Andreja Brulc's Blog

Fiction Sketchbook Project 2011: It must be …

Posted in Craft, Exhibitions, Projects, Sketchbook by andrejabrulc on 29/05/2011

The Cover

I participated in the Fiction Sketchbook Project 2011, which is one of many Sketchbook Projects run by the Art House Co-op (now called The Sketchbook Project) based at The Brooklyn Art Library. Since its inception in 2006, the Art House Co-op has initiated many international art projects and has brought together thousands of artists from all over the world.

The Project Overview

The Fiction Sketchbook Project is an opportunity to tell stories differently by fusing text and images. As a rule of thumb, the Art House Co-op recommends that you dedicate 51% of your sketchbook to words.

After one signs up to participate, Art House Co-op sends participants a Moleskin sketchbook (in this case, 5.25×8.25 inches). One can pick up the theme from a list of 40 themes, or choose to have the theme randomly assigned. However, once the theme is chosen, one is stuck with it! The themes are supposed to be a starting point, not a restriction. The theme I chose was It must be…

The Making

I decided from the start to treat my selected theme as if I was constructing a children’s picture book in the sketchbook. I wrote a simple narrative about four seasons seen through the eyes of a child. Each spread was, therefore, carefully worked out in advance on the basis that it was to contain a single sentence accompanied by the direct visual response.

As you are free to rebind the sketchbook, use a different paper, and do whatever you want to the front and back covers, I opted to rebind my sketchbook in a Coptic style binding using Fabriano Hot Press 90lb paper. This was an enormous fan as it was the first time I undertook such a process.

You can also use any medium as long as the book keeps to the same dimensions when closed. I used a mixed media combining illustration with photography, typography and traditional techniques, such as hand-printing, stitching, patchwork and crocheting, as well as and industrial materials, such as scrim tape.

Finally, as you are especially encouraged to write the text by hand, I chose to use a hand-written script type created a while ago in association with a book cover for Beletrina and have since used it in other occasions.

For all images of this Fiction Sketchbook, click Flickr. Here are some examples.





After travelling across the United States (see the venues below), the Fiction Project will enter into the Brooklyn Art Library’s narrative collection.

Brooklyn Art Library
103A N. 3rd St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(Open Tue–Sun: Noon–8pm, closed Mondays)
Sketchbook Project Tour
Jun 10–12, 2011
Form/Space Atelier
Seattle, WA
Jun 1618, 2011
Madrone Studios
San Francisco, CA
Jul 1417, 2011
Hyde Park Art Center
Chicago, IL
Jul 2931, 2011
Full Sail University
Winter Park, FL

France Prešeren’s New Outfit Installation / May 2010

Posted in Craft, Projects by andrejabrulc on 30/05/2010
Baptism at the River Savica Baptism on the Savica
The art installation in process

The monument dedicated to the most important Slovene poet, France Prešeren (1800-49), which stands in the main square of Ljubljana, was transformed for a day (21 May 2010) during the Fabula Festival, the central event of Ljubljana time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010.  This public art installation gave the poet a new outfit covered in hand-made lettering from stanzas of his longest work in verse Krst pri Savici (Baptism on the Savica).

I was delighted with the final outcome of the work, which took almost a month to complete. Also, when finally installed, I was especially relieved to see that the tunic fitted the poet as if made-to-measure when in reality I had to work with the tailor Lidija Kešnar around the measurements I made from a photograph.


And the hard work indeed paid off. The project was received very well by passers-by – and many of them took out their cameras! I was especially pleased with the comment by somebody from the City Museum who shared his appreciation for the project by saying that the installation was “more than culture” and that the city of Ljubljana needed projects like this.

Above all, I was particularly pleased that the media was interested in covering the project on TV Slovenia 1 as well as in print and online. For a full report of the project, photos and video of the installation showing my interview with the journalist Živa Rogelj see  RTV Slovenia, who said that “Prešeren was stoically coping with the adornment, while two other statues nearby were observing this moment in silence”.

