Nikola Mihajlović was born in 1986 in Belgrade. Artistically active since 2008, he has been creating in the field of street art as well as studio painting. He has been involved in a number of international and national art projects, both as a participant and organizer. He has exhibited in numerous group shows and several solo exhibitions in Serbia and abroad among which the most notable ones are two collective exhibits in Berlin and the solo shows at the galleries Parobrod in Belgrade and Espace Temoin in Geneva. He is a member of the artist collective Street Smart and a collaborator of the Foundation Saša Marčeta in Belgrade.
His collaboration with the Foundation started this year, when in late August he took part in organizing the first edition of “Balkan Live”, an event that gathered top tiers of Belgrade street art scene. At that time he also started painting in the Balkan Cinema’s premises, where he is currently working on his big solo show planned to take place in that very space, next spring.
Nikola Mihajlović’s works can be seen on his Instagram account.
How much do you think this year has affected you and how has it changed your plans and activities?
Besides the fact that 2020 will mostly be remembered for the COVID-19 virus, it has also been quite significant for me in terms of some very important personal and professional, which will certainly be etched on my memory. I will only consider this latter segment here: due to the unexpected situation brought upon by the virus early in the year, I lost a potential engagement in China and a possible penetration in their art market. The collaboration with “Artetra”, partners from Switzerland, was also postponed to some nicer times. Such circumstances forced me to focus on my work in the studio and later on projects in Serbia and the region. I used the time of isolation to paint on canvases and that is how I realized that I entered a period of stylistic transition, which shook me but also confronted me with a new challenge. My artistic expression greatly reflected life circumstances. Then, warmer weather brought about the works on Belgrade walls, partaking at festivals in Mostar and Gornji MIlanovac, “Art Autumn” in Sombor, a visit to Sarajevo and also the beginning of collaboration with “Saša Marčeta” Foundation on organizing the event “Balkan Live” and then moving my studio to the Balkan Cinema premises, where I am currently working and preparing a big spring solo.
Can you single out a crucial moment in your life that has had a strong impact on your work – a past experience that resulted in the changes that are now noticeable in your work?
Early in the year, my private life was shaken by a very emotional situation that, in a way, predetermined the subsequent events on the personal level, leaving a deep mark both on me and someone very close to me. This, along with the COVID-19 virus developments, had a huge impact on my visual expression, which has drastically changed from that moment on. I felt that something in me needed to come out onto the canvas, although I neither knew what it really was nor how to properly articulate it. What followed was a series of attempts and experiments, only a few of which were successful. I learned a lot during the process and now I can say I have regained my self-confidence and stability.
The paintings you are currently working on – in an improvised studio in the Balkan Cinema loft – seem to emerge from your need to painterly express yourself…How compatible do you think they are with your works on facades, streets, desolate buildings…?
There is no big difference. All my works come from the same source and are based on the same concept. That base is me, with all my personal traits. The main differences are those of a technical nature or related to the context in which they are created. Walls are canvases that are usually already “filled”, whereas a painterly canvas is a small part of infinite emptiness waiting to be infused with life. Both processes, which simultaneously co-exist within me, seek to achieve some sort of liberation through creative work.