I spend so much time promoting myself and my shows I thought it was time to give a little back to my dear friends and share with you some of the awesome things they do.
Sasa Design is the design studio of Sarajevo-born Canadian artist and designer Aleksandar Skoric. The studio works across multiple disciplines including textile design, illustration and graphic design.
I met Aleksandar, or as I call him, Sasha, in 1998 when he was going to school with my friend Mali at the Alberta College of Art and Design.
I remember bonding with Sasha over sassy comments and our love of Deee-lite. In the late 90s we spent our weekends on the dance floor of Calgary clubs like The Night Gallery and The Embassy.
Sasha moved to Tokyo in 2005, a few years after I moved to Vancouver. I had every intention of visiting him in Japan, until he recently moved to Belgrade. Thanks to Facebook, Skype and email, we’ve been able to keep in touch. I hope our paths cross again. When that happens I’m sure it will involve a dance floor.
Q – These paper masks are amazing. Where did you get the idea for them?
A – Idea came from working on a window display for `7 jeans for all men kind` label in Tokyo. Window was completely done in small paper elements, and once it was taken down I was stuck with 100,000 papers and wanted to do some body art. Placing them on a friends face was the next step. Plus it played perfectly into my identity crisis of being tall, blue eyed alien in Tokyo. But again I remember always being that, so yeah, that’s how it started.
Q – How do you make them? What’s the process?
A – I observe the face of a friend I am about to place them on, design them in Adobe, print, cut, construct the backing to be glued to ones face and take photos. I dont manipulate the photos except to get the colours right, contrasts and the usual stuff related to just photography.
Q – You also hand paint t-shirts. Why not silk screen them?
A – I would rather leave silk screening to others. I enjoy this process even tho is leaving me shoulderess (is that the word, lets make it). I use my right hand side to apply paint using stencil and this takes a lot of pressure and power, but the pure joy of it is in that same process. Calms me, relaxes me and sort of lines up my brain waves. Some people paint on canvas I paint on shirts and textile and this way I want to give people original work of art, hand made, backed with a story. We are all poop deep in mass produced goods and I want to participate in a ever growing community of handmakers, hence me always wearing my own stuff. It defines me in a way.
Q – You have lived in Sarajevo, Calgary, and Tokyo, how has this influenced your work? Is there anywhere else you’d like to live?
A – Yes, I was born in Sarajevo, lived in all these cities, plus Belgrade where I am now. I think it can be seen in most of my work, nature, animals, technocratic evolution, robots, machines, lines. I think while in Calgary I was dealing with the sense of being lost and lot of my work was very void of representational, it was subliminal and abstract while moving to Tokyo these ideas sort of perished, cause Japan is very about tactile and `kawai` (cute). I never felt like fitting in, going with big eyed animals or cute characters, but living in Japan I did go for the whimsical, repepetition, patterns. I was very much inspired by the anonimity of living in a large city such as Tokyo. Now in Belgrade, well that has a different definition on my work. Serbia is going through identity crisis and I feel I am fitting quite well.
Q – What or who influences you and your work?
A – Love patterns, music really, love Eeels, GusGus, there is something hypnotic about the music I like these days. It’s like a headphones movie, time slows down, grey skies look exciting, stuff around me just has a different quality when listening to music, its like an audio wall.
Q- What’s next for you and your art work?
A - I am in the process of producing more elaborate and intense mask portraits as well as new handpainted tshirts, will see where I will go with all of this. Stay tuned.
Q – Where can we get our hands on your art/ t-shirts?
A – Mostly through http://store.ladeclothing.com which is the Japanese site that sells some of my printed work. While if you are after an original handpainted shirt you can contact me through my www.sasadesign.com site. My biggest problem at the moment is getting the right fit shirts and the right material, so I am in the process of finding the right production and hope soon will have this sorted out. I also work with people sending me their shirts, hence the whole thing turning out a lot cheaper.
Q- Where is the groove?
A – It’s spilling up my back and I do deeply dig.