Today we present you Darjan Jurincic, an illustrator from Slovenia. He was kind enough to answer a few (and a few more) questions for our blog:
have you always wanted to become an illustrator?
I always wanted to draw, that was my main goal through life but growing up in an small city and especially in an artistic vacuum had its disadvantages, the main one being that I actually had NO IDEA people could make a living by drawing or painting, let alone knowing there was such a job as being an illustrator. Art is a part of me and I need to express it, often I use it as my own therapy and being an illustrator is just a job. I firmly believe that art (or creativity) is way more complex and intimate, at least for me so I consider being able to express yourself more important than the job title you have. That comes as a side product of being persistent and stubborn doing what you love. I remember I wanted to be a comic artist at first, doing interior work (sequential art), then I worked as a concept artist, after that as an illustrator and now I`m stuck doing mainly concepts for video games and juggling illustration on the side..
which project has given you the most satisfaction?
My personal work. It`s completely different from my commercial stuff and having no deadlines, no boundaries and being completely free to do whatever I feel like doing is something I cannot begin to describe. Don`t get me wrong, I feel very lucky to be able to support myself by doing stuff for clients but at one point you realize that you`ve spent all these years sharpening your skills only to find yourself being someone else`s tool for realizing their visions and their dreams. I worked on some really nice projects but at the end of the day I want to have my own visual language, I want to do my own stuff and you have no idea how great it is and what a privilege can be to get problems, frustrations, dreams and ideas out of your head and onto a piece of paper. And just go crazy with mediums and colours. And it looks great! And the best thing is that I don`t have to show it to no one, I don`t need approval to move on or wait for revisions. I do it for myself, it really is kind of a magical moment whenever I`m creating my personal stuff…
what types of books are on your bedside table?
Art books, mostly about my favorite illustrators/concept artists. I used to really enjoy reading “regular” books but somehow lost the habit. You have no idea how many times I picked up a book only to read the first thirty pages and then leave it on the shelf, never to be looked at again. I know it`s stupid and I remember my imagination going wild back in the days when I used to read a lot but right now my life is just too chaotic to have that kind of discipline again…
what is the best moment of the day?
Waking up beside a pair of beautiful eyes. Wouldn`t trade that feeling for anything in the world. It brightens up your day immediately, no matter how cold it is outside or how much work is on the schedule for the next 24 hours..
what would be your dream project?
To eventually work on my own book or graphic novel. It`s been a dream of mine for quite some time now and I`m slowly starting to take the first steps in that direction.
cat or dog?
Dog. Even though I have a cat I still prefer the loyalty of a dog. Cats give me the feeling that they`re just using me when they are hungry or want to cuddle. A dog will always be excited being around you. A cat gives you sometimes that “what do you want human?” look and THAT is a real turn – off for me.
who is your hero at the moment?
Ha ha ha! Good one. I can`t say I have someone as a hero but I do admire lots of artists such as Marko Djurdjevic, Brad Rigney, Wesley Burt, Michael Kutsche, Sergey Kolesov, Eric Fortune, Anthony Jones, Frank Frazetta, Mucha, Toulouse – Lautrec etc. I don`t believe in heroes since they are a myth and their only purpose is to stop you from becoming one. Plus most of the heroes wear capes and spandex, which is not exactly my cup of tea..
If you were a character from Star Wars, which one would you be?
I have to disappoint you on this one since I`m one of the few people that wasn't, isn't and will never be an admirer of this saga. And I don`t get all the hype around it. Seriously people, you need to calm down about it. It`s crazy, almost like its own religion. I`d rather be a character from Edgar Allan Poe`s novels, Allan Ford, Dylan Dog or something I have actually read/seen in my life…
If you could do any other job what would you choose and why?
Professional cook with my own restaurant. Hands down. I love cooking. To me is even more relaxing than doing art. I think I got the love for the kitchen from my mom, she is a creative force of nature when it comes to preparing food and I love how easily I get lost within my thoughts when making dishes. There is something beautiful about taking random stuff, arranging it together and creating something that is actually tasteful and enjoyable. And if you think about it, cooking also needs to follow the same rules as art such as balance, composition, contrast, color etc. And you make people happy. And their bellies full.
where could we find you on friday night?
You can`t. I get swallowed by the night life and it spits me out in the early hours of the morning. No, seriously. I either go out to pubs that I like, molest my friends with shots of rakija or tequila or I stay at home and work. I am a social person but often I feel like being alone with my thoughts, just to think about stuff and trying to get my head around things. Also working as a freelancer makes you lose track of time and space, so what “normal” people do on a Friday night might happen to me on a Sunday or Tuesday evening. That`s the great thing about being an artist. You get to work ALL the time..
Pepsi or Coke?
Both can be mixed with alcohol so I`ll take both.
How would you define your personal work-life balance in terms of ratio (50/50 70/30 etc)
I spend most of my days working, as I`ve mentioned previously since being a freelancer is a very insecure career so you have to bust your ass constantly in order to be able to pay the bills and eat some food. Countless sleepless working marathons, combined with absurd amounts of coffee and energy drinks and my cat running around is definitely quite an experience. But I do have my moments when I`m just lazy or when I see my friends for a drink. I`m happy with the current situation, even though it gets pretty hectic sometimes but right now this kind of lifestyle suits me. I definitely don`t plan to do it forever though, I do want to be able to have a regular schedule someday and settle down, have a family and enjoy spending time with my loved ones. I guess that it would prevent me from going “loco en el coco” eventually..
What brings you joy?
My nephews. I am a very lucky uncle, and I love kids. Unfortunately because of my work and the distance I cannot see them as often as I would like to but whenever we meet each other it brings a big smile on my face and I don`t mind braking my back while playing with them. Another thing that brings joy to my day is the sun outside. I am someone that is heavily influenced by the weather, I`m a worshiper of 20+ °C so whenever I can I just go for long walks, listening to my mp3 and observing the world around me while the sun beams warm my face..