Young typo enthusiasts, Živa and Luka

A report by the Slovene Press Agency was published in the national newspaper Dnevnik among others. Also, A.H. wrote in an article titled “Prešeren v novi preobleki” published in the national newspaper Dnevnik (22 May 2010) that Prešeren’s longest work in verse, Baptism at the River Savica, had received “a form as never seen before” and that “the project gave Ljubljana a new artistic inspiration”.

The tunic was only displayed for a day, but it is hoped that there will be other opportunities to show it for a longer period, or even that a more permanent place of the display can be found.

Art installation for a day in all weather conditions

Many many thanks to the organiser, Študentska založba, who supported my project idea. A special thanks to my family for their moral support during the month and particularly to my mum who helped me with the making of the letters. And finally, thanks to the tough guys, Marko Murč and Primož Kuharič of Študentska založba, who helped me to install the new outfit, very heavy in weight indeed.

Installation team

More installation photos on Flick.

Press Release: France Prešeren’s New Outfit / May 2010

Posted in Craft, Projects by andrejabrulc on 20/05/2010

UNESCO World Book Capital 2010: France Prešeren’s New Outfit (Baptism on the Savica)

Location: Prešeren Square, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Date and time: Friday, 21 May, from 8 am – 23 pm


The monument dedicated to the most important Slovene poet, France Prešeren (1800-49), which stands in the main square of Ljubljana, will be transformed for a day during the Fabula Festival, the central event of Ljubljana’s time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010. A public art installation, giving Prešeren a new outfit covered in hand-made lettering from stanzas of the poet’s longest work in verse, Krst pri Savici (Baptism on the Savica), will be realised by the designer and illustrator Andreja Brulc.


The sculpture of the poet will be draped in a unique black tunic, which is stylistically reminiscent of the cloaks fashionable during the time of the poet. The tunic will have a larger collar made out of a fine velvet, which will overhang the poet’s shoulders and will be tightened around the neck with a large bow. The tunic will then be divided into two parts at the back of the lower part of his legs and will continue in a billowing manner down each side of the pedestal to the first step of the monument. The statue is about 3 metres tall, with an additional 2 metres for the pedestal.

The selection of the text will be from the most important passages from the poem, and in particular those that are part of the school curriculum. The emphasis is especially on the connection of two vital speeches between Črtomir and Bogomila, the main protagonists of the poem. The purpose of the selection, and the execution of the whole design, is to conceptually connect the iconic status of the public monument to the work produced by the poet himself and the private voices of the speakers in the poem.

The text, executed in an experimental typographical manner, will run with the male voice on one side and the female voice on the other side of the poet’s sculptural body. The text begins at the same height as the book that the poet is holding, and this gives the impression of the letters falling from the pages. The overall design and experimental letterforms give a strong sense of the text travelling, coming closer and further away, and in this way attract the attention of readers, inviting them to read the poem.

Technique and material

The principal technique for transferring the text on the cloth is stenciling. The visual impact of the experimental typography is enhanced by the combination in the use of traditional techniques, such as sewing and stitching, knitting and crocheting, and patchwork letters made from textiles.

For more photos see on Flickr at

Photos of the tunic installed on the monument still to come.

Wall Murals: Life in the City

Posted in Projects by andrejabrulc on 25/04/2010

Wall murals for the Press Room of Beletrina Academic Press, a site-specific project to serve as a backdrop for a series of press conferences during the international World Literatures – Fabula Festival, the central event of Ljubljana’s time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010. The monumental murals were based on book-cover illustrations that I had created over the previous years for the imprint. The project demanded a high level of technical skills as wall murals were not only executed in acrylics – the medium not customarily used for the cover illustrations – but they were also larger in scale than the originals. I used a projector to transfer the illustrations to the dimensions of the walls, the method of which also enabled me to trace the originals and keep the murals as close to the book covers as possible. Furthermore, the illustrations were carefully selected to reflect the life in the city of Ljubljana, where the publisher is based.

