at once. Then I have to remind myself that when the idea is that good, I focus on it and forget about everything else. But that is not always clear, so I made it a part of my process to have at least two weeks just for the sketches. In that period, I usually have my sketchbook around at all times and keep it on my nightstand when I sleep.

 

My editing process

 

Being stuck

I do often get stuck and it really happens for many different reasons – sometimes I change my mind, and sometimes I have to put my work on hold for so long that I need to get familiar with it all over again. I use a designer method that pushed me through some hard times. When I dislike a piece that I have already created or it is mid-creation, I grab a pen and paper and write down all of its characteristics. All the simple, descriptive things like – is it feminine or masculine, light or dark, texture or flat etc. Then next to every word I write the exact opposite. Going through this simple list helps me to spot what’s wrong, and which characteristics make me dislike the piece. Of course, it doesn’t work all the time, but it’s still very useful.

As you can see, editing is a big part of my process. Don’t get me wrong – some of my favorite works happened by accident or by having fun and experimenting. But clarity of the narrative and minimalism are some things that I enjoy the most and what my work is all about. I also don’t like to romanticize what it’s like to create art, and always rather focus on the discipline and hard work, because to me – everything else is just pure luck.

Studio Jasmin 1159

This is the first artist’s profile that I’m writing on my blog, so who better to start with than Moja Soba’s first collab – Studio Jasmin 1159.

Behind Studio Jasmin 1159 brand stands Ivana Zulumović, a Croatian artist and ceramicist. She graduated from the Art Academy in Rijeka in 2011 and in 2017 started her brand. She also works as an art teacher and takes care of her many animals. Studio Jasmin 1159 was named after Ivana’s horse – Jasmin, which you can see in her very creative logo design.

 

Studio Jasmin 1159 ceramic cups

 

Her love of animals is also visible in her motifs, as she often draws horses, birds and cats on her unique products. And her products are truly unique – she does not use a mold and avoids serial production. Her many cups, broches and vases are one of a kind.

What drove me to her work and made me want to represent Studio Jasmin 1159 through Moja Soba were her amazing drawings. There are many great ceramic artists on Instagram, but what really makes her stand out from the rest is the mastery of her drawings. In combination with her stunning ceramic craftmanship, it was really a no-brainer.

 

Studio Jasmin 1159 ceramic cup

 

Studio Jasmin’s ceramics were featured in Moja Soba for the majority of 2019, and it was a great experience! Visitors would fall in love with each and every piece, especially for their lightweight, porcelain-like characteristics. I strongly recommend checking Studio Jasmin’s Instagram and Facebook to see what’s new! You can contact Ivana directly about purchasing one of her beautiful works for yourself or as a truly unique gift for somebody you love.

 

Studio Jasmin 1159 ceramic cup

The Story of Moja Soba

The story behind Moja Soba is not your typical business chronicle because it’s also my life story. My name is Hana Juric and I am a Croatian visual artist. I grew up in Belisce, a small town in the region of Slavonija, where there’s not much happening culturally, but the beautiful nature, many rivers and forests make up for it. I have been immersed in art since high school, where I studied to become a sculpture designer. I continued my art education in the city of Osijek and in 2014 I completed my Master’s degree in Education in Fine Arts. The Education part of my degree title was of no interest to me so instead of teaching I moved across the world to Canada and started working night shifts at a bakery. It’s a funny story which didn’t last for too long, but I continued to find different day jobs over the years, as well as travel the world in search of inspiration. Doing so I never quit creating art. It was not an easy existence but crucial in following my path as an artist. I have seen so many independent art galleries and artists’ run centers which I couldn’t find back home in Croatia and it was a bittersweet experience. Inspiring but at the same time frustrating, it made me painfully aware of the shortcomings of the Croatian cultural landscape.

 

Portugal, 2015

 

I was living in Lisbon, Portugal with my long-term partner when she got a great business opportunity which involved moving back to Croatia. We moved to Zadar, on the Adriatic Sea, and I won’t lie – it was a struggle for me. Again, beautiful nature, but not much happening culturally. Zadar is quite notorious for the lack of cultural infrastructure and for the corruption of that little part that actually exists. It wasn’t easy, but I continued to create art. Zadar became my base and I started to enjoy my creative bubble. Time passed by and I quit looking outside for inspiration. In 2019, we moved to Austria for a while. We were living in Graz and right under our apartment there was a beautiful gallery walk. Small spaces, designer outlets and completely different, exciting art styles. It was a wake-up call for me and I realized I needed to become much more proactive in my own environment.

 

“There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

 

Summer of 2019 was a time for action. I made a definite decision – instead of waiting for somebody else to do it, I was going to start my own art gallery in Zadar! It was not just an art gallery in my mind – it was everything I was not getting from the city I was living in. I have already decided on a name – the direct translation of “Moja Soba” is My Room, and it was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s classic A Room Of One’s Own.

It may all sound very romantic and it was nice to fantasize, but here come some hard facts –

I have no formal education in business and except for being an avid fan of Shark Tank, I had no idea what I was doing. But I was so motivated to learn that I made it all work in one single month. I haven’t slept at all – but I managed to write a business plan that got me a really nice grant for small businesses. The grant was sufficient to financially get me through the whole year, and that was simply amazing. I dealt with an unbelievable amount of Croatian paperwork and survived. I managed to find a very small but cute space in the center of the city and with a little help of my friends, we made it work.

It was so silly, I remember ordering brown paper bags with the gallery logo, and the moment they arrived was the moment I realized it was all real.

 

Making it work, 2019

 

It is not easy, being a full-time artist and running a business. It’s really all about time management and discipline, but I will write about that in another post. Here I want to say something about my business plans. Moja Soba is a commercial art gallery and a concept store. The focus is on developing artist products and creating artists-designer collaborations. I’m selling my own works but intend to feature many local artists as well. I would also like to inspire and help educate other local artists to start their own businesses. Zadar is perfect for this type of venue – it’s a tourist city and it’s hungry for some contemporary art! Everything in Moja Soba is produced locally and that is one of the backbone ideas of my business. It is a slow-paced production – and quality is always above quantity. I’m trying not to set my prices too crazy, but they also have to make sense and allow me to further grow my business.

 

Design process, 2020

 

Moja Soba celebrated its first birthday in June. It was an amazing year and everything you can wish for in the first year of business. I met amazing people and created so many plans, but unfortunately the whole COVID-19 situation kicked in. This is not the part where I cry about it because I really managed to adapt and remain standing on my own two feet. The physical place of the gallery is temporarily closed but I haven’t lost my business, not legally and not permanently. I have created new plans, and while I’m preparing to re-open Moja Soba gallery space, let’s hang out here!

Don’t hesitate to say hello or ask me anything! I will feature many exciting stories, recommendations and artists profiles and I can’t wait to share it all with you on my blog.

Cheers!