Henry Martin: What, if any, responsibility, do you feel as an artist, in what way, or toward whom?
Misha Milovanovich: When I read Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude at the age of 14 my world exploded with visions of cinematic colour.
The intersecting influences of narrative, colour and form of my 70s Serbian childhood -along with its specific political complexities – seems to permeate every aspect of my visual creativity.
Having keenly observed the consumer world of the West for the past 30 years I have used painting as a mirror of self-reflection in order to come to terms with living as a displaced person (a flower without a pot).
My focus is now on our crisis-hit world and uncertain political times and how to deal with this reality.
In recent years my art has started to talk about spaces and places inhabited by women, oppressed and displaced people.
A newly romantic symbolism has entered my vocabulary.
My latest body of work depicts flowers in vases that are resting on colourful backgrounds of photograms. These are collages of images collected from the internet that buzz with nervous anxiety.
The colour palette and energy of the markings refer to the obscured source material – abstracted Hentai illustrations and Japanese manga-infused depictions of male dominance, rape and power fantasies.
My work refers to the continual bullying from the patriarchal system we inhabit, which needs to be dismantled with humour and love.
Henry Martin: Does your work come from the head or the heart?
Misha Milovanovich: Absolutely from my heart with the pinch of conceptualism. I sing and talk to my colours and they talk back to me!
This is how I create work that’s infused with enthusiasm and hopefully instills a sense of renewal and optimism in the viewer.
(Or maybe I’m just a crazy person singing to my paintings in the studio…)
I’m interested in creating communities and connecting people through my work.
Ulimately I want my work to help heal the wider world in the way it heals me.
Henry Martin: What is your favourite art work?
Misha Milovanovich: Well, I find inspiration everywhere, from charity shops to museums, magazines, litter and fashion.
“Amarcord” by Fellini for its visual brilliance, mythological references, imagination, humour, storytelling and photography.
Jean Dubuffet for his raw, beautiful untamed soulful work that disregards academia.
Henry Martin: What is the greatest challenge you face as an artist?
Misha Milovanovich: My challenge is to be seen as a valuable contributor to contemporary discourse, to be relevant in my practice, to be inspiring for women and young girls.
My personal story is proof that at any time of life women can find their career and create the kind of life they desire.
Misha Milovanovich ” Everyday Mythology”, London, 2016 Acrylic, 128 x 120 cm, Oil Pastel, Ink, Enamel & Cellulose Paint on Canvas