MERYL D’SA interviews VIŠNJA MIHATOV BARIĆ

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Tell us about yourself and the kind of artwork you do.
My name is Višnja Mihatov Barić, I was born in Zadar but I live and work now in the capital city of Croatia, Zagreb. I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and after that I worked as a graphic designer for clothing apparel. Recently, I started working as a freelance artist, designer and illustrator. I have many clients from around the world. For the last 5 years, I’m working for the USA apparel brands, creating t-shirt designs for different events. Last year I finally found some free time and decided to focus more on drawing and illustrating.

I work mostly with pencil and paper, I scan my drawings and then I finish them digitally. I love creating drawings of people faces and expressions.Currently I’m working on my iPad and exploring different artistic styles, constantly evolving in the artistic sense and without that there is no progress.

When did you begin illustrating?
I’ve been illustrating and drawing ever since I was a kid. I always wanted to be an artist. Actually, my whole family loves the arts; my twin sister is a painter, my brother is an actor in theater, my father worked in theater his whole career as a puppeteer. He has won many awards worldwide as a cartoonist, which I’m very proud of.

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How did the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb community guide your practice and artwork?
Studying at the Academy of Fine Arts was a great start. I was constantly learning from my mentor who guided me through the way and has helped me define my artistic style. After I graduated it was hard to depend on just myself, but I had a constant support from my family. Living in Zagreb was a great advantage, a lot of art exhibitions and festivals. It’s hard not to be influenced by so many artists here.

Drawing faces and facial expressions are recurring themes in your work.
Drawing faces is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for me. Just by looking at a photo of the portrait, I immediately start visualizing the final idea for new work. Sometimes I get inspired after reading a good book or a movie, and I try to project that into my drawings.

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Who are some of your muses in illustration?
I love the work of Paula Bonet, Spanish painter and illustrator, Simon Prades, and a few other Spanish artists. I admire and appreciate every artist who is constantly bringing fresh ideas into work.

What are some of your other interests?
Well, I work as a graphic designer and illustrator and it is very hard to find time to do anything else. Then there’s my family; I have a 5-year-old daughter and every free moment is dedicated to her and her needs.

Any upcoming exhibitions or news that you would like to share with us?
I have many plans for the future, among them exhibitions too, but I think it is too soon to talk about it now. I go day by day.

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Višnja Mihatov Barić is a 35 year old freelance illustrator and graphic designer based in Zagreb, Croatia. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and started working as a graphic designer for Croatian apparel market. Over the years, her work was recognized by several clothing brands, so she quit her job and started working as a freelance artist which gave her more freedom to put more work into illustration. Most of her drawings are hand-drawn and digitally-colored, but now she experiments with digital illustrations. behance.net/VISNJAMIHA1331teetonka_illustrations.

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