Slavimir Stojanović, a world-renowned graphic designer, steps into the world of the written word for the second time. After a tremendous success of his children’s book “Singi Lumba and the Magical Pencil Tree”, he now addresses the adult population with the novel “Nine”.
Do you tend to judge a book by its cover?
The cover carries great importance when it comes to attracting the attention of the reader. The design of a book’s cover can hint at the tone, aesthetics, and emotion of its literary content. Naturally, only when one starts reading a book does the design flourish at its fullest, with the best examples being those that directly, logically, and non-aggressively connect the content to the image. There are, of course, cases in which the cover is exceptionally poor but the book itself is great, and vice versa, but I live in unyielding hope that anybody who chooses to do design will also give thought to content and not only to prettifying the exterior.
What inspired you to inspired the novel “Nine”?
This was partly due to my late coming of age. I feel like this is a natural place for me to take stock in order to be able to accept the period to come more easily. Also, last year I wrote a Facebook post about my graduation some thirty years after I enrolled into the Academy of Applied Arts. The amount of heart-breaking comments, support, and identification with my life story has also greatly contributed to my writing of this autobiographical novel. On the other hand, this material has been piling up within me for years, looking for a way to get out. Accepting my own mistakes, the differences between myself the people closest to me, forgiveness and demystification are the main topics that I was dealing with for years, spinning in circles, until a platform for the written word opened up for me, by me writing an illustrated book, “Singi Lumba and the Magical Pencil Tree”, for my daughter.
The promotion of your novel in Dorćol Platz was accompanied by an exhibition of illustrations by the artists who illustrated your book. Has any of these illustrations underlined any of your conclusions substantially differently, perhaps in a way that brought a fresh perspective to you understanding your thoughts?
Before I go into that, I’d like to note that I find unbelievable the fact that forty-seven illustrators, designers, and artists agreed to contribute to this project, therefore making it a work of art. That was an honour unlike any I’ve felt before. Everyone illustrated the story how they experienced it. Some are completely different from my vision, but this only adds to the diversity of the interpretation of the written word.
You are a member of the Council for Creative Industries. Apart from the financial ones, what are the main obstacles impeding the growth of the creative industries sector?
The main obstacle would be a lack of awareness of the importance of creative work, its high value, and the habits related to the treatment of talented people. It is it goal of the council to improve on these habits and this image. The process will be lengthy, but we are off to a good start, because the project includes experts from various areas of creative action, whose suggestions we believe will be invaluable.
Which of Belgrade’s “visual mistakes” do you enjoy?
Belgrade is a visual mistake in its entirety. This gives it the irresistible charm of that old bon vivant who has outlived various specimens who persistently tried to adjust the city to themselves rather than letting go and surrendering to the metropolis. This is the eternal struggle of every great place. When we accept someone or something, even our city, entirely, with all of their faults, we build a platform for genuine emotion, for true love.
What is your favourite street in Belgrade?
A variety of streets played great roles in my life, depending on when and where I lived. I lived in twelve apartments as a tenant, until I found a home of my own in Braničevska street in Neimar, just beneath the Temple. This is where my daughter was born, where she grows up, goes every day to school, and stomps the street with her little footprints. This is my favourite street now. But I’ve had my share of other great loves: Cvijićeva, in which I grew up; Patrisa Lumumbe, where I went to primary school; Hilandarska, in which I became a professional; Francuska, where I would party; and, to top it all off, Kalemegdan, where I still go, almost on a daily basis, to get my share of spiritual peace while gazing into the Pannonian horizon.
If the spirit of Belgrade were to be transmuted into the visual – what would be the dominating aspect?
That would be the concord of discordant elements.
By: Aleksandra Milosavljević