Tell us about yourself. How did your work in art start?
Hello dear ABSTRACT, my name is Maja Djordjevic. I love to paint, sing and entertain myself. An unwritten rule in Serbian primary schools is that there is always one person in each class who is really good at painting and drawing, and who of course paints and draws for everyone’s art projects. Well, in my class that was- me (laughter). When I was ten years old I started going to a private art school, where I took painting, drawing, sculpting and art history classes. After nine years of preparation and study I enrolled in a high school for design, and after that, I went on to the College for Visual Arts in Belgrade, painting section. Looking at it all from this distance, with my 28 of years of age, I see now that all of these things developed organically, and that I have been painting every day for 18 straight years.
Your paintings often show a satire with sexual and bloody stories, sometimes with violent episodes. Tell us more about this.
I directly take notes of situations, people and things that surround me, make me happy, sad, worried, in love, hurt, and satisfied again. The main character in my paintings is a naked girl. She is always loud, potent and busy, and she uses “violence” to express both the battle with herself and a way towards achieving her ideals, goals and essential happiness. Often I do not have a specific theme to work on. Constant drawing, painting, and sketching help me to find out what caught my attention in a certain period of my life. My goal is to give my audience a possibility to interpret my paintings through the prism of their own personal experience. I have to admit that their own impressions, concepts, and conclusions are often times funnier and more layered than my original episodes. That makes me happy!
How does your painting begin? How important is the inspiration and what role does the mood play in your work?
I regularly keep a digital diary in Paint, on my computer, phone or tablet. While I drawing all the mentioned situations, whether they be “sexual and bloody tales”, “violent episodes” or others, I manage to make myself laugh. By putting the little girl into the most varied of situations and by using various motifs, like white daisies, guns, weights, and others, fun comes easily for me, believe me! Computer programs help me to find certain tones and exact colours of the feelings and emotions that I wish to show with just one click. After that, the exact same digital image is transferred on canvas, using oil enamel colours. All done by hand, no tapes or stencils.
Tell us about your studio. How much time do you spend there?
I love my studio! I spend most of the day there! It is located on my favourite street in Belgrade, in the loft of a gorgeous building. The radio plays my favourite musician named Cola, and I paint- without stopping! Space is big enough, which is most important for me because I can paint 5 paintings at once. I paint on the floor since the paintings need to be put horizontally, because of the enamel colours and medium I use. In my studio, everything is bright, colourful and rosy, so it’s no wonder that I feel my best here.
What motivates you most in your work?
Many things, but mostly when that little digital image is finally transferred onto a big canvas. The feeling when I know I made that image alive.
Was there a turning moment in your career that played a key role in choosing this profession?
My work was already noticed during my college years. I exhibited a lot in Serbia. But what really made a difference is when, after my first solo exhibition, I got the call from Dio Horia Art Platform for a residential project on the island of Mykonos, and the invitation from U10 Gallery to exhibit at the Liste Art Fair in Basel. I learned there how it all actually works, and I also exhibited with the artists whose work I respect and have followed for a very long time, ever since I was a student. Then I continued working even more because I wanted to show how my pixelated girl was having fun with as many people as possible.
What are your plans for this year? Have you already planned some exhibitions?
I am working a lot on preparing new works. I will have a solo exhibition titled “I WILL FIND YOU” on the 6th of July at Dio Horia Art Platform, then on the 13th of September, I will be exhibiting at the October Salon in Belgrade, curated by Danielle and Gunar Kvaran.
Your thoughts that you want to share with our readers.
EVERYTHING WILL BE SUPER FINE.
Photos by Marija Radosavljević