Tijana is a multi-media artist from Belgium. She studied at KASK Ghent where she earned her MFA in Drawing, as well as at the Academy of Fine Arts Novi Sad where she earned her MFA in Painting. Today she creates paintings, illustrations, and more. Find her on Instagram @tijanadraws.
Tell us about your childhood growing up.
I grew up in a small town surrounded by mountains in west Serbia. My neighbourhood was filled with children of a similar age to me, and we loved going to the hill and nearby forest to invent games of adventure, make toys, and build fortresses from found branches. We'd imagine the forest was enchanted and that we were characters from stories we'd heard.
My mother and her father, my grandfather, were the creatives in the family. My grandfather was a carpenter, making beautiful furniture from wood and my mum is very skilled in making all kinds of crafts from textile.
Do you recall that first moment you yourself thought to create something—aside from games and toys, that is?
Oh, I cannot say that I remember the first piece of art I made, but I remember that, as a little girl, I loved drawing and painting the fairies that my grandmother told me about. I don't recall either what it was that inspired me to create in the first place, but that I was always drawn to this kind of expression of my thoughts and ideas—colors, pencils and brushes have always come natural to me.
Tell us what, to you, makes a piece of art interesting.
I love when there is some magic or something unexpected in a piece. But on the other hand, I also love simple daily joys captured in a work, as a reminder to be present and enjoy life and its beauty.
When do you consider a piece "done?"
I feel a piece is 'done' when it says everything I want it to say.
What inspires your artwork?
My biggest inspiration is my daughter and our world of play, everything starts from there, from her. I used to make work as a conceptual artist, but after I had my girl I didn't find myself fitting into that world anymore. So while reading books with my little one I was once again drawn to the world of magic, play and childhood, and started making illustration of my own inspired by it, and by my new role as a mother.
Next to motherhood I am very inspired by nature and its ever changing seasons, fairytales, folk and naive art, as well as waldorf arts and craft. I love the picture books of Elsa Beskow, Sybil von Olfers, Beth Krommes, Eva Maria Ott Heidmann, Molly Brett and many other artists that capture love for nature in such a whimsical and beautiful way.
Are there other artists you recommend we check out?
I love work of Phoebe Wahl, Saar Manche, Makoto Kagoshima, Gemma Koomen, Barbara Gevaerts, Kuno Mari, Nishi Shuku, Sanae Sugimoto and many others but the list would be to long...
Work by Kuno Mari for Frankie Magazine
For those who feel disconnected from their creativity—maybe they think they're "not creative"—what do you recommend them to do in order to tap back into it?
I would highly recommend listening to the podcast of @andyjpizza Creative Pep Talk—he gives the best advice on this topic. But what I try to do on daily basis is sketch, like every little thought that comes to my mind, or write them down until they come together in one bigger picture.
How do you recommend we play?
Create for yourself, without the pressure of sharing it with anyone. Let yourself make mistakes and accept imperfections.
What makes, for you, a fulfilling life?
A happy and healthy family.
Where can we see more of your work and purchase it, or even get in touch with you?