MM: Who are you and what medium do you work with? MG: I am a visual artist from Belgrade, Serbia. My practice includes painting, digital art and graphic desigAn. I am a professor at the Faculty of Digital Production in Sremska Kamenica, Serbia, and also at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade, Serbia.
MM: When did you begin creating art? MG: I began painting as a very young girl because I grew up in my father's studio, surrounded by his own paintings. My father’s fellow artists would often pay visits to our home and we would go together to art exhibitions. Therefore, from my earliest childhood I was surrounded by art and I grew to love it very much.
MM: Were you trained in any sense or are you self-taught? MG: I graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade, Serbia, and received my PhD from the University of Arts in Belgrade in Interdisciplinary Studies, Department of Digital Art.
MM: How would you describe your artistic style? MG: I would describe my artistic style as minimalism, geometric abstraction and hard-edge painting.
MM: What inspired your business name? MG: My business name is actually my real first and last name - Mila Gvardiol. The first name “Mila“ is not so common in my country, while only around 20 people all over the world have the last name “Gvardiol“. For these reasons, I did not need to assign myself a new, unique name.
MM: Where do you draw most of your inspiration from? MG: I like geometry and refined forms very much, and that is exactly what I find in architecture. When I look at a building or an architectural element, I break it down in my imagination into simple geometric forms and in that way I create my paintings.
MM: What are some important lessons learned by you that you can hand down to artists just beginning? MG: In art we must be persistent, honest, and uncompromising. If we stick to this, we will create our best.
MM: What tools are an absolute must in your creative process? MG: The most important tool in my creative process is acrylic. It is a medium that is very convenient for my flat (non-relief) paintings without a range of values (tones). I use acrylic on all substrates: canvas, paper or wood, which is why it is the main tool for my paintings.
MM: What is the most surprising thing we would find in your studio? MG: For those people who come to my studio for the first time and who are not from the art world, the most surprising thing would be the graphics press. It is large and has a beautiful golden wheel that attracts the eye. This press is a decoration in my studio and I love it very much because I inherited it from my late friend Branka Maric, graphic artist.
MM: Are there any consistent themes that you stick to in your artistic process? MG: So far, I have worked with a variety of themes. In the last few years, the theme that preoccupies me has been the question of ourselves in time and space. I have developed it through a series of paintings called “The Crossroads“, and now I have continued the same theme with the series “Quo Vadis” depicting stairs.
MM: Do you have a hidden talent outside of your art? MG: Graphic design is my hidden talent. I think of it as paintings. I create it like paintings, on the same principle - derived from the “Less is more“ design. In design, I also aim to refine and simplify things as much as possible.
MM: How has COVID affected your business? Or has it affected it at all? MG: COVID has affected me a lot as well as most artists. Sales have dropped drastically and some of my projects have been canceled. On the other hand, I have had more time to work.
MM: What are three things you love about the city you live in? MG: I love Belgrade because it is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, it is populated by wonderful people that I am surrounded by, and finally, because this is where my studio is, of course.
MM: What is/are your guilty pleasure or pleasure(s)? MG: Sometimes I like to be all alone, to be excluded from the outside world. This only takes a while, just a short time until I collect my thoughts. My friends understand these small needs of mine, my guilty pleasures.
MM: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence? MG: My father Goran Gvardiol, who was a highly renowned painter, taught me how to observe art. We went to exhibitions together, commented on art and talked about my works.
MM: What is a mistake that happened in your life either personally or professionally that you learned the most from and what was the lesson learned? MG: A couple of years ago, I had a solo exhibition in a gallery in my country. When the works from the exhibition were returned to me by a courier service, I did not have time to unpack and check them immediately. When I did that after three or four days, I saw that the canvas in one picture was torn - but since I did not react immediately, no one wanted to take responsibility for it anymore. This was a huge lesson learned for me in the professional sense.
MM: Do you have a favorite mix of music that you prefer while you create? What are some of your favorite bands/singers to listen to while you create art? MG: While creating, I listen to music that relaxes me, mainly the following: Sting, Ibrahim Maalouf, Morchiba, Shade, Chet Baker, Paul Desmond, Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation...
MM: Of the great Artists, who inspires you the most? MG: The artist who inspired me the most was the Croatian artist Julije Knifer. He painted meanders - simplified, monochrome, angular curves that he exposed and reduced to their very essence. What I like about him is the feeling of being simple and minimal on one hand, and so fascinating on the other hand.
MM: Is there another local artist around your area that inspires you either professionally or personally? MG: There are a lot of wonderful artists and people around me who inspire me. If I had to single one out, it would be my best friend from my earliest childhood, the film director Ivana Todorovic, who, in her movies, deals with topics we do not usually talk about. She is a great humanitarian and a great person and she inspires me to be better.
MM: Has social media enhanced or hindered your reach? If so, what platform is your favorite? MG: Social media has enhanced my reach and connected me with other artists as well as art lovers. My Facebook profile is more focused on the Balkans, while Instagram has brought me more world-wide contacts.
MM: What is your biggest artistic accomplishment so far? MG: My greatest artistic accomplishment so far is perhaps that two of my paintings are now part of the Zepter art collection.
MM: Is there a style of art or technique or materials that you would love to work with? MG: I would like to try to create a large mural on the facade of a building that will not only be painted but would incorporate various materials such as glass, mirrors, wood...
MM: What is your dream project? MG: I love large paintings be they on canvas or on the wall, so my dream art project would be to create a mural out of my painting.
MM: Do you have any exciting projects upcoming that you would like to share? MG: I am currently working on a series of paintings called “Quo vadis?“.They represent refined forms of stairs made in large formats.
" In art we must be persistent, honest, and uncompromising."
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