The Sketchbook is intended to contain the stuff that will not find its way to the galleries or the homepage of this website. There will be more information here about me and my art but, also, about the things that are not directly connected to what I do standing by the easel or sitting by my computer. On this page there will be mentioned the books that I am reading, the music that I am listening to and other things that I may want to share with other people.
May 6, 2019
“Kraut Harmonia” – details
“Metamorphosis” – details
“Sister – Mediterranean Sundowns” – details
“African Dream” – details
The details from “Starwalker”
The details from “The Great Gate of Kiev”.
Here are more details from my new painting “The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba Yaga)”:
Here is my interview for Rochester, MN based reVerb.mn
Tuesday Nov. 5th, 2013
Are you a Rochester native? If not, where did you grow up? What brought you to Rochester?
No. I was born in Europe or, more precisely, in Yugoslavia the country that doesn’t even exist at this time. Who dares to claim the knowledge why the things happen? In my case it could be “Highway 61 Revisited” by Bob Dylan. I never really planned to come here and stay but, somehow, it just happened. Maybe that’s the real charm (or the meaning) of life – unpredictability. The further unpredictably – I feel Rochester my home now.
What’s your profession?
Formally, I have a Bachelor degree in Law, and a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts. I also worked as a Curator Historian in a museum, and now am working as an interpreter for Mayo Clinic and have a part time job in Rochester Public Library.
Which artists inspire you? Or where do you find inspiration?
There are many artists that I like, too many to be numbered. Do they inspire me? Probably, but don’t ask me how. The process is too mysterious, elusive to be explained by words: that’s why we are making pictures and not books.
What attracts you to this more ‘grass roots’ or ‘underground’ type art venue?
Maybe because I am an “underground” type of a person, or just less formal. Indeed, I would welcome any occasion to meet my fellow artists for exchange of ideas no matter where.
What’s your opinion about the Rochester art scene? And how do you see it evolving? What will it look like in ten years?
I can hardly talk about the topic. I live in a cave made of books, records, screens, and canvases with not much communication with the world outside.
What’s on your playlist?
I read a lot. My favorite authors are the Latin American such as Fuentes, Cortazar, Marques, Bolano; I read on history, art, politics … The music is very important for me. Growing up in the sixties I was inevitably (and irretrievably) initiated to rock ’n’ roll music, eventually evolving my interests towards the blues and jazz. I like classical European music too.
Would you consider yourself ‘eccentric’ in any way? If so, how?
I would say that “eccentricity” applied to a person is how the others see a person rather than how or what he or she thinks or feels about himself or herself. I don’t analyze myself in that way. Certainly that is not the most important trait for a person.
September 7, 2013
L.S. Stavrianos: “The Balkans Since 1453
The Balkan’s history is not an easy bite. If you are not enough familiar with that part of the world the reading of such a book may, as soon as you go through a few of its chapters, end up in total confusion. To be able to follow the story one should already be familiar with at least general settings for the story he/she is about to read, and that means all the geographical names, the names of the nations and individuals, the languages, religions, ethnic origins, cultures and who knows what else – and that’s not all because the things are much more complicated do to the fact that all these mentioned (and many other unmentioned) things are not seen isolated, but intertwined in innumerable ways and patterns. Even for those who are familiar with the Balkans and that would mostly be the ones who live there or were, at least, born there this is not simple matter because many of them are very biased on many levels; it is not unusual that the historians (an often those who are not even historians) explain the historical facts in very different ways almost always in favor of their own national, religious, political or other kind of groups.
Professor Leften Stavros Stavrianos, a Greek-Canadian, was born in 1913 in Vancouver, Canada. He become a professor at Northwestern University in 1946, and after his retirement in 1973 he joined the University of California, San Diego until 1992 where he died in 2004. His two most important books are: “A Global History: From Prehistory to the 21st Century” and “The Balkans Since 1453”. The later is almost 1000 pages long history covering the period since the fall of Constantinople to sultan Mehmet II till 1950’s and is one of those great history books that is a must read for anybody seriously interested in the matter. Despite the fact that I am quite familiar with the Balkan’s history I have to say that I greatly benefited from reading it: there were many things that I for the first time heard of (especially the details of Romanian, Albanian and recent history of Bulgaria) while reading the book. The one of the aspects of this book that have impressed me the most was the way professor Stavrianos explained the presence and influence of the Ottoman Empire in this part of the world. Also, once when the story came to the 20th century it almost became a global history with all its complexities; this was not a challenge for professor Stavrianos – he masterfully grasped the matter giving the reader a clear and vivid picture of the events. The only complaint to the book is that it is outdated, missing a half of a century of the newest history (that just happened to be extremely interesting), and yes, when finishing my reading I almost cried: give me more, but we need to accept that every book after certain time becomes outdated. What is important is that the book I’m talking about is still relevant and also a pleasure to read. We can only hope that there will come some younger historian who will, inspired by professor Stavrianos, continue this interesting story further on…
August 5, 2013
“Let’s Go And Read Something” – details
“Incredible Daydream With a Painting Box” – details
“Joy of Art” – details
July 27, 2013
“El coronel no tiene quien le escriba” – details
July 27, 2013
Roberto Bolaño: “2666”
When a year ago a friend of mine suggested me to reed this book little had I known it was going to be a great present. Without any ambition to write about the author or his work I will just say that the covers of the book treasure some 900 pages of the greatest literature one can imagine. Still I am hesitant to recommend this book without a warning: it could be a dangerous book to read, and not everybody will be able consume it easily because the book has power to deprive the reader of all his or her innocence of not knowing. After reading this book one will never be the same person as before reading it.
