Ivana Besevic is a digital painter and illustrator, based between Paris, France and Belgrade, Serbia. She has been practicing art in various mediums for the past ten years. She spends her days with her family and friends, travelling or in her studio.
Here’s our conversation with Ivana.
Can you describe the time when you first realised that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
Somebody gave me modelling clay when I was 5 and I started making my own toys. I wasn’t interested in regular dolls. I gave my parents quite a surprise when I told them I was going to leave home and apply to High School of Design in Belgrade when I was 15 and that’s when it all started. Drawing, painting, design classes. Later on, Academy of Applied Arts in Belgrade and after that Paris College of Art/Parsons School of Design in Paris.
We are all influenced by others one way or another. Who are the artists who currently inspire you?
I love digital painters Craig Mullins and Jaime Jones, sculptor Ron Mueck, painters Jenny Saville, Frank Frazetta and Egon Schiele, directors Steve McQueen and Lars von Trier, and the list goes on.
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I like to listen to podcasts while I work or listen to music, but I almost never work in silence. I have a research period where I collect references & ideas, and I have a pretty large base of images for my upcoming work. I always have a notebook close to me and I am used to writing down every thought and idea that comes through my mind, especially something I think about in the middle of the night!
“I like to paint a beautiful face or landscape but if it’s just beautiful aesthetically, the experience is not good enough”
What do you think are the biggest struggles of an artist?
My struggle was searching for the best way to express myself, in particular regarding medium. I couldn’t find it for many years, I was unhappy with traditional art, I just couldn’t be passionate enough to invest myself in it properly. I’ve realized recently that when I apply everything I learned to digital medium, I get the results that I need and I am happy and more productive.
What moves you most in life, either to inspire or upset you?
I draw inspiration from stories, mostly visuals, like films, documentaries, photography but also from real life, my family, friends, ordinary people. I like to paint a beautiful face or landscape but if it’s just beautiful aesthetically, the experience is not good enough. It has to be underlined with something psychological, fearful, dramatic, dangerous. I am interested in unconventional and outstanding.
How would people around you describe you?
Righteous, impatient, stubborn, hardworking.
What role does art plays in your life?
This is a profession unlike any other, it’s a part of us and we never really retire from it, artists are lucky that way. As I was struggling to find my motivation, I took a break and didn’t paint for almost a year. I worked in film & TV production, on some amazing projects with some awesome people.
I played video games and learned about this creative industry as well, like concept art, character & environmental design, etc. All this leads to only one thing which was to find a solution to be productive and paint again. That’s how important it is, my entire life and every decision revolves around it somehow.
If you only had 24 hours to live, how would you spend your day?
With my dearest people, on a mountain somewhere with an awesome view. Music and good food. Under the condition that we don’t know this is my last 24 hours.
What is your typical kind of day like, if there’s such a thing for you as a typical kind of day?
It depends from day to day. Since I am super motivated at the moment, usually I wake up and hurry to work. I paint daily. I think practice and experimentation are the best way to progress, while talent is only a 2% of it. When I finish and share with people, I am fulfilled and happy. Also I play video games and watch a lot of BBC drama series and French movies, for fun and for inspiration. Yes, I’m a geek and I’m proud of it.
What would be the artistic project or collaboration of your dreams?
I would love to collaborate with photographers who do the same, portraits & scenery. I’d love to work with those artists I listed on the question about who inspires me, directors, photographers, painters. And I’d love to work in film and gaming industries as a 2D artist, matte painter or illustrator.