Interview with Mario Kolaric about the daily practice of drawing, vision, error, and his new book.
How did the Diary drawings get started? Had you always kept a diary or a daily sketchbook?
I’ve been drawing in sketchbooks for almost ten years now, and I have made a few artists’ books, but the diary “Between Black and White” is my first online one. It started in 2010, while I was finishing my graduate work on Academy and writing my paper. On the first ones I tried to capture some ideas that would float in my mind while I was working on the graduate pieces. Slowly it transformed into something new.
Do you view these drawings as spatial and linear exercises, or are they influenced by your emotions or moods of the day? Or both?
It started with drawing as an exercise, but since it’s a daily practice, my moods and emotions are unavoidable part of the process that makes every day a new beginning, with all it’s hopes and doubts. In the end, what daily practice makes possible is constat observation of the process itself. I see it as a healthy habit for the mind that gives me opportunity to question my own perception and sence of time.
Why line vs paint?
I enjoy Early Renaissance paintings, expecially the ones from Fra Angelico. Because of the technical difficulties he was prevented to paint with big brush strokes, so to make a certain shape he used many small brush strokes and many layers. That, and a certain devotion to every detail made his paintings glow from within. On the other hand, Malevich manage to do the reverse with his Black Square. With same mantric devotion he neutralised the light from the white canvas and with it created a sound very similar to Pravoslav icons. I like to see paper not just as a surface, but as an object as well, in which I can enter and not just stay on it’s surface. For me, the paper is already writen out with many lines, a sort of mental landscape. I like to think that if I enter it with a big lens I could see all the possibilities that it possesses. The line helps me enter that landscape and it gives me the opportunity to folow the sound within it. In contrast to brush it gives this sence of engraving and carving information into the paper.
Is color used according to any system or is it chosen randomly?
First of all, I work with just one type of pens and they come in certain color pallet, so combinations are limited from the start. I guess that I could find some other pens with maybe wider color pallet, but in a way I enjoy this kind of limitation. And since shapes are created with lines one next to another, with different space between them I can get shadings… although I try not to control that to much and leave the shadings to appear through the process. Lately I’m trying to combine two colors that are in the right dialogue and make this 3D feeling out of the shape.
What does minimalism mean to you?
For me, the main goal of creating something is the dialogue and the real art is not the work itself but the dialogue that it creates with the observer. This is something that is not in me or in the work or in the observer, but rather it floats somewhere in between. The only thing that I can do to make sure that the information can be carried through the work to the observer is to make sure that this information is clear, and that there is no unnecessary inscriptions in it. I belive the way to achieve it is by bringing maximum of clarity into your message with minimal resources. If you go through all the history of art, all the great artists have a real clear message and that’s why their work speaks to us so directly. No mather when they lived and what was the main fashion of that time, they all speak to us with that direct look to the eye. When we talk about all the different isms in art we are just going further away from the art itself and we are trying to find a place for something that is already in it’s right place.
Some of the forms and spacial relationships in these drawings are so complex - do you have a plan when you sit down to draw, or do the forms emerge as you work?
I always enjoyed errors and all those strange ways how they can make drawing glow. So to start without a certain plan or vision comes naturally. Sometimes it’s just a right angle in the fist line I made or the specific color that illuminates something different that day - and everything else comes along. I belive that the line doesn’t begin with my movement, it’s been there before me. I’m just someone who is joining this endless movement and with that I can’t be the one who created something on it’s own. In this sence, maybe errors are our own signature with which we enrich the life itself.
What are your favorite pens?
All the Diary fragments are done with Stabilo Fineliners Point 88. I also like Faber-Castell’s Ecco pigment pens. But I must add that for the paper I use Fabriano Avorio paper (usually used in printing, like for etching etc.) because of his thickness, so that I can enjoy “carving” him with pens. It always remindes me that the paper is not just a surface but the object as well. Plus, I like to cut it in a way that almost looks like it’s torn so that the edges of the paper make an interesting dialogue with straight lines of the drawing and the emptiness of the space between them. One more reason to mention the type of paper is that pens are half transparent so the texture and the color of the paper always makes a difference.
What is your favorite “diary” fragment thus far and why?
Fragment 1. The first one that I made in this series. It’s still the one that pops up in my mind when I sit down to draw new one, day after day.
Any upcoming shows or projects we should look forward to?
Right now I’m working on my first book that will be published by Rostfrei Publishing from Ljubljana (Slovenia). Works in it will be more narrative than this drawings on Between Black and White. Also, my wife and I recently started to work together on a series of paintings on old book covers from the flee market and some installations that will be exhibited in our show in Belgrade and Vienna next year . There is also two solo shows that I have booked in Belgrade and Zagreb for the next year, and soon some in Europe as well.