Sit Down With Our September '22 Featured Artist

Tea Jurisic

Instagram / Tea Jurisic
Featured Artist / September '22 ScrawlrBox 

My name is Tea Jurisic, I am an illustrator, muralist, and founder of KVAR illustration studio. I got my MA in Graphics from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Croatia, and since then I worked with clients from all around the world on different creative projects.

I love to work with watercolour on paper and with various drawing techniques such as ink, pencil and markers, and I use digital techniques as well.

 I created a murals in many European countries, such as Norway, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia...But also the murals which are visible only to the certain people! One of my favourite ongoing projects is to paint inside of prisons. I have already created illustrations on the walls in 3 prisons, and there will be many more. The idea is to revitalize the space and to observe how the people react to the illustration and colour inside the prison.

I am a free soul and sometimes I live and work as a digital nomad in a small Mercedes 207d studio, together with my partner. We travel along Europe, trying to collect impressions and inspiration from many different cultures.

How did you begin your journey as an artist?

I’ve drawn since I was a little kid, using our living room walls and furniture as a canvas. My parents were so happy, haha! My first, “commercial” projects started in elementary school when I did some large- scale hand made posters for our local church. First time I earned something was when I was 13 and won a brand new mobile phone in a drawing competition from a magazine. I was so proud of it, my first phone and earned by myself!

What tool should every artist have?

Imagination is very important tool. Without it, there is no successful creation, no matter how much equipment and supplies you have. As an illustrator, the biggest part of my work is happening in my brain – visualising the idea, transforming it into something meaningful, and creating a invisible sketch in my mind. After that, the only thing I have to do is to transfer it on the paper.

What is the most important aspect of creating art?

In the end, to enjoy it. If other people enjoy it too, even better! I find it very important for me that other people understand what I want to say with my image, so I try to make it universal with a topic, with a theme which concerns us all. Also, I think art should be available for everyone, and that is one of the ideas I think about when I create street art. Everybody can see it and enjoy it, from a president to a small child passing trough.

What is your favourite part about adding colour to your work?

Adding colour is like a game after the serious work. For me, the idea and composition has to be strong and on the first place. This is the most difficult part of creating the artwork, to make meaningful, bold illustration, which will intrigue the people’s minds. When I get this feeling finally, I can relax and play with the colours. I love testing it on the side of the paper, and check which colours are friends with each other. For me, this is like a children’s game. You can find me enjoying with my little, colourful toys on the table, and I will look no different to a small, 5-year old child, with dirty hands and sparkle in their eyes

What do you look for in a quality marker pen?

I like my pens different sizes, because the first part of colouring is to make a colour fields, composition, and then I am finishing it with some fine, ultra thin outlines and strokes. I love markers which will not destroy the paper, which will not go through it on the other side, although sometimes if that happens I like to observe the other side as a funny, abstract artwork. Also, when I draw with them, I love when I am in a full control of the markers, and I always try to make a colour areas without visible strokes.

What/who is your main source of inspiration?

Everyday life, and the important people who surround me. For me, everyday life can be super inspiring, because I always like to search for details, and funny, odd and bizarre detailsare everywhere. That’s why you can find humorous moments in my work. I catchthe funny moment and transform it trough metaphor into something witty, and not visible at first sight. Sometimes the audience realizes the details after few seconds, or even minutes and then they have this element of surprise, ”oh, I get it!”

What role/influence do you think art has in everyday life?

Oh, it has a huge influence. Artists can change the world with their ideas. The image or the act can be very strong, especially today when it can be seen all around the globe thanks to the internet. Artists often express their inner world affected by the outside events. Most famous works from the 20 century are created under the special circumstances, like war. I like sometimes to think the only good thing about the war is artistic heritage they left us, and this heritage became a symbol of peace, a symbol of resistance and a warning about the future.

If you had to choose, pen or pencil?

Both, depends on the idea. But pencil is always in the beginning of creating, all my sketches and first drafts are made with pencil. I like to erase it because I like my sketches clean and clear. After the pencil comes the pen, so I can say pen and pencil are in a good relationship on my paper.

What is your favourite subject to focus on in your artwork and why?

My favourite subjects are human relationships, mythology and tradition of people and countries. I love to invest my time into the research before I start to paint, especially if I plan to make a illustration series. I would say in the centre of my research/illustrations is a human figure in many situations. Sometimes I think that is because I am  introvert, and my favourite way to hang with them is on the paper, to create my own crew. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, but my favourite moments are me being alone in the front of the canvas, ready to create, to charge my social batteries. That makes me ready to go out again, to be with a people, and to hunt new funny moments and ideas.

Do you have any tips on how to stay motivated?

I know how it works for me - getting out of my comfort zone. My motivation was always to push hard and trust to myself. Almost everybody around me always told me I should study something different, because art will always stay just a hobby. I think many artists hear that, and it is very depressing to hear, I had this feedback even from my closest family so I decided again to show my little, stubborn character and made it happen. For me the best motivation is when I find myself in a difficult financial situation. Than you HAVE to make something, you have to move and react. Just push forward, to make yourself better.  

What is the thing you enjoy most about being an artist?

 love being completely free, to be my own boss, and at this level of my careerI love that my clients recognise my style and want exactly that, without me making a compromise. It was a long and difficult path, but it was definitely worthwhile. I love the feeling that I am not even working, the feeling of constant enjoyment in the work, even if I have a creative struggle, I like this kind of challenge.

What are some of your other interests?

 am a professional scuba diver (divemaster), my hometown is on the beautiful Adriatic coast and I was surrounded by the sea my whole life. I worked many years with my father in our family diving centre, diving around the islands and in the caves. The water makes me calm, and my brain starts to collect a totally different impressions and topics, which I use later in a work. The other passion is mycology and mushroom foraging. I love the peace and quietnessof the deep forest. I guess the connection between these two is stillness.

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