Stories from the Unconscious: An Interview with Ivana Stojakovic by Nathan Wirth

Self Portrait - Ivana Stojakovic

Self Portrait – Ivana Stojakovic

03 (c) Ivana Stojakovic

03 (c) Ivana Stojakovic

Nathan:  Your images “read” as stories unto themselves. Do you have specific stories in mind when you create these images? In other words, I would like to know more about how you go about deciding which elements you combine and what you seek to express when you do so.

Ivana: Throughout my whole working experience and life in general, I have realized that my artwork speaks its own language. If I try to analyze the process, I have trouble trying to define it, and end up putting it into some kind of mold or form that limits it. When I visually create a story, that particular story already exists in my deepest Being and it’s almost impossible to verbalize that unique experience. I wonder: is it even necessary to verbalize it?

There is one more higher cause which I wish to conceive. It is that eternal need for reaching beauty. This pure aesthetic cause makes me passionate about my work. I think that every woman or man who is interested in some kind of abstract work has that ultimate goal, subconsciously.  So, in that matter, every one of my photos is a “constant present time” of me discovering my unconsciousness. It’s simple as that. Everything else is just a combination of imagination and skill. The whole point is to reach authenticity – bravely and honestly.

Nathan: Because your images have such a strong element of storytelling, I often wonder why you choose not to title your visual stories?

Ivana: While listening to music, some people just let themselves go with a song’s flow; they feel the melody and that’s enough for them while others prefer to listen to the words. You may say that the most important thing in music is the melody and that the words just follow the notes. In some way, words limits the music; when I put my work in the air, it becomes everyone else’s experience so that they can enjoy and discover something that is just theirs. I feel if I title the photos, they will be just mine, and the truth is that my work is done every time I finish the visualization, when I say – that’s it!

08 (c) Ivana Stojakovic

08 (c) Ivana Stojakovic

Even though I’m well aware of the power of words, I make an exception in this context. In my mind I make very clear distinction between the art of literature and the “art of the visual” I don’t have the need to explain my artwork cause I believe that everything is said through the story I make in every photo, in every single element of it.

Remember when Raskolnikov killed the granny? I had so much to think about it, so much to discuss and had strong feelings about that particular action of a character who inspired me to not only think of myself but to think about the whole society that I live in, to reevaluate every single dilemma that I forgot about. That was a hundred years ago, but it’s still the same concept – art does not seek the explanation; it’s the eternal question. I have to admit that it is much easier to digitally paint the questions in order to find a grain of truth than to proclaim it.

Nathan: What is your process for gathering together the various elements of your images?

Ivana: Everything I’ve created has come from, what I call, arranged chaos. I collect elements from everyday life; I take photos of everything I see as interesting and inspiring. And when I sit in the chair, I start to arrange that chaos in my way; I start to build a story from simple and small things in life and try to make them big and important. Because they are important. When I see a pot with flowers in the corner of the street, made by people who wanted to decorate their small restaurant by the river, I give it a new context; I see it in another meaning, another environment as a symbol of hope, or beauty, or people who have a great spirit for leaving.

Sometimes I have an entire story in my mind, but often just a detail can inspire me to make a whole new world around it. It is a fluent and ’with no rules’ process which follows the timing of my intuition. I do not do many things on purpose when it comes to my artwork except the part of realization. When I start to visually build the story, that is a fully controlled process. Everything that you see, every detail on my photo is there for a reason. If I don’t have some elements that I need, then I just draw them in order to complete the full picture I’ve imagined.

05 (c) Ivana Stojakovic

05 (c) Ivana Stojakovic

Nathan: Do you see your work as purely photographic? Some critics might argue that because the montage process requires digital manipulation that you your work should be labeled as digital art and not photography. Do you think such a distinction is necessary? Personally, I do not. I think that digital tools merely allow us to further explore the possibilities of creation in different ways– and worrying about what we call the process or outcome seems utterly unnecessary because what truly matters is the final piece … and not the process by which you arrived there.

Ivana: Certainly, my work is not just photographic. I never thought it was. I personally think that digital manipulation is some kind of modern painting. Even that is not a good label because digital manipulation is just a consequence of the new era of a modern technology and it can’t be compared or measured by the already known criteria. I know that many people do not acknowledge this way of expressing yourself just because you do it on your computer, but in the end, it exists and can be good when you’re honest in doing that.