Traditional or digital?
When doing client work I do it always digitally. It`s way easier to change stuff around and give different ideas quicker. Also there`s no sentiment attached to it. I remember back in the days when I used to spend hours doing very tight pencil drawings and being very excited about it only to see it being ripped apart by the client and at that point I lost all the motivation to start all over again. It was a really stupid choice from me to do it traditionally anyway. But when it comes to my personal stuff I ditch my Wacom and mix traditional mediums. I really enjoy the whole process of getting your hands dirty plus you end up with an original piece which is always cool. It has more soul than the cold digital file..
What was the toughest lesson you learned while being an artist?
Having no fear to create. Getting rid of it was almost like an epiphany, realizing that it`s completely normal to make mistakes and actually the more you make them the more you`ll learn. I understood that no one is forcing me to show every drawing or painting that I make, if it`s a crappy one I can just throw it away and start again. And that`s what I tell people when they speak about doing something but end up saying that it`s going to look bad or it`s too hard without even trying. Or just talking and talking and talking about doing it. Just do it. Stop whining about it. The sooner you`ll start, the sooner you`ll see the final result. And if it sucks go back to the drawing board and practice. It`s art we`re talking about not someone`s death sentence.
Where do you get ideas when doing art?
I can only speak about my personal work since when doing commercial stuff I get all types of briefs and art direction, which often limits what you can do and the creativity involved. So for my own stuff I usually just look for an interesting composition and most of the times I let the picture create itself. Sometimes it`s completely abstract, others there is more of a storytelling element involved. It really depends. But most of my pictures do represent my state of mind at that moment when I am creating them. As I`ve said earlier, I use art as therapy so I can get stuff out of my head and reflect about it..
When did you decide to get serious about art?Late 2006. That year was a huge milestone for me because I was going through one of the toughest periods in my life and I felt like exploding. It was at that point that I started thinking about who I was and what I want from life and I remember so clearly that one day I just picked up a brush and started playing with watercolors on a piece of paper. And it felt great! I kept doing it throughout the next days and with the help of discovering the whole industry connected with illustration and concept art something inside of me said: “This is who you are. Go for it!” And I did. Now that I look back at it I see how everything makes sense, every single decision or situation that I`ve ever made lead up to this. I`m still not where I want to be with my art but I`m excited about all the things I still have to learn, because that`s the fun side of it – learning and discovering new things on this amazing journey…
Is having and experiencing life important in order to be creative?
Absolutely!!! Life is so much important to art, more than most of the people can even think of or understand. In order to be a good artist you have to build your visual library in the back of your head. And I`m not talking only about data that you can learn by heart sitting in a small room, I`m talking about going out, having walks, meeting new people, seeing new places, discovering new cultures and balancing your inner ying and yang. What comes out on a piece of paper eventually reflects your own personality, whether you like it or not. And if you`re empty inside, if you`re having nothing more to life than playing video games or wasting time on social networks or even raping your brain with TV series don`t be surprised if you`ll struggle as hell when trying to put down even the simplest of lines. Life is like an enormous cooking pot. If you put garbage in it, anything you make will look and taste like shit. You won`t be happy eating it and you can be damn sure that none of your friends nor relatives will enjoy it either. And art is a side product of that. Enjoy life, go through it with a happy and open heart, get out of your comfort zone, express yourself in any kind of way, don`t be confined by society and random strangers on the streets that you don`t know, don`t care about and won`t probably never see again, learn new things, analyze yourself and try to be a better person, don`t be afraid of experiencing it `cause when the time comes you`ll look back and I can bet my left pinky that you`ll go out happier knowing that you had no regrets and no remorse..
What is the best advice you could give to someone wanting to pursue an artistic career?
Easy. Surround yourself with people doing similar stuff. You cannot do it by yourself. If you want to grow and learn as an artist but also as a human being it is necessary not to be alone while doing so. You`ll encounter an incredible amount of obstacles and questions on your path, not only art related but life wise, and if you think you have all the answers or think you can come up with them by yourself, well guess what? It`s not going to happen. And it shouldn`t. We are being influenced on a daily basis by people that surround us, and we have the privilege of being able to choose those that affect our lives, so why not interact with those that know way more than you do or those that maybe have a simple solution to a problem that you thought off as unsolvable? You`ll learn way more and faster by doing so than by just being in your room having a headache because something just doesn`t work as it should. Me moving to Belgrade was probably the smartest decision I've made in my whole life and it`s working out pretty well if you ask me. Don`t limit yourself, don`t sit on your bed and cry wondering why certain things are not happening, don`t expect opportunities to drop in front of you out of the blue sky, don`t envy others because they have something you don`t, don`t procrastinate, don`t fantasize how cool it would be to do this and that. I wrote a note on an a3 sheet of paper and glued it on the wall in my studio. It says “If you want it, work for it you idiot!” If you think life is just about sitting in your own panic room so something or someone doesn`t hurt you than you`re just a turd. And I`m being brutally honest. We learn way more from tragedy and negative situations than we do from the positive ones. That`s part of the deal. Nothing is or will ever be perfect so why expecting perfection from this amazing thing we call life? And we should embrace that. Yes it`s hard, many times doesn`t make sense or it seems endless but that`s the beauty of it: seeing how often can you get up on your feet after being knocked down so many times. What we learn from this is so valuable, and THAT is the reason why it is so hard to do. Because what you get afterward is incomparable but it costs energy and sacrifice…
Darjan, we thank you so, so much! Cheers!
You can check out some more of Darjan's work here