Andreja Brulc's Blog

Illustration / Part 4: Animals

Posted in Books, Children's, Illustrations, Photography by andrejabrulc on 02/11/2017

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
– George Orwell

He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.
– Emmanuel Kant

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
– Mahatma Gandhi

I’m not an animal lover if that means you think things are nice if you can pat them, but I am intoxicated by animals.
– Sir David Attenborough

00_animals-tortoiseFurther to my three recent posts on the natural world – Part 1: Trees, Part 2: Shrubs & Vines and Part 3: Flowers – I am now posting the fourth theme (out of 12 in total) that have most commonly ‘appeared’ throughout my work in order to mark my 10th anniversary of graphic design and illustration. It is the last part of the natural world focusing on animals divided into three sections – insects, birds, small and large mammals. While the majority of work shown below was done for book covers, the section on small mammals also includes artworks showing ‘a cat, a dog and a mouse at play’ for a children’s book of poetry on 12 colours called Barvice (Eng. Coloured Pencils). Finally, I am, additionally, posting the fourth section – weird and wonderful animals I encountered during the last trip to Mexico (Oaxaca), where I undertook a research as part of art residency (Nov 2012–Jan 2013) on various aspects of Mexico for the upcoming children’s picture book.

 

1. Insects

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Muhammad Ali

I should like to present myself to the young painters of the year 2000 with the wings of a butterfly.
– Pierre Bonnard

Our treasure lies in the beehive of our knowledge. We are perpetually on the way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.
Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.
– Pablo Picasso

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2. Birds

No one is free, even birds are chained to the sky.
Bob Dylan

Writing songs is like capturing birds without killing them. Sometimes you end up with nothing but a mouthful of feathers.
Tom Waits

A bird doesn’t sign because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
Maya Angelou

A forest bird never wants a cage.
Henrik Ibsen

The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree, I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there, my books, I went up there if I was sad, and it just felt very good to be up there among the green leaves and the birds and the sky.
– Jane Goodall

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3. Small mammals

Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.
James Herriot

Time spent with cats is never wasted.
– Sigmund Freud

I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.
Walt Disney

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
– Groucho Marx

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
– Josh Billings

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4. Weird and wonderful creatures

The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.
Charles Darwin

Our task must bbe to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
– Albert Einstein

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essense of inhumanity.
– George Bernard Show

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not to die, so do other creatures.
– Dalai Lama

It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb, because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.
– Mark Twain

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Illustration / Part 3: Flowers

Posted in Books, Illustrations, Photography by andrejabrulc on 26/12/2016

The Earth laughs in flowers.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Flowers are happy things.
– P. G. Wodehouse

Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.
– Sigmund Freud

There are always flowers for those who want to see them.
– Henri Matisse

The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.
– Auguste Rodin

10_flowers-daffodilAs mentioned in one of my last posts – Part 1: Trees and Part 2: Shrubs & Vines – in order to mark my 10th anniversary of graphic design and illustration, I am posting 12 themes in total that have most commonly ‘appeared’ throughout my work. To continue with the natural world, the third part is focused on the flower subject divided into the following sections – wild flowers, cultivated flowers and man-made flowers, as well as flowers as part of life cycles (birth and death).

Photography has always served me as a starting point for the process of making artworks including the flower subject. While majority of photography is accidental gathered through my travels and day trips, a small percentage is intentional depending on the aspect of a project. Also, while some of these photos were used in their entirety depending on the subject matter, many, on the other hand, were a starting point for experiments as flowers got incorporated into a new range of compositions and environments, as well as fragmented or transformed into new shapes and textures, through the use of various techniques.

 

1. Wild flowers

Wild flowers grow where they will.
– Rachel Lambert Mellon

You always have to remember – no matter what you’re told – that God loves all the flowers, even the wild ones that grow on the side of the highway.
– Cyndi Lauper

Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air.
– Georges Bernanos

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.
– Walt Whitman

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2. Cultivated flowers

I must have flowers, always, and always.
– Claude Monet

By cultivating the beautiful we scatter the seeds of heavenly flowers, as by doing good we cultivate those that belong to humanity.
– Robert A. Heinlein

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
– Oscar Wilde

The water-lily, in the midst of waters, opens its leaves and expands its petals, at the first pattering of the shower, and rejoices in the rain-drops with a quicker sympathy than the packed shrubs in the sandy desert.
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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3. Man-made flowers