Distinctions are common because of our human nature; we feel safe when we belong somewhere, but I would put it like this – is it good or not? That is only thing that matters.
Manipulating is a word that often refers to something negative. In case of digital manipulating – it’s even worse. But if we put it in other manner, it can be constructive. If you manipulate in a wrong way, it is manipulation; however, if you do it in an honest way, it’s your own artwork.

Nathan: What first drew you to create your surrealist stories? Did you start out taking more traditional images and, if yes, do you still do so?

Ivana: I was never just a photographer. I was always close to everything that is a bit awkward, or strange, or different, or divergent. In everyday life, everything leads you to –  the common, but life itself is not just a straight way of securities and habits. After playing with my camera for some time, I realized that pure photography wan’t enough for my untold stories. When you take a photo, the main subject of your observation is – that subject (portraits, nature, architecture etc.). But when you make the whole scenery with the parts chosen only by you, then the subject is just you and your new and unique creation. Objects are only in service of your artistic concept.

I make traditional images only to find those objects.

06  (c) Ivana Stojakovic

06 (c) Ivana Stojakovic

Nathan: Why do you prefer black and white for your creations?

Ivana: Well, it began when I wanted to create the whole new dimension from just two colors. And shadows. If you manage to create a vivid black and white photo, it’s a challenge! It’s easy with colors, they are full of life in and of themselves.

This is my current “obsession”; it allows me to make a good story without being disturbed by the seductive impact of colors. In a monochrome photo, you just read the narrative, think about it and have the freedom for your own reception. This is another reason why I don’t make titles for my photos: I prefer that people actively participate in every one of them and give them their own piece of meaning.

Nathan: Does music have any influence on your processing? If yes … what are some of your favorite things to listen to while you work?

Ivana: Music is actually the helper; it inspires me to create a working atmosphere depending on my current mood. My choice goes to music that creates rhythm that moves me enough to stay in a good spirit. Of course, there are days when it’s not necessary, days when I’m good just with  silence and only “the music” of my thoughts and feelings.

These are some artist and bands that I like the most these days: Daughter, Angus and Julia Stone, Sia, Bon Iver, Cat Power, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Miles Davis, EKV.

Nathan: What are your thoughts about using social media to share your art?

Ivana: For me, the most important thing is to be satisfied with my final work. Then, I’m not afraid to share it with a world. Social media is an available way to communicate out here according to the time we live in. I repeat, everything that you do honestly will eventually find the way to the people who are willing to see what you do and accept your choice of expressing yourself.

09 (c) Ivana Stojakovic

09 (c) Ivana Stojakovic

Today, I have a pleasure to follow the work of my dear acquaintances and to support everyone that I find close to my artistic taste. I learn from everyone. We have an opportunity to see each other in another level; we are from different parts of the world, but when it comes to our work, we feel close to each other. Maybe we don’t drink coffee together, but we share the same sensitivity.

I’ve met some very nice and inspiring people on the web, so it would be wrong if I say something rude about social media. Maybe that’s because I use it only to share my work and also to support the work of people I admire.

Nathan: What advice do you have for anyone who would want to pursue creating surrealist images?

Ivana: First of all, ask yourself: is it your way? If it is so, let your being carry you throughout the creative process without thinking of a final result or fear of anything that comes from the external environment. It’s fundamental to free yourself and to create just for yourself and only then to share with others.  Kant officially proclaimed that the whole world and it’s creations were made only for us. Everything that we see, we see it through our own eyes. This is just a simplification of his philosophical concept, but it is that Idea that matters. So, the conclusion must be – just do what is in your heart and head. No reproduction allowed, just influence.

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Explore More of Ivana’s Work: flickr| art limited | facebook

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Several Images with Notes from Ivana

#01 (c) Ivana Stojakovic I’ve always been interested in sci-fi movies, especially with a scenery behind the actors and everything else that’s going on the screen. Those backgrounds fascinated me so I instinctively started to create them in my work. Maybe you’ve noticed, I often use a tree in my photos. I live near the river and those trees near the river have much larger roots, very vivid and meaningful. Beside a obvious symbol of life, those roots are much more important for me, they are bond with the ground, reality, but, at same time, a bond with Earth and ourselves. It reminds us not to forget the importance of being present, focused and strong with everything we do and everything we are. Often we might feel that our thoughts and feelings are like in sci-fi ’horror’ background sceneries. That inspired me to go through that experience and make it a bit different, to add a bird, strong and fearless, that can fly above all the challenges of life situations and to have that tree on the way. It can be hope, it can be whatever you need to overcome the things you need to with the eye of an seagull and wings strong enough to reach the light above the tree.

