Nevia Pavletic is an artist who works across drawing and photography. Born in Croatia, she is now based in Maryland, USA. Nevia's work is inspired by nature, the unconscious and the human experience, and the results are evocative and utterly captivating. We spoke to Nevia to find out more about her creative process and path as an artist.
Can you tell us about your background and what led you to become an artist?
Although I do not have any formal art training, throughout my life I always knew that I was an artist at heart. As a young child I enjoyed drawing and painting with watercolours. During my teen years and early adulthood, I would draw in my sketchbook and paint oil abstracts, but it was not until recently that I began pursuing my art with vigour and dedication.
For me, art is more of an instinct rather than a choice. It is something that I intuitively know that I have to pursue, something that I know that I cannot live without. It sustains me spiritually and brings me tremendous joy. Like water or air, the creative process is a basic necessity for me. Yes, art is my passion, but it is also more than that. It is integral to who I am as a person.
What inspires you? Do you have any references or themes that you find yourself returning to again and again?
I would say that my work has been profoundly influenced by the elegant simplicity of nature, but also more subtly from dreams and the unconscious. Many of my drawings are of ambiguous figures—a juxtaposition of shapes that evoke the human form but that could just as well be mythical creatures, plants, or animals. This, I believe, speaks to the liminal boundaries between the human experience and the natural world. I frequently contemplate my place within this mysterious and impermanent world we inhabit, and my artwork reflects this in its dreamy and at times surreal imagery.
What is your artistic process? Are you a planner or do you work more intuitively and spontaneously?
I spend very little time planning my creations. I would say that my work is motivated by feeling and emotion more than anything. Inspiration comes to me spontaneously—usually from something beautiful that I’ve seen or felt recently—and I allow myself to “sit” with these emotions for a few days before I go into my studio and turn them into art. I have found that I work best when I have been away from my art for some time. Giving myself a break from my art creates the necessary space for inspiration and creativity to emerge.
Do you have preferred materials / mediums that you use for your work?
Recently I have really enjoyed drawing with soft colored pencils and oil pastels. I really like the opaqueness and texture that both of these mediums create. I’ve also been experimenting with drawing on different types of handmade paper. Kozo paper is one of my favourites.
A few years ago I picked up film photography and I absolutely love it. When I travel, I get my “art fix” from photography since I don’t have access to my studio and I don’t like keeping a sketchbook. I really enjoy using film because it forces me to slow down and really engage with the subjects that I photograph. The anticipation of waiting for the film to develop, and the often-unexpected results, is very exciting for me. My go-to film is Kodak Portra 400 and I mostly use my Pentax K-1000.
What are you looking forward to?
I am eager to resume painting, which I plan to start up again once summer ends. Although I really enjoy drawing and working with paper, I find this technique limiting in terms of scale and colour. Painting, on the other hand, provides much more artistic freedom in this regard, and I look forward to exploring the creative possibilities of painting on large-format canvases.
In addition, I look forward to collaborating with and learning from other creative individuals from around the globe.
Thanks to Nevia for giving us an insight into her world.
All images by Nevia Pavletic, used with permission from the artist.