As you enter the room, the wall on the left has a composition of three tall blocks of flats, smaller in scale but immediately recognisable as a typical architecture of the 1960s and 70s encountered in the city. The illustration immediately recalls the legacy of the communist regime in building large blocks of flats with a utopian idea of social housing but at the same time the legacy of aesthetic connections with Le Corbusier and the West. This piece was made as an element to one of the 16 illustrations, which were reproduced inside a poetry collection (2009).

The central wall, opposite, represents the life in the city, based on the silhouetting artwork done for the cover of a poetry book (2008). It consists of a composition of life-size figures: some busy going to work towards the left (symbolically towards the innermost wall showing a hand indicating a place where business is conducted, created especially for these murals, 2010); some walking at leisure away from the viewer; some walking towards the right, that is, towards the external wall containing windows, between which there is a tree (back illustration for a fiction book, 2007) symbolically painted as if life after work continues in the park (a female figure walking a dog indicates that she is moving towards the park). Or even, a more mischievous thought, when sitting on the sofa along the innermost wall looking towards the windows, the tree becomes a symbol for a desire to escape, away from the busy life at work and of the city, into a life of contemplation and relaxation in the park. And as if that is not enough, for a rest after a long walk to the park, one can sit and read a book on the chair (a detail from a poetry book, 2007) and still pretend that work is being done. As offices are famous for rapid cleaning sessions, a spider (a fiction book, 2009) awaits you the next morning as it sits in its web in the corner!

The central wall also served as a background for the photographic project called The Reader by the photographer Domen Grögl as part of the same Festival. The Reader shows 9 people associated with literature in Slovenia, each holding a book and shown individually on a 2 x 3 m board displayed on the river bank of Ljubljanica during the Festival.

For more photos, see Flickr.

Type Tard Card

Posted in Projects by andrejabrulc on 29/06/2009

My response to the project, Type Tart Cards, run by Type and Wallpaper* to support the St Bride’s Library in London. The brief required an A6 card either for a typeface or a letter of the alphabet. The card had to follow the style of prostitutes’ advertising cards in London but based around typographic, illustrative and photographic ideas. My card uses the font Akzidenz Grotesk.

© Andreja Brulc

Ephemeral symbol of London as they may be, tart cards are one of the strongest images I have from my first visit to a big city as a teenager in the mid-80s. Even before you would step into a red telephone box in central London to call your parents to reassure them you were safe and doing just fine, you would be confronted with messages and images that, retrospectively, may frighten your parents had they known from what kind of environment they received a long-distance call from their daughter! But days are also numbered for tart cards as I understand, the internet and mobile phones are taking their place.

Type says that “so pervasive are these things, and so curious is their typography, images and copy writing they are now regarded as items of accidental art and have something of a cult following. Once on the periphery of design, the cards have influenced the work of many mainstream artists including Royal Academician Tom Philips and Sex Pistols designers, Ray and Nils Stevenson.”

Wallpaper* features the project in its first issue on sex and culture this July. In addition to all cards being shown on the magazine’s website, all entries are also exhibited in KK Outlet in London, from 22 to 29 June. Among participants are superstars Erik Kessels, Anthony Burrill, Neville Brody, NB: Studio, Value and Service, Fernando Guiterrez, Ian Wright and Noma Bar. It is intended a book of the project will be published, and profits’ to be donated to St Bride Library. At the end of the project, the collection will be given to the St Bride Library.

Wallpaper* says that the intention of this project is “to highlight the serious issue that lies at the heart of the world of tart cards – the plight of trafficked women in the sex industry. It is a subject touched eloquently on by Mike Dempsey of Studio Dempsey, who is a volunteer at the Helen Bamber Foundation which helps rebuild lives broken by human rights violations. While our exhibition is an ode to the graphic qualities of the tart card phenomena, Dempsey’s design is a pertinent reminder of the sinister world that lies beneath every card.”

