ARTIST * NIKOLINA PETOLAS * CROATIA
Nikolina is a visual artist from Zagreb, Croatia. She works in various techniques, such as photo collage, oils and acrylics.
Nikolina feels a profound fascination with human behavior: with her works she searches to underline the psychological and social aspects of our identity and effects that endless soul searching has on our lives.
In her metaphorical presentations, from dreamlike landscapes and fantasy scenery to strange and dark characters, creatures and environments, she uses the observation of inner conflicts and questions that arise from them, as a dreamy and vivid example to show complex human emotions and drives as well as her subjective personal experience of the world.
Nikolina's work has been shown in numerous international exhibitions and several art projects.
Her work is included in the largest exhibition of contemporary surrealism art in the world "International Surrealism Now" and is also represented in the prestige "Lexikon phantastischer Künstlerinnen" by Gerhard Habarta.
"Flying fish, women that rise inside an insect lair, giants pears, monstrous creatures, worlds after apocalypse...these is how I see things in my mind, and although these worlds may seem strange and unreachable, for me they are symbolic representations of my hope and dreams, of people around me, their urges and desires, of new revelations and repeating disappointments, of life in general with its rises and downfalls."
My motives are sometimes dark and gloomy and often present dreamlike ambients and strange beings.I am inspired by my surroundings and I see potential in various everyday things and relations, people, nature, architecture, even food. I see them sometimes as fragments of my work. Most of times they stay just that, fragments, and sometimes they become unified into a whole and therefore start to exist as a part of my sceneries. By using real life photographs and textures I give my work a feel of realism, although the themes are far from being realistic…"
"In form of verbal communication…what is said and even more…what is not said often differs from what is understood.That difference is often complemented with emotions, needs and current mind set of the listener.Art is a form of communication and therefore perception of a viewer will often be different from a perspective of an artist.. And that is what makes it interesting and beautiful.What is seen and how it is interpreted is complemented with a missing link and that is…imagination"
"Insects, animals, skeletons, strange creatures and beings as well as my self-portraits…I use them as narrators which guide us through these imaginary worlds.Mostly these are leftovers of something that once lived and had its purpose. By implementing them in my environments, those odd, and often dead things and creatures tell their own story. They start to live as part of something new and in some other form.
What is your inspirational source?
From my youth I’ve been reading comic books, played video games, watched a lot of movies and listened to experimental sounds and productions and I guess it is all present in one way or the other in my work.
There is something magical in dystopian and industrial environments, and I am always in search of such places. I am also inspired by ordinary everyday things that most people can find in their surroundings. People, their nature and behavior, personalities and changes that are experienced throughout life is something which always find its place in my work. I also love nature and animals and often use them in some metaphorical or symbolic way
What are the most meaningful topics you try to represent in your work?
My work covers different aspects of life, changes, challenges, as well as human nature, but expressed as a long and unpredictable journey through some distant worlds. It is a reflection of current experiences, relationships...of conscious and intentional, but also of dreams and unconscious reactions to our surroundings and present state of mind.
It is mostly conceptual and symbolic and reflects inner observations, presented through fantasy stories. However, on the other side, it also shows a path to some distant part of ourselves, the one of a child, which sometimes is unfortunately very much forgotten.
Sometimes it is dark, gloomy, and crumbling, while on the other side it is energetic and hopeful, even humorous.
How did you find your own style ?
By lots and lots of experimentation. Being very curious by nature, I had to try it all before I settled for themes I pursue. In photography I experimented with still life, portraits, macro, landscapes…. There was a lot of trial and error, but eventually I got what I’ve been looking for.
I also think style is a subject to progression and development and I don’t think it will stay the same all my life. There is influence on it with every new discovery.
What are your main materials to create? .
I do photo collages based on my own photography. By photographing all sorts of things for many years, I created an enormous database of photos.
By combining photography fragments I create a composite which is further digitally enhanced. I also paint in traditional techniques such as oils and acrylics.
Why did you choose this technique to create your work? did you choose this technique to create your work?
For me, photo collages were a logical progress from photography. I was curious to see what I can develop from photos, by combining them in my own way.
I've always been prone to experiment with technology and new software. After years exploring photography, I decided to widen what I could achieve with photography alone and expand possible photo framing into fantasy scenes which could not be found in reality.
By combining all sorts of photographs and textures I could finally achieve to get realistic scenery of completely twisted reality. It was as if I could photograph impossible scenes.
Tell us about your creative process to capture
I usually get ideas unexpectedly, sometimes during sleep, sometimes in most odd places, during walks or jogging, or in the middle of conversation with someone..
If I remember, I write them down, or sketch them roughly for later. There are many ideas that never come to life, and there are some that are being present in my mind for years until I finally act on them. In my digital collages I collect photographs I will use in composites either specifically for particular artwork, or sometimes I photograph a landscape or some scene that has potential, although I don’t exactly know at the time what I will do with it. I see something beyond of what shows up in my viewfinder.
Later on I isolate photography bits and pieces from many photographs, I go on and shoot further what I don’t have, and need in the artwork and then I combine it all in Photoshop.