I hate flowers – I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move.
– Georgia O’Keeffe

I draw flowers every day and send them to my friends so they get fresh blooms every morning.
– David Hockney

I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
– Claude Monet

If heaven can be on the face of the earth, it is this, it is this, it is this.
– from an inscription – by Amir Khusrow (Persian poet)  – on the arches of the Diwan-i-Khas, Red Fort, Delhi

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4. Flowers as ‘life cycles’ – Birth and Death

No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring.
– Samuel Johnson

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.
– Pablo Neruda

I paint flowers so they will not die.
– Frida Kahlo

From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.
– Edvard Munch

A dried plant is nothing but a sign to plant a new one.
– Priyansh Shah

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Illustration / Part 2: Shrubs & Vines

Posted in Books, Illustrations, Photography by andrejabrulc on 25/12/2016

A wise man in China asked his gardener to plant a shrub. The gardener objected that it only flowered once in a hundred years. “In that case,” said the wise man, “plant it immediately.”
– John Charles Polanyi, On the importance of fundamental research

A hedge between keeps friendship green.
French Proverb

As mentioned in my last posts – Part 1: Trees – in order to mark my 10th anniversary of graphic design and illustration, I shall be posting themes (12 in total) that have most commonly ‘appeared’ throughout my work. To continue with the natural world, the second part is focused on the subject of shrubs (bushes) and vines (climbers).

 

1. Shrubs

I walk in the garden, I look at the flowers and shrubs and trees and discover in them an exquisiteness of contour, a vitality of edge, or a vigour of spring, as well as an infinite variety of colour that no artefact I have seen in the last sixty years can rival…each day, as I look, I wonder where my eyes were yesterday.
– Bernard Berenson

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In contrast, Milena was extremely fastidious about the flat and her surroundings–from the reproductions on the walls to the flowers, in vases and in window-boxes on the balcony. Those in the window-boxes we grew from seed, those in the vases were obtained in various ways: sometimes Milena would buy them, sometimes she was given them and sometimes we would take them from the cemetery wall or the gardens in Lobkowitz Square. One evening we were caught cutting roses by a park-attendant when we already had a fine bunch. But Milena managed to persuade him that we were actually pruning the bushes and getting rid of the excess blooms–’overgrown buds’ she called them–which merely sapped the plant’s strength. It was a creditable piece of rhetoric on her part: it is no mean feat, late in the evening, that what you are engaged in at that particular hour is caring for the appearance of the public gardens and that your bunch of half-open buds are merely ‘overgrown buds’ which you have pruned for the good of the bush. It took her some time, but she managed it somehow in the end, and as we were leaving the poor chap actually thanked us and expressed regret that there were no more people like us in the city. I tend to agree with him on that point. But if I were to be asked to repeat all that Milena told him that evening, I would be at a loss. I merely realised what was meant by ‘the art of public relations’ and from that day forth was never in any doubt about Milena’s mastery in that respect.
– Franz Kafka, Letters to Milena (1920–23)

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2. Vines

Every flower about a house certifies to the refinement of somebody. Every vine climbing and blossoming tells of love and joy.
– Robert G. Ingersoll

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Beletrina book cover designs / Feb & Dec 2013 & February 2014

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 28/02/2014

Beletrina ’36 Top’ Book Covers / 2007–2011

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 06/10/2013

A selection of ’36 top’ book covers made in March 2012 for my ‘artist-in-residence’ application in Oaxaca, Mexico. The book covers were produced during my first five years of the Beletrina contract (2007–2011). My statement for this selection made in the application is below.

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Statement

The largest body of work I have produced, often involving crafts in the context of contemporary art and design, consists of designs and illustrations for book covers for Beletrina, a major literary imprint of the Slovene publisher Beletrina Academic Press.

In Nov 2006, having just finished my professional studies at the London University of the Arts, I won a public competition in Slovenia to become principal cover designer and illustrator for the imprint, and after nearly six years in this role I will have created from my London home around 200 book covers. The publisher, subsidised by public and private funds, has gained its reputation primarily by introducing prominent works of contemporary national and world literature to Slovene readers, including Mexican authors such as Octavio Paz and Sergio Pitol. The publisher’s goal is to set standards for a new publishing philosophy which, in addition to focusing on non commercial titles and giving priority to inventiveness, freshness and directness, respects authors and invests a considerable effort in the promotion of their work. Their philosophy and my close-knit relationship with the publisher has helped me to develop a highly individual and recognisable style and branding for the imprint over the last nearly six years.

