ArtReveal Magazine, June 2015
The painter Marijan Novak Slunjski, does not have much to say. His paintings speak for him and about him. The artist exists the most when he is alone in his studio. In front of the canvas, with his brush in his hand.Born Croat he doesn't feel like a Croat, living and working in Slovenia but also not feelling like a Slovene. He is really at home only in painting. The eternal nomad, traveling the world for new experiences and new knowledge. Who wants to go out to verify and compare himself. Always dissatisfied with his work, he knows that this is the only way to find yourself. He is not adapting to the trends, nor has the desire to be likeable. He believes in the power of the individual in his personal effort. He believes in hard work. In genuine, pure art. He believes in painting. For himself, because of himself, not for others.His paintings are in permanent collections in Slovenia and abroad. He has received numerous awards and commendations for his work. But more and more he feels that this is not what matters. The only important thing for him is that he paints. And has the opportunity to paint even more. Time will show the truth, and with all other things, there are others to deal with.Who are you and what do you do?I am a painter of an old abstract art. I exist to paint.I believe in the power of the first move that triggers the idea. The invisible instinct drives me to create and I trust this instinct the most. In front of the canvas, with a brush in my hand, I am the most myself. I fully exist. Without thoughts. Only canvas and brush. The paradox is in the act, so long as you do not see, you do not know what it is, what it is for.My colors are white, red and black. All innumerable shades of black, that can be used to create an infinite variety of visions and feelings.I do not look at the trends. I don't paint to be famous. I believe that painting is hard work, that's why I honestly, consistently work. Paint. My paintings are not for everyone. I do not want to be likeable, my paintings do not tend to be decorative. I also don't deal with messages, with a purpose of my painting. I leave that to the viewer. Image is the message, a provocation, what they see in that moment is what the viewer understands.I believe in the spell of self in the studio, the power of dreams. Day and night.
What role does the artist have in society?Art is not dealing with the truth or untruth. Today, when the world is full of "artists" and strongly led by capitalist principles, the desire for relaxation and entertainment, as well as the idea of fast satisfaction of bigger and bigger artificial needs, appear true artists with their directness and no mercy somehow redundant. The artist encourages people to think, and doesn't give the answers, but with his works challenges and raises questions for society and individuals. Even (especially) uncomfortable questions. I do not believe, that as an artist I provoke populist messages. I want to provoke quality and real art.Art is solitude. The artist is an individualist. And today, to decide to live that kind of life is some what heroic. As hard as this may be, you also accept that the world will not understand you, that you will live on the border.I am very "ecological and organic" to society. I do not want to disturb anybody, and the outer world does not touch me. I'm a big zero. The only things that matters for me is my close circle of a few people. For the rest of the world I'm zero, for me the rest of the world is nothing.I do not belong to anyone, only myself. Nowhere I am not superfluous, because nowhere I do not consider myself.
How has your style changed over the years?My style is changing, as has the history of painting evolved from Gothic to Renaissance and through Impressionism to abstract painting. I did not immediately began to paint abstractly. I am learning all the time, seeking inspiration in poetry, philosophy and the old masters. My teachers are the greatest Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Modigliani, Pollock, de Kooning and Emilio Vedova.I believe that frustration is one of the greatest things in art; satisfaction is nothing. I'm always dissatisfied, which encourages me that I'm looking for answers that will challenge me to grow. I always see what and how else could I paint.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?"I don't paint to live, I live to paint." - Willem de KooningI paint. That's all that matters. Everything else is "patching" the possibility that I can be a painter. I am the eternal nomad. In life, I've moved 28 times. I travel in search of new experiences and knowledge, to verify and compare outside.
What is your dream project?It is easier for me to talk about my life dream. I realized that it is nice to have exhibitions, but that fullfiles you only for a short time. This is not the goal. My dream is to paint more. Everything passes by, but painting remains in my life. I want to work and to paint. Have one million large-format canvases.
What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts?School and College gives you the basic knowledge, but on the the other side, that puts you in frames. You have to stay yourself, because the truth is that it is all in you. I believe in the power of the individual in his own, personal effort. Not in the academy and institutions.I believe in individuality and freedom. I do not believe in rules of painting. It often happens that »great painting« arises, just when you're breaking the rules, of course, there are the »little secrets«, an unconscious condition, which give that magic to the painting. I see no real meaning in the searching for originality, I think it is much more valuable if you're honest. Even talent, without it painting is only technical implementation, itself is not enough. It takes a lot of effort. It is necessary to work. To paint. Explore. Read. To know the philosophy of painting. To paint. And paint.