Boris Pecigoš is Croatian Artist born in 1974 in Zagreb. He earned a Master’s Degree in Visual Arts (Thesis on Land Art) and Bachelor’s Degree in Painting (Thesis on Expressiveness of the Line and Colour in Painting) at the Arthouse – College of Visual Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a member of HDLU Zagreb (Croatian Society of Visual Artists Zagreb) and Immagine & Poesia international movement. Famous for his vivid 6.5 km long Land Art Trail in Učka Nature Park, he has also exhibited in numerous solo and group shows.
The transcendence of music and poetry, new age mysticism, unfathomable mystery of transience and death, mysterious prehistoric drawings, figures and erected stones, and above all the beauty of nature, which is, in Rijeka where he lives, mirrored in touch of the sea and the mountains – all this is inspiration for his artistic creation. His mediums are painting and land art, while rock art (painting the rocks in nature) connects the two. Boris also write poetry. Sometimes his paintings and poems are linked, that is, some idea is simultaneously manifested in art and literary media.
The frequent motif of his paintings are trees and their mythological and spiritual symbolism. He also explores the form of the mandala and search the mysticism of ancient symbols (spirals, circles, sun, etc.). Sometimes, Pecigos uses a Glagolitic and Arabic alphabet. With a strong colour and/or dynamic expression of lyrical abstraction, he tries to express the emotions that arise from the concept that leads him to the creation of the work. Emphasised relief and texture of the surface make possible to experience his works in a tactile way, which he finds very important.
Land Art and Rock Art allow him to connect his art in the most direct manner with his love for nature and interest in geology and historical places with the remains of old cultures. In land art, he often includes his understanding of what is spiritual, and tries to evoke that mystical, ritual and sacred attitude to the forces of nature, inherent in ancient cults. He can communicate with the audience more directly through land art works than through paintings, because they are interactive – they call for entering or touching them, thus achieving not only visual, but also an important tactile contact with both the work itself and the surrounding nature, which would not be possible in the gallery.
The Artist in his Own Words
What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
I liked to paint a lot as a child, but I started to paint seriously at age 31, as a psycho-therapeutic way of dealing with panic attacks. I did not have any more panic attacks later, but I continued to paint. Moreover, I finished art school and gained a Master's Degree in Art. Today, art is the way of expressing my inner world and emotions, and my vision of the outside world too.
How would you describe your own personal style?
Difficult question. My style might be described as a mix of expressionism and surrealism, or primarily as some abstract expressionism or lyrical expressionism, if we are to use the history of art terms.
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
The abstraction and the expressive way of painting with vibrant colours and quick brush or spat movement helped me to express my emotions and internal states, which initially helped me with the already mentioned panic attacks. Later, I continued in that direction because that method of painted suited me and the results I got. Of course, it has changed over time, and I believe that there will be new shifts in the expression in the future.
Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?
Yes, of course! The family did not understand me in the beginning, because it was strange to them that I started going in that direction relatively late in my life. Later they accepted it and regularly come to the openings of my exhibitions. But close friends have been great support from the beginning, and in fact, they were the first to decide to buy some of my paintings. Initially, great support and encouragement was my first painting teacher, Andrea Weiss Sadeh, who recognized that my talent went beyond psycho-therapeutic painting, and she encouraged me to develop further.
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
I work mostly with acrylic colours because they dry quickly and allow me to apply thicker layers without causing cracking, creating a relief, which I particularly like. In painting I use spatulas more often than brushes.
When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?
In abstract works I like the dynamic composition of the colours and lines that appears in front of my eyes as I paint it. Music often inspires and leads me ... or some other topics that motivate me to express them in such way. But as a nature lover, it is quite logical that in my paintings there are also motifs of nature - trees above all. Of course, I do not paint it literally, figuratively, but abstracted and through the filter of my feelings.
Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?
I rarely have a strict concept. Most often I start to paint and watch where the process leads me. However, for some closed painting cycles (closed series), there was a concept, some basic theme that inspired me to create such a cycle, for example the epitaphs of the 17th century Azerbaijan stelae, the symbolism of tarot cards, the mystical meanings of numbers, etc.
Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is it more a case of when the moment is right you work?
No, I have no routine. I shudder with routines. I paint when I feel the inner impulse and when I feel it is the right time to paint. Sometimes I have to force myself, especially if I have some commissions, but in general I'm more spontaneous. That's what I like in being an artist, and I do not like reading articles where artists are advised to become like other people who work from 9am to 5pm. But even when I do not paint, in the background of my thoughts, there are constantly some ideas or concepts growing and waiting for the right moment to be realized. I consider it part of the artistic process too.
When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?
Both. Sometimes I work only on one piece, and sometimes there are several pieces I work on at the same time. I prefer to work on one piece until I finish it, because it seeks greater concentration and focus. But, if artworks need to dry out, in the meantime I work on other pieces.
How has your art evolved to be where it is today?
Initially, I painted in a bit chaotic way - I've been experimenting with many things. Later, what was best suited to me was crystallized. When I look at early works today, I can see how unrelated they are. Some works from that period I do not like to show, though they may be good. Today my work covers several themes: paintings inspired by music in lyrical abstraction, tree paintings, mandalas, land art, rock art... I believe that my style and the topics I'm dealing with will evolve in the future.
Which of your artworks are you most proud off?
Hm, hard question again. I'm most proud of some abstract works from "Inspired by Music" series. Also, there are some paintings of trees that I like the most. And recently, I'm especially proud of some rock art on my Land art trail in Učka Nature Park in Croatia.
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
I follow many art sites and there are so many talented artist I admire. I can not single out anyone in particular. I'm not fond of "fame", so I like works of some emerging artist as much as some established on the art scene.
If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?
Oh yes, I would like to be in Paris at the beginning of 20th century, or in New York in 40's and 50's. I think those were very exciting times in art history.
What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?
The Internet has allowed visibility to a very large number of artists, some of which are genuinely brilliant. But despite this visibility, I think the big challenge is to be seen by the influential people in the branch - gallery owners, curators and collectors. Besides, it seems to me that there are some official preferences to certain styles and ways of expression, so it's hard to be interesting if you're doing something different.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?
Be yourself! Don't copy the others.
Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?
Since I live every day with my style of painting, I'm always strongly attracted to works that are different from my own. I enjoy seeing in how many different ways artists express themselves. It is difficult to distinguish a different style that attracts me, because there are so many of them (I do not know all their names, neither). It is easier to tell me what does not attract me, for example, photorealistic painting leaves me indifferent.
We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?
I always know when I'am finished with particular work. Sometimes I think I could do something different, but I'm not going back to old works. I prefer to make a new ones.
Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?
I do not think we can separate one from the other. The artist should always express himself, not just copy what he sees, just for fun or hobby, if he wants people to really sense his art and appreciate it on some deeper level of understanding. When an artist finds a motivation in himself, and then expresses himself through a work of art, it is always a story that can touch others. Some are dealing with the inner world, some comment on social phenomena, but the source is always their personal, inner, subjective.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm preparing myself for creating the two new series of paintings, one inspired by my 52 poems, and the other inspired by some microscopic organic structures, like moss spores and similar.
When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?
Currently, one of my paintings is at the group exhibition of miniatures - Rijeka mini art 2017, organized by Croatian Society of Visual Artist Rijeka. During 2018, I will have solo exhibitions of these new painting cycles mentioned in previous question, but the full details of these exhibitions regarding location and dates are still not 100% confirmed as of yet.
To view Boris' full collection - The Online Art Gallery of Boris Pecigos