I was born overseas in the city
of Nis, in Yugoslavia. I always knew, I would be an artist, and
with that a new standard would be born, a new standard of forms,
colors, and life.
I do not divide the real world
from the dream world - I do not feel the borders of reality. The
power of the world is truly my every day road, a road of parallels,
never to touch.
The Flying Man in My Head
As a boy I drew faces in the
sand with a stick - as a young student, I had a burning desire to
see the flying man... often I would look at the sky, and, unable
to see him, be very disappointed. Later, I saw the reflection of
his wings many times in the sky - flying man as a follower and protector
of dreams - powerful, beautiful, and muscular movement along with
peace of the horizon - as graceful and peaceful as a bird in flight
- he talks with silence and looks with closed, timeless eyes. Flying
man in my head helps me to create my sculptures of metal.
Later, when I lived in Montenegro
and watched the eagles in the rocky mountain peaks, I was closest
to my flying dream. During the day I would dream of flying and at
night I would listen to the passionate sounds of the waves. Walking
and flying, a very special part and time of my life.
I traveled a lot, often by train
and on those often long trips I met and listened to many people
- my God, how many stories there are in this world !
During the time of my studies,
the most influential artist for me was my professor, Nandor Glid,
a Hungarian Jew and Holocaust survivor. He was a powerful, but calm
man, with a big, warm heart and brave thoughts. From him I learned
a lot about the truth of the artist life, about honesty and morality,
and the unusual life behind that magic line of art.
I was always interested in composition,
movement, and balance, dynamic exchange of energy in paintings and
sculptures. The school I studied at, had a program based on abstract
sculptures in the styles of Constantine Brancusi and Henry Moore
(Art of the 50’s and 60’s). Static in fine forms, my
expression was explosive, dynamic, and turbulent. With all these
attributes it was always figurative. What I learned there about
abstract sculpting, I still use today in the forming elements in
the different worlds of design.
Last days at University (1987-1988)
Towards the end of my studies
I felt unhappy in that environment, so I spent most of my time on
the Adriatic coast at Montenegro, opened a small summer gallery
and did a lot of joint shows with Kosta Kilibard - another artist,
sculptor and friend. He taught me to look at the heart of nature
and take from it the brightness and warmth of simple life. I remember,
once when we talked in front of his studio, he said "Don’t
go to the meat market asking for soul, they just sell meat."
At that time, I had traveled
through Europe a lot, but the most striking experience was my first
trip to America. In the summer of 1987 I was invited by my professor,
David Greenwood, to come to the Kendall School of Art, to do a show
together with him. This was a great experience and inspiration and
I came back to Europe with my thoughts still back overseas.
The First Powerful Expression
of the New Lighted World
I came to Chicago for the first
time in 1991, and I remember that night very well. I had with me
my drawings and paintings in my hands and in my bags were two sculptures
in each. Above me I saw the flying man with bright silver wings,
and I stood there wanting to become the astronaut of my dreams.
Outside, it was late fall, and the will of creativity was changing—Welcome
to America, Boban.
I worked frantically and decided
to ignore the outside world and just create, create, create. I decided
I would burn out the man who came from Europe and become a new,
more powerful and an unstoppable creator. In those years I created
over 30 sculptures and a vast number of paintings and drawings,
I just could not stop myself, I had momentum and found my rhythm.
At that time my financial situation was a disaster, but there was
no room for compromise - I had to realize the thing I came to America
for, the thing I was born to do.
I got a job to decorate a Spa
at the Hyatt Hotel in Chicago and became good friends with the owner,
Frank La Fronza, who is one of those characters that everybody knows
and who knows everybody in turn, even in a big city like Chicago.
A couple of months later, the Hyatt Hotel agreed to organize my
show in their lobby and , in many ways, that show changed my life
in America forever.
I remember the opening night,
Chicago was the coldest city in the world that night... ice, Chicago,
and me...of course, only a few people showed up for the opening
party, just my few friends. I looked back on all the years of hard
work, and thought to myself " My dreams are now on display
right here!!" and wondered what would become of them.