June 8, 2013
Here are more details of my oil painting “It’s Only a (Pompeiian) Dream”.
Henry Miller: ”Big Sur and Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch”, 1956
There are many people that I know who would forbid their children to read Henry Miller’s books. True, many of his titles were officially banned in many a country. However, I’m not a kid (anymore) and I’m not “them”. These two reasons, supported by the fact that I like H.M., resulted in another fact –that that I do read Miller’s books, although, not that often: the last time when I read his book was some twenty years ago, and the book was “The Colossus from Maroussi” that I enjoyed greatly. Now I’m back to H.M. as I just finished reading of his “Big Sur and Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch”. What really attracted me to this book was its title or, more precisely, the name of the great painter. I knew that H.M. was a painter, but what I didn’t know was that we both liked Bosch. As I started reading I realize there was not much there about H.B. in the book, but it was rather a story about Big Sur the place in California – the earthly paradise, called by many – where H.M. had spent some fifteen years of his life, as well about the people who lived there at the same time as the Millers did. The book is some kind of a collection of short biographies of those people, but also much more.
However, there is one exception in regard to the length of those biographies – one of them is a pretty long as compared with the rest. It is a book inside book (more than 100 pages) and is a very interesting story about H. M.’s French friend Conrad Moricand and his stay in Big Sur with the Millers. The story is very unfavorable for C.M. and actually the reason for later dispute about its truthfulness. (For more details on this matter check on Karl Orend’s “Brotherhood of Fools & Simpletons”).
The last few pages are reserved for the Epilogue that is another interesting aspect of being an artist and also a popular one having the problem of being overwhelmed with the gargantuan correspondence with obviously too many people. The very ending was written somewhat routinely, but even without it the book a very good read. It was such a great experience to be with Henry Miller once again.
After finished the reading of the book I found a website of Henry’s daughter Val (many times mentioned in the book) where I had a pleasure of seeing some of his watercolor paintings.
May 11, 2013
Salvador Dali painted some genuinely great paintings; he was excellent in drawing and very eloquent in writing. Yes, very often he’d make cheap stuff with no other purpose but to pile more money on his bank accounts. He could be excused for that because of the greatness of his good works. However, as a personality he was hardly anything more than an asshole. His treatment of his closest friends (such as L. Bunuel whom he refused to help in the time when he was financially in dare need and Dali was a rich man), or his servants ( Arturo Caminada whom after a lifelong service Dali left without a single peseta in his will) were shameful. His political views are story by itself (even in the year 1974 – as it is evident from photographs- he kept the picture of Antonio Primo de Rivera (the founder of the Spanish Fascist Party) on the wall in his house. Ian Gibson is the author of the cca. 800 pages book titled “The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali” that is an excellent biography of the artist and I would recommend it to everybody interested in Dali. It contains a segment with a bunch of good color reproductions of his works, but most of the illustrations are black and white. As a great reference for Dali’s work the best choice is without any doubt 780 pages tea table size Taschen’s “Dali” by Robert Descharnes and Gilles Neret .
“The Art of the Fillmore – The Poster Series 1966 – 1971” by Gayle Lemke and Jacaeber Kastor, Acid Test Production, 1999 is a wonderful collection of photographs, posters, handbills, postcards and statements made in the period between the years 1966 and 1971 for Bill Graham’s venues the Fillmore West and Fillmore East. The book size is 9”x12” and has some 240 pages of full color reproductions of the art pieces created by the following artists: Wes Wilson, bonnie MacLean, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Rick Griffin, Lee Conklin, Greg Irons, Randy Tuten, David Byrd, David Singer and Norman Orr. For the initiated the book is a great reminder of the psychedelic era ant the musicians such as Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Grateful Dead, The Jefferson Airplane/Starship, The Doors, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Love, Big Brother and the Holding Co., to name just a few. The book is out of print and quite expensive; I bought a used one at a good price, it’s in a great shape, although with a bit of mold smell, but who cares …I still remember those days with a great pleasure.
Finished reading of “Christopher Unborn” by Carlos Fuentes in English. It was highly rewarding read. I was introduced to Fuentes long time ago through his great “Terra Nostra” in Serbo-Croatian translation (with wonderfully designed covers), and since then he’s been is on my top list. This is not surprising knowing that Milan Kundera said that “Terra Nostra”, a novel-encyclopedia as he called it, was one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. It is fascinating how the author was able to write these two novels in such different styles and be the same Carlos Fuentes. Unlike “baroque-ish “ digging in the historic (and prehistoric) times of Europe and the New World (visiting, by the way, my former country) dis/connected by the Atlantic Ocean in “Terra Nostra”, in the “Christopher” he stays in modern times’ Mexico involved in politics and much more, and all that enveloped in Fuentes’ irresistible humor and spectacular, humorous linguistics.
March 18, 2013
In the spring of 2007, while still in the college, I painted “Ship of Fools – A Homage To Hieronymus”. It was one of my first oil paintings. I wanted to finish it on time for the annual students’ works show at the RCTC. I had high hopes it will be accepted to the show, but unfortunately, it never happened. Later on it was on some shows and many liked it. However, there were a few details (such as unpainted sides of the canvas, some white spots never filled with the paint, etc) in the picture that I always wanted to change. This January, after finishing “The Golden Sea”, I had returned to the painting and fixed the mentioned details. Now I feel much better about it. Here is the painting and a few close ups.
“The Golden Sea” is a pretty large picture. Here are a few details that couldn’t be seen in the general view.