Bojana’s innate inclination towards art coupled with her adjustment to a new country, culture, and language in the early 1980’s created a lifelong pursuit for a communication method which transcends such boundaries. She focused on art throughout her educational journey, ultimately graduating from William Paterson University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, curatorial experience, time abroad in eastern China, and both solo and museum exhibitions under her belt while maintaining her job as a tattoo artist.
Ascending from 12-inch sculptures in high school to 12-feet in college, Bojana’s micro/macrocosmic ideas are reflected throughout her body of work. To gain a comprehensive picture of the universe, her exploration of dualities continues to be a fundamental aspect of her art. In part, this is expressed by decades of gravitation towards abstract expressionistic and minimalistic styles and refining their marriage.
After graduating in 2003, Bojana became a freelance graphic and web designer, married, had a baby, and opened her own art gallery and gift shop where she also made jewelry. Through her failures as an entrepreneur, she became an asset to institutions like the Riverdale Art Center and Riverdale Artists Cooperative where she served as President on the Executive Board. Her 2010 divorce was a catalyst for change and led her down yet another entrepreneurial path where she obtained board certification for permanent cosmetics, tattooing eyebrows and eyeliner on individuals who lost certain features due to cancer treatment and other health problems.
During this time, Bojana continued to make art and exhibit her work, partnering with Gallery Within and other intrastate businesses. Her sales and collection of awards from local venues and online competitions increased resulting in more frequent exhibitions and initiated the crossing of state lines. Over the past two years, Bojana’s artwork has been shown in Switzerland, Miami, and New York, and “She is Violin” (2010) was sought as cover art for a UK novel.
Bojana’s dual nature found a balance in the Horizons (2009), Around the Bend (2015), and 999 Butterflies (2018) art series which reflect her lifelong attraction to acrylics and mixed media elements such as sand, hair, and crystals, while teetering on the line of minimalism and expressionism. The edges of her canvases and fiberboard panels have been a crucial element in the last decade, usually incorporating her signature marks like the single colored edge, the wrap around stroke of color, and the contrast edge; her way of crossing the boundaries, both physically and metaphorically, and bridging the divide between two-dimensional and three-dimensional art.
If I could describe my work in one word and the purpose of it all, I would say hope. The hope that I, you, we, could get through it; the light at the end of the tunnel; the idea that tomorrow is another day and we could try again… Hope. Perhaps it’s my optimism or idealism which deludes my mind, but I wouldn’t trade this perspective for another. Hope makes the world go ‘round, and I would rather contribute to its revolution than sink into the darkness.
Tied for first place is communication. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Herein lies art and its relevance to me. During a time when I couldn’t communicate with anyone because English was my foreign language, I drew pictures or used my body to interact. The pee-pee dance is universal, peeps. So is some abstract art. I became aware by age seven that visual imagery can rise above fences like language, race, and creed and they can connect and equalize us. Art can unite people and that was beyond beautiful to me.
I use line, shape, color, texture, balance, and contrast (among a seemingly endless list of elements and principles) to convey a message… usually one of hope. I spill my heart on the canvas but use my mind to organize it in such a way that others can understand where I’m coming from without a spoken or written word. There’s magic in that! I fought for decades to achieve this balance and I have finally arrived.
You’re probably wondering when I’ll start talking about my artistic process, but I have been all along. Behind every work of art are immeasurable hours of thought, discussion, contemplation, sketching, and working out the details over and over in my mind until the idea has been refined and aged like fine wine. This is 90% of the process. Then, and only then, does anything happen on canvas. Just because a painting says “2018” doesn’t mean that’s the date of conception. Like babies need developmental time before birth, so does art.
As far as materials, the remaining 10% of the process, I lean towards acrylics because of their speedy drying time, flexibly, and compatibility with other materials. I often incorporate textures like sand, thread, and hair. The textures bear childhood memories and become embedded in the art because they are of monumental personal significance. I like to use wire for similar reasons as thread, usually depicting the mending or binding of something. Like words, these materials each have multiple contextual meanings.
The surfaces on which I paint vary depending on what I’m trying to achieve. Canvases represent planes and I use the edges to signify the intersection of these planes when appropriate. How I treat the edges is everything. MDF offers more flexibility with shape and I treat it as molded canvas. Both are essentially portals and are intended to offer a perspective similar to that of looking through a window. Rarely are they just “surfaces”.
Size is not as relevant as proportion. Sometimes a 24x24 inch surface is true to size, but when I use a tiny brush, 24x24 becomes a macrocosm. And when I use a four-inch brush, it is to paint a microcosm… as if seeing something through a microscope. Weather I’m painting on a coaster or a wall is of little consequence.
The materials are merely a means to an end. As I find more applicable resources, I would use whatever is most appropriate to convey the message. Ultimately, isn’t that what matters?