Marko Kusmuk – a young and talented academic painter, recipient of the Vladimir Velickovic Foundation’s award, who was educated in Sarajevo, Belgrade and Rome and presented his works all over the world – talks to REMINDER about why Belgrade is so important to him, why it is art so impossible to resist and what are his plans for 2019.
“Love and painting – these are the two most beautiful words to start an interview,” Kusmuk says when asked how he discovered his love for painting.
“I had the advantage over other children who wanted to draw and paint because my father was a painter and I spent a lot of time in his studio. When I was about ten years old, I began to enjoy the fact that I was learning and progressing and in the fact that this could be my calling in life. At that time, I was expressing myself more through drawing and I fell in love with painting later, at the Academy of Fine Arts. ”
Asked if it is difficult to respond to the calling of art, Kusmuk says that artistic inspiration is “a volcano out of which everything begins.”
“The painting provides pure pleasure through a visual language that is elementary, immediate and archetypal. It’s hard for me to be realistic from this point of view, but regardless of the difficulties that can be an obstacle today, if something is a part of you and a right way to express yourself, while at the same time you are a person who thinks for himself and works from his heart, then it’s hard not to respond to this call. It’s important to find a way to build your own style and start working on the painting of your life.”
Whose work, when talking about contemporary art, would you pick as special?
“The new era of modern technology and the media is based on the thesis that art should entertain us and that we can all be artists. Using a smartphone, we play with photography, composition, and in this way, we are closer to the visual expression that art today serves. I absolutely agree that art today does not only insist on aesthetics, but it also exists, among other things, to point out differences and problems and to be different – which is something I’ve always aspired to. For me, Anselm Kiefer is one of the best artists who translated his visual image into modern visual language. ”
Although he is known for his rich colors, Kusmuk says that for a while now he is enjoying being color free and working in the achromatic mode, “because the color itself has more power if it is born out of a toned gray”.
“I’m going back to the drawing. Everything starts with the drawing, the drawing changes us, it is also the most important and most exclusive medium. There is no magical formula in a twelve-part circle of colors, which shades or games are moving together. There is this spontaneous feeling that occurs when I can not tie myself to one color because, in the very concept of thinking and creating a work of art, color is the last in a series of ways to convey the idea and the emotions on the canvas.”
He says that for an artist, the best work is always the one they are currently working on because they feel like they are giving their maximum, while the desire for success and quality of work is always the same.
“The desire for success in achieving the highest quality in work is always the same. If the ever-growing criteria are followed by emotions and fanaticism, then it is only a matter of luck for your work to become more recognizable. Due to the great love for art and the focus on training and creative work, the normal track of things is a positive emotion that binds me to most of my works. Even in art, time does its thing and we artists always feel that what interests us the most at this moment is the best, because we feel like we are giving our maximum then.”
As someone who studied in Sarajevo, Belgrade, and Rome, Kusmuk has different associations for each of the cities but says that friendship is a “constant thread” that connects him with them. His favorite is Belgrade, a place full of talented people and healthy competition.
“Sarajevo has always had the spontaneity and immediacy of socialization. It is a place where a variety of different historical circumstances and cultures left the fertile ground and gave good artists, writers, and musicians. Rome is the city of art, a place where at some point 20 exhibitions are being open, where, while waiting for an exhibition, you can check out La Traviata at the Teatro dell Opera and where after many years you will not be able to see all the interesting places that this city provides. Still, Belgrade is my choice. It is a city that has everything in one and which is on the right path to becoming an artistic capital. In addition to all the towns and schools I’ve been to, I have never had the opportunity to see so many talented people from different fields. Healthy competition is everything.”
What are your plans for 2019?
“This year I started well. After I received first prize for the drawing from Vladimir Velickovic Foundation, I had the opportunity to participate in the international art program in Leipzig with an independent exhibition of my award-winning works. There are several negotiations for exhibitions in progress, and I am looking forward to returning to the studio to present one corpus of subconscious inspiration I have collected on these travels. “