Typographic Project: Random Project / London Design Festival 2006

Posted in Projects by andrejabrulc on 17/04/2009

As one of the twelve original members of the Random project, I created this project entitled Beautiful, a five-piece work exhibited in a pioneering and revolutionary experimental typography show as part of London Design Festival 2006. An international collective of designers and artists (who had all studied the Experimental Typography course at LCC led by Sarah Hyndman, the Creative Director of With Relish) were gathered to produce site-specific typography-led work created in response to random words. While many of the original participants, British and other nationalities, were then based in London, others lived Brazil and India, giving an international perspective to this collaborative show.

Each participant of the collective picked a number between 1 and 100, which corresponded to an unseen word cut out of an issue of Time Out, a weekly London magazine of cultural events. This randomly selected word then became the basis for our self-initiated project. Why Time Out? Because it’s a magazine that reflects London – from the everyday reality of living and travelling in the city to the eclectic and cultural flotsam it offers. This emanates through every level of the publication; if individual words are taken out of context, they still combine to form a lexicon that is peculiarly representative of London. The choice for the text used in this piece, referring to the word ‘beautiful’, was intentional, and though living in London as my own choice of preference, it reflects how I felt at the time after 15 years of emigration. It is taken from the novel A Day in Spring (1953) written by the Slovene writer Ciril Kosmač. The story is set in the author’s native landscape along the Idrijca River. The author, who spent many years living in exile before WWII (including some time in London, as that part of Slovenia was then under Mussolini’s occupation), suffuses his prose with nostalgia and a sense of longing for his native environment.

The project, therefore, explores the word ‘beautiful’ in the context of the experience of one’s native landscape. This was drawn on my regular visits back to my native Slovenia and my subsequent understanding of the vital role that such environments play in creating a sense of belonging. This sense of regional identity is both reflected in and reinforced through the writings about the region – the author symbolically refers to broader cultural phenomena of Slovenia as a nation, who, through centuries of foreign rule, have always identified themselves through a romantic vision of their own native landscape, nature and its symbols. This concept is still alive as it is explicitly seen as a political symbol in the national flag. For whatever reasons our lives might be disrupted at some point in our globalised world, migration can always be a traumatic personal experience. No matter how the other place may be a temporary relief to us, there is always a close tension between the native and the adapted worlds. The fragmentation of one’s identity and the displacement are contrasted with the sense of belonging, as the feeling of longing for something lost is relieved through the symbolic reconnection with the nature of one’s native place.

The tension between beauty (nature) and the feeling of displacement due to personal choice is reflected in the use of methods, techniques and materials in this piece. The text is fragmented into five separate pieces, where some, on the one hand, have a perfectly flat surface and rendered forms, while others, on the other hand, have paint, spray and ink added in irregular ways to form uneven or even disrupted surfaces and textures. At a distance, the letters in black acrylic look perfect in form, but on close examination, they look rather exposed to decay and the passage of time due to irregular bubbling (acrylic was applied by a brush through a template in various quantitates to achieve this effect). The use of silver acrylic and spray as well as that of a silver foil is because the river was once exploited for silver production. The interplay of natural forms, narration and emotion, therefore, form the basis for the typographical journey represented in the final piece.

In addition to the main project, the show also featured a postcard project on the same principle, but it was open to everybody who wanted to join in the making of the show. My postcard Drink from the original show was then further exhibited as part of the Great British Design? conference at St Bride’s Library in London (2007). A large number of people worldwide have since contributed their postcards to the project, including Alan Kitching, Alan Rickman, Ed Fella and Stefan Sagmeister to name but a few. The Random Project has had a revival this year, and celebrates the spirit of London during the year in which the city is hosting the Olympic Games 2012.

For more photos, see Flickr.

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