From our blog
Tuesday 3 April 2018 13:11

Designer, singer, teacher, lecturer at the Academy and cyclist, brings insight into one so complex and yet beautiful and productive life

You can often see a man born in Tuzla, on the roads around Sarajevo. He is not digging the cable channels, he is not stopping the runners in the uniform of the police officer, but he is beating KOM (one sort of cycling record op.) on his faithful Colnag.

Bicyclist, designer, high school teacher, salt bag loader, singer, assistant at the Art Academy and witness of the Milan - San Remo race, Dejan Slavuljica is not a common man. Not even close to a classical specimen of any people we are used to here, within the limits of our state. He is also an atypical artist - when you start talking about drawings, he turns his tempo according to Krupac (a kind of cycling ride, op.).

These two things - art and cycling permeate his being and spirit. And we can not say in what this man is better. He worked long time for one of the most respected regional design houses and his works were all a around you and you did not even know about it. He has made countless posters for various manifestations, we admired them, and yet we did not know that it was his work. He was rewarded for many of them, and again when he came out to receive the prize, said thanks to everyone, waved at everyone and probably already was planning an early morning ride to reconcile all of his life responsibilities.

A magic triangle

There is, however, already a dozen reasons to talk to him about how he is capable of managing all of it, but it has happened that he has been participating in a very important regional program for the last few months and has also illustrated a picture book, quite accidentally.

Cycling, drawing, lecturing, kids ... How do you, Dejo, managing of all this?

Honestly, sometimes I ask myself the same question, but somehow I am. It looks like some creative creator in me creatively designed it. I mean, it is pretty frustrating to organize, but at the end of the day I am happy

It looks like some creative creator in me creatively designed it. I mean, it's pretty frustrating to organize, but at the end of the day I'm happy. This last one is the most important thing, but somehow one is giving power to another, so I keep the rhythm - as Cancellara on the road, though - but I am managing it.

Design, with cycling, is certainly the highest quality of your life. Where is Dejan Slavuljica in design waters? How did it all begin?

First of all, I would add the music to the list and form some enchanted triangles. And everything started, now quite a long time ago. As a kid I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, and did it. Meanwhile, I have been through a very interesting process. I was interested in things related to drawing, illustration, strip, tattoo, graffiti and the like.

When I tried all of that, I went to some more modern novelties and tried to learn something new. When I came to the moment to enroll in the Academy, my older colleagues advised me that graphic design was the right direction for me and they were right. That study has somehow defined me and now I am moving within the graphic design, with all the lessons learned in the previous part of life.

You have been working and working on a multitude of different projects, which were completely different in character. Which are the most complete and enjoyable things - creating posters, logos, comics, illustrating books, covering CDs or working with students?

Everything is somehow a challenge to yourself, and always interesting, if you accept that way. Perhaps there were some projects in which the client, in my opinion, had wrong views towards the project itself, and that was resulted in the project that was not for enjoyment. But most likely, this art creator in me, often finished that project as he was planning, so in my exhibition I can expose things I think I have successfully performed and created.

Everything can be learned

And working with students is something else, it is a nice process, in which, apart from trying to give some knowledge, I am trying to learn something new. Each generation has its own specifics, which besides regular tasks are very interesting to study, and to adapt to this, while at the same time we go through the curriculum as successfully as possible.

As this is so interesting, can you get a little close to this social gathering at the Academy - because I know you are a friend to all of your students.

All this is dynamic, interesting, sometimes a little harder, but all in all, I think I am somehow happy in this environment. Teaching is specific, we are constantly trying to encourage, stimulate, sometimes make a little chase to work, and through learning to get to know each other, somehow the relationship is different than in other faculties. But mutual obstinacy and cooperation are often fruitful, so in some ways we will be rewarded for the common effort.

Are you already able to recognize some special talents at the Academy?

Basically, talents are constantly there. After all, the youth coming to join the Academy are already talents in some way, but the problem is to form a talented worker. Because the talent without work will not go far. And there are really many things that can be learned and knowledge that can be mastered. So, often persistent, hard-working, and committed to grow into a better artists, grow into a better creative person, than some great, but lazy talents.

You have been awarded with a number of awards for your works, how important are these in the terms of social validation and further engagement?

That is probably a very complex thing, but I am trying to figure it out in my own way. Personally, I do not think the prizes show real value, but I think those awards are very good as a stimulus for further work. This is one of the things that keep us in the dynamic of our creativity, of course among other elements. As example, you can do less creative or less quality work for a large client, and because of the clients name it will be more noticeable and more valued, and at the same time, you can do a genius thing and get nothing for a great creative step. Society is weird and I think society appreciates us as much as we do ourselves, but in my case, or in my opinion, I think there is need to be something behind "ourselves" so that we can rely on, which is some continuous work. Because that is what defines and fills us with personality.

You are a participant in a project that took you to Bologna and Paris to educate young comic artists. What's this all about?

Artist@Work is a project that connects three countries - B&H, France and Italy, through three cities - Tuzla, Paris and Bologna. It is about the EU project and their programmatic schemes for connecting youth through art. Several organizations such as Unipolis Foundation, Cinemovel Fondation, Libera from Italy, Ateliers Varan from France and Tuzlanska Amica from B&H, have somehow come up with a joint project, consisting of several trainers from all three countries hosting several workshops in all three countries.

Working from the heart

It was important to gather enough interested young people to participate in workshops based on topics related to corruption in any form. It is my pleasure to gather young people from several cities from B&H, given that colleagues from the other two countries did the same. Three workshops are scheduled within eight months, as well as certain work between workshops. And all this communication and progress is going through an experimental web platform, where the relationships between all project participants is regulated. Pietro Scarnera from Italy and myself run comic and illustrations workshops, Munever Salihović from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Stephane Charpentier from France are taking photo workshops, and Renaud Personaz from France and Bruno Olivieri from Italy are leading film and video workshops.

That is a really dense schedule, and again you have managed to find time to illustrate a picture book?

I have managed it somehow, and probably because working on this was a big pleasure. It is a picture story book from my dear friend Dubravko Boban. I did not even expect it to be printed - it is one of those things that you are working on from your heart, but with great luck, we came across a man from Croatia who liked the idea and picture story book, so he decided to cover all the printing expenses.

And so, "The Concert of an Angel ," a wonderful story for the children saw the light of day, in the authors release. Last night, we had a promotion at the Dobrinja Culture Center, where larger versions of the illustration were exhibited.

Source: Nisad Selimović for the Daily newspapers Oslobođenje