Artist Statement

I like to include imagery which are of interest to my life in my work: narratives of my recent experiences and fascinations with wilderness and landscape as well as study of colour, composition, text, collage, abstract, realism and the study of the old. Portraiture and the human element are also of great importance in my painting, because I feel like both myself and the viewer could relate easier when seeing the human form in art. This led to making a "Memory" series in which I focused on painting faces of people and animals related to my birthplace Bosnia, portraying the war which occurred there in the 90s. Orphans, gypsies, war criminals, and wealthy landlords are all included in this series, but this information is not explicitly obvious to the viewer. Dogs are also another subject which I was interested in for this series, as I thought of comparing them to the human diversity in the Balkan region, as well as the links to portraiture, language, eradication and domestication. After this, I tried to distance myself from making art about a place I had long left, so I began depicting the Western Canadian landscape in my work. But instead of distancing myself from the theme of death and war, it became evident that these themes crept through in my landscapes as well.

Throughout my themed bodies of work, I make many abstract paintings, mainly to distance myself from purely representational work. These are very open, intuitive and experimental unlike my series which are preceded by much research and planning. In addition, I generally never "finish" a series, often choosing to go back and add to it by making more works to fit the theme, or physically painting over or onto the existing works. This emphasizes the aspect of a continued narrative and history which drives my practice.

An aesthetic which I cannot distance myself from is kitsch, and frequently elements of this are laced throughout my works. Kitsch describes art which is inferior, cheap, tacky, and copying something of greater value, and the more I researched, the more fascinated I became by this brand of "bad taste". In my USEFULHOARDING series, I choose to exploit the kitsch aesthetic by purposely using it as a means to create discourse about correlations between high and low art, hoarding, and the aspect of the childish in the adult artist. The fact that things which I have so freely enjoyed depicting in my art- landscapes and animals for example- are viewed by many as stereotypical symbols of kitsch is a strange and fascinating concept, leading me to exploit the tensions further with USEFULHOARDING. As this series continues, I am continuously finding ways in which to bring these things out and exaggerate them in ways which can offer interesting insight on old and new themes.