#01 (c) Ivana Stojakovic
I’ve always been interested in sci-fi movies, especially with a scenery behind the actors and everything else that’s going on the screen. Those backgrounds fascinated me so I instinctively started to create them in my work.
Maybe you’ve noticed, I often use a tree in my photos. I live near the river and those trees near the river have much larger roots, very vivid and meaningful. Beside a obvious symbol of life, those roots are much more important for me, they are bond with the ground, reality, but, at same time, a bond with Earth and ourselves. It reminds us not to forget the importance of being present, focused and strong with everything we do and everything we are.
Often we might feel that our thoughts and feelings are like in sci-fi ’horror’ background sceneries. That inspired me to go through that experience and make it a bit different, to add a bird, strong and fearless, that can fly above all the challenges of life situations and to have that tree on the way. It can be hope, it can be whatever you need to overcome the things you need to with the eye of an seagull and wings strong enough to reach the light above the tree.

#02 (c) Ivana Stojakovic It’s interesting how a man can come up with a good story just of one or two elements combined in a right way. I like minimalism, but when it comes spontaneously and with a good point of view and realization, of course. Those two balloons have a wide variety of meanings, depends of the eye of the observer. We can perceive them as a symbol of freedom, love, creating life, but when I think about them, I would put it like this – there’s no loneliness on the way to the clouds.

#02 (c) Ivana Stojakovic
It’s interesting how a man can come up with a good story just of one or two elements combined in a right way. I like minimalism, but when it comes spontaneously and with a good point of view and realization, of course.
Those two balloons have a wide variety of meanings, depends of the eye of the observer. We can perceive them as a symbol of freedom, love, creating life, but when I think about them, I would put it like this – there’s no loneliness on the way to the clouds.

#03 (c) Ivana Stojakovic There’s always that internal struggle we all live through. If you have your tree, your connection with yourself, that fight is just a step on the way. Hold on to yourself when you discover what that means. There’s always a polarity between something that you want and what you’re really capable of, so, when you discover that ’golden ratio’, go with it. You never know the end, but the fact that you’re on the cliff, struggling and fighting for everything you are, that’s it, the life itself. We know nothing about it, but that is what makes as alive.

#03 (c) Ivana Stojakovic
There’s always that internal struggle we all live through. If you have your tree, your connection with yourself, that fight is just a step on the way.
Hold on to yourself when you discover what that means. There’s always a polarity between something that you want and what you’re really capable of, so, when you discover that ’golden ratio’, go with it. You never know the end, but the fact that you’re on the cliff, struggling and fighting for everything you are, that’s it, the life itself. We know nothing about it, but that is what makes as alive.

A Gallery of Images

 

01 (c) Ivana Stojakovic02 (c) Ivana Stojakovic03 (c) Ivana Stojakovic04 (c) Ivana Stojakovic05 (c) Ivana Stojakovic06 (c) Ivana Stojakovic07 (c) Ivana Stojakovic08 (c) Ivana Stojakovic09 (c) Ivana Stojakovic 010 (c) Ivana Stojakovic011 (c) Ivana Stojakovic012 (c) Ivana Stojakovic013(c) Ivana Stojakovic014 (c) Ivana Stojakovic015 (c) Ivana Stojakovic016 (c) Ivana Stojakovic017 (c) Ivana Stojakovic018 (c) Ivana Stojakovic

All images on this page– unless otherwise noted– are protected by copyright and may not be used  for any purpose without Ivana Stojakovics permission.
The text on this page is protected by copyright and may not be used for any purpose without Ivana Stojakovic or Nathan Wirth‘s permission

4 Comments

  1. comprar fruta online September 22, 2015 at 10:04 am #

    Thx for sharing this awesome interview with us. The ideas she share through their photography are captivating

  2. productos peluqueria September 4, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    Absolutely awesome concepts of arts, i never heard about Ivana until know but she captivate me with those shadow plays. Thx for sharing with us!

  3. Dewald Jay February 17, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    Thank you for this, I adore this artist`s work and often find ideas awakened by her works. Being a dabbler in the arts myself I fully understand how she views labeling or titling her work, each viewer should read their own scenario from any work of art. I find a slight distinction between photography and digital art in the sense if all the components of the piece is from the artists camera then no matter how much it is manipulated it remains photography…Thank you Nathan and thank you Ivana.

  4. Morrie Fink February 14, 2015 at 11:29 am #

    Thank you Mr Wirth for the introduction to Ivana Stojakovic’s work. I really in joy looking at this kind of photographic process. Now if only I had what it takes to do this kind of work.

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