The branding is defined by a central stripe of a single colour with separate but unified design elements above and below. The artwork encompasses the entire jacket. The whole collection is uniform in style, but at the same time each book is visually distinct as each requires a different response in method and technique depending on the content of the book – I am a passionate reader, so all the books are read before I get to visual thinking in the sketchbook, creating artwork and finalising the book for print!

Designs involve mixed media including photography, drawing and silhouette, montage and collage (cut and paste techniques), the use of typography, organic and man-made textures and patterns, textile, threads and so on. The illustrations in particular often use traditional craft techniques such as hand printing, stitching and patchwork, embroidery, knitting and crocheting, and industrial materials such as sandpaper and scrim tape. I also apply traditional techniques to unusual materials and use new techniques with traditional materials. I experiment with different possibilities in which images are juxtaposed in a tense relationship to one another and blended together through mixed media, thus creating different realities and perceptions through the interplay of natural forms, narrations and emotions. The choice of using the traditional crafts as a subversive technique is primarily in order to respond to the content of the book but at the same time to explore and challenge certain traditional ideas ad taboos, expressed in that content, that are deeply rooted in our society, such as cultural, political, social and geographical situations.

Beletrina book cover designs / August 2013

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 20/08/2013

Beletrina book cover designs / June 2011 & August 2013

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 03/08/2013

Beletrina book cover designs / April 2013

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 23/04/2013

Sketchbook / Book Cover Design

Posted in Illustrations, Sketchbook by andrejabrulc on 20/03/2013

The final artwork and some pages from my sketchbook done for a book cover – a collection of poetry in prose called Material, written by Andrej Brvar and to be published by Beletrina Academic Press (May 2013).

MaterialAs the title suggests, the collection is, in the author’s words, ‘a load of life material’ (‘totality of life’). The poet first de-constructs ‘his material’ in a witty, emotional, sceptical and ironical way in the form of various ‘cut-out’ fragments: aphorisms, impressions, genres, newspaper cuttings, diary notes, anecdotes, life paradoxes, interesting points from the world of science, commentaries on art, literature and history, etc. All fragments are then re-constructed as a kind of collage (‘cut-and-paste’). The theme of love, woman, ageing, death, memory, art, literature, history etc are arranged as a cycle of four seasons.

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I decided to focus the final artwork on the core theme – the love poetry – surrounded by fragments of other themes that span throughout the cover representing the four seasons (spring – birth – cherry tree flowers; summer – youth and joy of life – two figures; autumn – contemplation – tree; winter – death – footsteps in the snow). The starting point is the poem called Skozi mesto – the poet’s memory of his hometown (Maribor), past and present. The poem is a personal lament, on the one hand, for the ‘old times/things’ now lost, while, on the other hand, a sharp public comment on the ‘new times/things’ that changed the old city identity for a boring ‘every-city-looks-the-same’ look. The poet feels as if he is ‘expelled from the Garden of Eden’ (i.e ‘his hometown’). This particular comparison gave me the idea of using the silhouette of Adam from Massacio’s fresco (1425) in the Brancacci Chapel (Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence) for the shape holding the hand-made lettering based on a small section of the poem – Adam’s raised hands show a gesture of shameful realisation that something is no longer kept in one’s possession! For Christians, Adam and Eve were not only the first lovers in the garden of earthly delights but they were also the first humans who realised upon their expulsion having tasted the forbidden fruit that they were also mortal and condemned to ageing, decaying, and dying. So, to complement the composition, Eve had to be added to hold the quote for the book!

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Although the poetry, in my opinion, does not have a specifically religious tone as a whole, the theme of death is universal. Also, although the love poetry is central to the collection, some poems at the end of the happy seasons (spring and summer) already express the passage of time (ageing and decaying of sensual body, separation and death) before even the cycle of the sad seasons begin. But, the tone of nostalgia – remembering and contemplating the beauty of old times and past loves – counterbalances the poetry (autumn and winter) and prepares our last journey more bearable – just like the footsteps in the snow!

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Beletrina book cover designs / Sep & Oct 2012 & February 2013

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 09/02/2013
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