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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Illustration / Part 1: Trees

Posted in Books, Children's, Illustrations, Photography by andrejabrulc on 03/10/2016

I feel like a tree. A tree doesn’t feel a duty to start doing something about the earth from which it comes. A tree just has to bear fruit, and leaves and blossoms. It doesn’t feel grateful to the earth.
– Abbas Kiarostami

I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time.
– Joseph Beuys

14_trees-lonley-treeTo mark my 10th anniversary of graphic design and illustration, I shall be posting 12 themes that have most commonly ‘appeared’ throughout my work – something that I only realised while gathering material for the new website during the summer. The fact that the largest body of artworks I have created thematically for different projects consists of trees, to a ‘tree hugger’ this came as no surprise but rather as a satisfying delight! While most of these artworks were created for Beletrina book covers (a literary imprint of Beletrina Academic Press, Slovenia) and for art/children’s picture book projects where I was able to influence the decision-making in the image creation, I have recently been involved with other projects that specifically required ‘tree’ related artworks – a school textbook for the CAPE (Unit 2) Geography (A-level) for the Caribbean Educational Publishers, Trinidad & Tobago and a website, Bean’s Trees and Shrubs, for the International Dendrology Society, UK.

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I had been photographing trees well before I embarked on a career change from the art world in 2006. I have been particularly interested in their various forms (exploring light and shadow, shapes and textures) and in their different settings (geographical locations and climates), as well as viewing them from a range of natural conditions (growing and decaying) and that of human impact on them (signage, graffiti and incisions). While some of these photos were used in their entirety depending on the subject matter, many, on the other hand, served as a starting point for experiments as the trees 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. The tree subject is divided into sections – forests, lonely trees, crowns, trunks, branches, leaves and roots – depending on a particular project.

 

1. Forests

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity … and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.
– William Blake

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
– John Muir

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2. Solitary trees

Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.
– Winston Churchill

I have to stay alone in order to fully contemplate and feel nature.
– Caspar David Friedrich

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3. Crowns

A tree against the sky possesses the same interest, the same character, the same expression as the figure of a human.
– Georges Rouault

No traveler, whether a tree lover or not, will ever forget his first walk in a sugar-pine forest. The majestic crowns approaching one another make a glorious canopy, through the feathery arches of which the sunbeams pour, silvering the needles and gilding the stately columns and the ground into a scene of enchantment.
– John Muir

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4. Trunks

If you look closely at a tree you’ll notice it’s knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully.
– Matthew Fox

Just touching that old tree was truly moving to me because when you touch these trees, you have such a sense of the passage of time of history. It’s like you’re touching the essence, the very substance of life.
– Kim Novak

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5. Branches

I often lay on that bench looking up into the tree, past the trunk and up into the branches. It was particularly fine at night with the stars above the tree.
– Georgia O’Keeffe

Instinct must be thwarted just as one prunes the branches of a tree so that it will grow better.
– Henri Matisse

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6. Leaves

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
– Albert Camus

Matisse draws what I call the essence of the plants. He leaves a shape open. He’ll do a leaf and not close it. Everybody used to say, oh, I got it all from Matisse, and I said, ‘Not really.’
– Ellsworth Kelly

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7. Roots

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
– Marcus Garvey

You can’t hate the roots of a tree and not hate the tree. You can’t hate Africa and not hate yourself.
– Malcolm X

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If a tree dies, plant another in its place.
– Carolus Linnaeus

Brand identity: Harmonika servis – Peter Galjot

Posted in Identities, Marketing material by andrejabrulc on 01/03/2014

HS_Business cardI created a brand identity – applied to stationery, marketing campaign and display material, as well as to a billingual website – that helped to redefine the new look for a small business called Harmonka servis, based on the new premises in Mengeš, Slovenia. As the name suggests, the company repairs all types of accordions (piano, chromatic and diatonic) used for popular, folk and classical/jazzy music. It particularly specialises in Pigini and Hohner accordions. The company was founded in 1995 for servicing the world-renowned accordions, known under the Zupan trademark. The service team consists of two great guys: Peter Galjot (the head of the company) and Marjan Koderman (a professional tuner). The company is now independent of the Zupan company, hence their need for my help in sorting out their new image.

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We decided that the new image for the company should bring together the traditional and modern worlds, in order to appeal to the diversity of clients, both from the existing list of local and international clients while at the same time attracting the new ones – hence a mixture of nostalgic and contemporary approaches.

Below is a small selection of photographs I took of the guys hard at work. The final selection of images for the company’s new website is bound to be different to my selection as the client is always right, but this post is particularly focused on the detail of accordions – as the photos remind me of letters on ‘good old’ typewriters.

PS: The company finally got a new image on the web, too, in spring 2015 – have a look here if you happen to have landed on this page. I believe the image is prominantely different to other competative businesses in this highly specialised field both nationally and internationally.

Harmonika Servis

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.

MEXICO Project: Things Found … By Accident / Mauricio Cervantes

Posted in MEXICO by andrejabrulc on 16/01/2013

DSC_0090While walking along one of the streets of Oaxaca in the late afternoon on New Year’s Eve, I was captivated by this image I saw behind an opened ironmongery door of a Colonial house that led from the street first into a small room, behind of which the second opened door took viewer’s eye further into a perspective, into an overlit open space. The space displayed a skeletal arrangement of household furniture – ironmongery beds rusty from aging and chairs painted in orange-yellow, both of which were decorated with dried marigolds. The whole composition, heavily contrasted by a play of light and shadow, made me feel as if I was looking into a painting by Caravaggio. When speaking to the guard, the display turned out to be a site-specific project by Mauricio Certvantes, called El sueño de Elpis. The artist used the derelict town house to base his art installation as an intervention of space using local materials and colours. DSC_0091 DSC_0117DSC_0107

From the artist’s website, I can see that the marigolds (cempasúchil) were cut fresh at first for the display that opened last Nov. The flower is famously used in Mexico for the Day of the Dead celebrations, so it was quite obvious from the start that the whole installation had very much to do with the passage of time and the beauty of death and transmutation (derelict house, decaying walls, rusty beds, marigolds that change their state from fresh to dry). This ‘art therapeutic’ garden contains, according to one article, other themes too: fear and hope, community and alchemy. DSC_0099 DSC_0130 DSC_0136 DSC_0109 DSC_0105DSC_0132

I was particularly interested by the drama of the whole space in terms of the light and shadow, the use of typical Oaxacan colour scheme and how these colours were casted into the space by the late afternoon light. DSC_0101 DSC_0119DSC_0123 DSC_0152 DSC_0148

One display especially draw my attention – the collapse of a pile of wooden beams into the architectural space. To me, the way the beams are displayed in a pile suggest a destructive force omnipresent in Oaxaca – the earthquakes – they are constantly felt in the city. I felt three in three months!DSC_0142

 

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 time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010. The monumental murals were based on book-cover illustrations that I 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 normally used for the cover illustrations – but they were also larger in scale than the originals. I used a projector in order to transfer the illustrations to the dimensions of the walls, the method of which also enabled me trace the originals and keep the murals as close to the book covers as possible. Furthermore, the illustrations were carefully selected in order 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 typical architecture of the 1960s and 70s encountered in the city, the legacy of the communist regime in building large block of flats with an 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.

Beletrina book cover designs / Nov 2009

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 01/11/2009
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