Marija Maksimovic and her multi-media works are forever intertwined with the story behind Artisster and its inception. Although Sandy Banic, founder and owner, had a history of purchasing original artworks from young artists, it was a chance meeting at a Munich student exhibition which lay the seeds for the idea that Banic would years later bring to life. The guiding principle at the heart of Artisster — to enable talented emerging artists to tell their stories and provide an avenue to get their work into the hands of a new global audience–developed when Banic reflected on her own emotional experiences meeting artists, hearing their impulses and ultimately personally investing in their art, and thereby, the artist’s career.
For Marija, art is not one thing, and as an artist she doesn’t have a solitary interpretation of art. She sees her art as a way to communication with herself and her environment, both which are in constant flux. She relies on this evolution to create her varied works, be they painting, drawing, sculpture, multimedia or all of these conveying different perspectives all at once. She loves how people look at her works from many angles and knowingly orchestrates this interaction by building upon the different diaphanous layers in her compositions. Read on to hear about how Marija began a search for beauty in visual art and some words of wisdom she’s gathered along the way.
Describe your “life story”.
I was born somewhat as the “ugliest kid ever” according to my uncle. I grew up in a small town Kraljevo in Central Serbia. I was a bit of a nerd in primary school, and in high school as well. I come from a family of a wonderful people who have always supported me, even though they have never fully understood what I’m really doing as an artist, and how an artist’s life practically functions, on the day to day. I do not blame them, it’s actually a question which I’m constantly asking myself. While it seems my uncle already knew what “ugliness” is, I was looking for “beauty,” at first in the High School of Arts in Kraljevo, and later at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade. My search continues in my current work, and I imagine thereafter. One thing is certain, “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”.
What are your earliest memories of your own personal creativity?
Some of my earliest creative impulses happened during my primary school education. I created murals in our classrooms to make our space more inviting, with beauty of course!
What do you wish you’d known about “an artist’s life” before you committed to the profession?
Actually I’m really happy that I didn’t know so much about artist’s life. That saved me from prejudices. Since I’m learning about what it means to be a professional artist every day, my life and creativity has become more interesting and unpredictable. This uncertainty, I’ve found out is a good starting point to make art.
How has your style developed?
During my studies in Fine Arts I experimented with different mediums, a lot in fact. From the beginning, I worked mostly with traditional techniques, and that was strongly influenced by an academic approach for sure. I increasingly began to abandon traditional techniques when I started to think more abstractly. I was interested in alternative materials. Somehow it was challenging to find a personal gesture because I wanted to translate the materials that we use for the day-to-day purpose into a work of art. I think I’ve been successful here. Light, airy and flickering materials are now integrated into my work and can be seen as very bold and clear.
How do you approach a new work?
It’s always different. A clear vision of complete work is not my way of thinking. I definitely have a complete idea, but the interaction between materials and my body and mind in the process of making my art has a huge role in my overall working process. Sometimes you lead materials, sometimes the materials lead you. This game seems endless until I decide that the piece is finished. I always enjoy what I experience during this process.
Can you recount a memorable comment you’ve received about your work?
I remember one American journalist who was interested in my work. She was asking about a specific piece which I hadn’t yet named. She was grateful for this absence and went on to explain that my works don’t always need names to be understandable. I like that open space between a viewer and a vibrant emotion placed “in the frame” because it opens the possibility for multi-dimensional readings and personal interpretations.
If you could collaborate with anyone (living or dead), who would it be?
Accidentally during my studies in Belgrade, I learned about the work of Jorinde Voigt, she is German artist. During my last time as an exchange student in Munich, she started as a professor at the academy, but sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity to meet her, because it was at the end of my exchange program. I remember the first time I saw her work. I felt that closely mirrors my own sensibility. Who knows? Maybe I will have a chance to meet her someday.
Biggest threat to emerging artists?
Art is building relationship with yourself during the process of creating. It doesn’t matter what you do, because it comes out of your own reasons and impulses. The result leads to an unavoidable doubt about whether or not you are doing the right thing. This doubt is a major threat to the production of art. While you are working, you are searching for the answers, and I believe that is the right path.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“There are some rare artists who might be good in every field of art. It’s important to experiment, but at one point, you should decide what is your way of storytelling. Then you should give yourself fully and commit to a specific field.”
Professionally, what’s your goal?
I would like to preserve playfulness and satisfaction while I’m creating.