IRIS POLJAN USES THE LINES TO CONSTRUCT THE IMAGE AND THE COLOR TO CATCH ATTENTION
CARMEN HUST | ARTICULATE #18 | JANUAR 2019
In her work, Croatian artist Iris Poljan (1989) aims to depict the aspects of everyday reality of importance to the individual. She addresses the seemingly small things that she finds as relevant aspects of everyone's common life. Small, sometimes abstract, things such as phrases, word play, moments, fragments, experiences, ideas and glimpses. By doing so her goal is to catch one’s attention, cause the viewer to think visually in order to figure out the highlighted idea.
The use of line and color play a key role in the art Poljan. The line constructs the image while the color makes it intriguing. Keeping the image sketchy, simple, vibrant and playful, as Iris Poljan believes that sketchiness keeps the whole thing lively and triggers one's imagination.
To Iris Poljan, art is like playing in the use of any given medium. You either play with blocks or with color. Once the equipment and tools are in place, all you need in order to create a story is a drop of imagination, according to Poljan. In that sense, art has always played an essential role to Iris Poljan; as a companion and as an excuse (never to grow up).
Her drive is generated by her encounter of an everyday situation, a thought, a problem or a frustration and her creative way of approaching it. She starts her creative processes by trying to visualize words or phrases, turn them around and play with them.
That's also how she gets most of her work titles like Figure Out or Made You Look. Along the creative process she develops the phrases into concepts and figure out how to depict them.
As Poljan likes to keep her options open, she finds it difficult to choose a preferred media. At the moment it is painting, which she studied and feels comfortable with, as a spontaneous media. However, she was always very fond of drawing, which is the fundament for her entire creative process.
While drawing she likes to change media to keep it more exciting and different. This way she either draw in paint, markers, colored pencils or switch to sewing. Sewn drawings gives her the opportunity to change her patterns of thought. That's why she always keeps this technique at the back of her mind.
The work of Iris Poljan is both pre-thought and emerging on their own. She always pre-think them, make concepts before she starts creating them and have some idea of how they should develop. Then when she starts painting or drawing, they change, bit by bit, developing into something unplanned. This used to be a frustration to her, but through time she started liking the fact that there’s always an element of surprise in the creation process. That particular element keeps the whole thing fresh and exciting.
The subjects depicted by Iris Poljan, are items, situations or phenomena extracted from her personal everyday reality. Usually they project problems she struggles with on a daily basis, like common mistakes in perceiving life and communicating it. The subjects vary accordingly to the situations, feelings, moments and thoughts that she faces. She depicts what she finds important for the time being.
Usually it's a simple message that she’s visualizing and communicating. If she happens to struggle with picking out a subject, Poljan can always turn to the evilness of social media (Facebook or Instagram) it always serves as a sweat-dripping table of everyday life inspiration. Also, photography helps, a personal memo, as a somewhat handwritten photograph-note-to-self. Poljan walks through her everydayness and takes (in) images.
According to Iris Poljan, the best rule to follow, whatever media is chosen, is to make it simple and clear. She believes that a good composition is a simple one, whether you find yourself dealing with colors and shapes or figures and objects. "Less is more" gets the idea through easily and that’s the essential part to Poljan.
Also, sometimes it's good to have an intriguing element that catches one's eye and keeps the composition looking interesting and different. If the work is simple and it stands out, it will for sure be a good artwork.
Once by chance, while Iris Poljan was in the process of creating, she stumbled upon the work of Helena Almeida. In the series Study for Inner Improvement (1977), Almeida depicts herself making a blue splash of paint on top of her black and white self-portrait. To Puljan Almeida’s approach to her work was perfect, as Poljan was in the process of combining realism with a more abstract concept. The work of Almeida still is a great visual and conceptual inspiration to Poljan. Furthermore, Poljan is inspired by the small-scale transparent portraits of American painter Elizabeth Peyton (1965). In Peytons series Faces of Our Time (1990’s), she depicts a variety of expressions, still fragments and moments, everyday things of life which inspires Poljan.
This article about IRIS POLJAN takes part of the release of ARTICULATE #18. Check out the full release below