One month later the telephone
rang, but to me it sounded different than normal - I knew this was
a call which would change things for me. I think everybody has felt
that same way once when a familiar sound, word, or picture came
into the body differently. I picked up the phone and a lady on the
other end told me, she had seen my sculptures at the Hyatt and would
like to meet me.
An hour later I met with the
lady which was sitting in a wheelchair. She smiled and asked me,
why I made those flying figures "That are not angels"
she said " but they have an angelic spirit inside" and
before I could answer, she continued " I’m not going
to live long, I know that and I would like to surround myself with
your angels." She bought four sculptures, that she took with
her when she moved to Canada a few days later.
In the Spring of that same year,
I met Heinz Kerr, the man who helped me become part of the country
I now live in. He was like a second father. Earlier, he had invited
me to do a mural at Park Hyatt, where he worked as a manager. He
explained to me the vision and projection of a restaurant he wanted
to open one of these days. The vision was of a huge art gallery
with modern art, or, as he called it "Spectacular Art".
I started to do the first sketches right then and there.
At about the same time I also
learned, that my wife was pregnant, expecting twins. I remember
thinking that God was giving me great gifts.
In the summer of 1994, I was
asked to build a figure of Shaka Zulu, an African chief. It was
to be a life-size statue to be installed in an African American
neighborhood in Chicago. I took the job, and ended up doing a big
sculpture, which took a lot longer than I thought, and got paid
very little money. I kept asking myself, "Why am I doing this?",
since it was obvious, that I would not make a single dollar off
the sculpture, but I finished and installed it anyways. Opening
day came, a day of celebration. All around me were African American
people in colorful dresses. When the speaker finished and the sculpture
was unveiled, the local priest blessed it and the choir started
to sing. Throughout my bodies every single cell I felt everything
move toward the skies. I experienced the most powerful shock of
happiness, and that moment I divided forever the needs of the spirit
from those of the body. "Is there any better reason" I
said to myself "than to create and build in order to make someone
At the end of that year I started
the Palette’s Restaurant project. Heinz and I worked wonderful
together, and overnight I became an 'Interior Designer'. I had been
thinking about how to accomplish a total ambience and feeling under
one roof, and I decided to design the furniture, shapes and all
metal objects, such as tables, chairs, screens, etc. The furniture
was designed to complement the décor instead of the traditional
method of decor complementing the furniture. The walls I painted
such as to tell a story from segment to segment - the story of the
beginnings of civilization and the development of the arts through
the centuries as I see it. In the center, I put Icarus the Flying
Man, but he is different from the mythological character. I created
many paintings and sculptures of Icarus before and after that, where
Icarus is losing his wings and falls, but that is not my understanding
of the story at all, this sad, unacceptable image of a loser. The
soul of the flying man in that Icarus story is that of the man who
decides to do what was never done before - fly - fly over the seas
with all the power of the silver wings, be a leader and accept the
challenge, be the one to stay with his dream, the one who sticks
with his decision. This timeless moment and unlimited space, free
and powerful, this is My Flying Man.
Mythology and Hoofprints
My works started getting more
attention and and I became more and more successful. Most of my
work is in private collections in America and Europe, with only
a few in my possession, but those I kept, still give me initiative,
power, and stability.
From 1995 to 1997, I did mostly
sculptures related to mythology. I was obsessed with their imagination
and uniqueness. Two millenniums later I had found the source and
spectrum of the characters from my childhood dreams like for instance
Icarus, Pegasus, Hunter, Nymphs, Goddess of Wisdom. In that world,
I found my personal relation and passion. In complete focus and
spiritually centered, my life definitely got moved into the zone
of vitality and solid production.
Consistently, I expanded my
unique technique of sculpting with silverware so everyday things
are turned into art through my hands. Spoons, forks, and knives
are melted, cut, and molded into the muscular shapes of the sculptures,
thus building up an exciting texture on the surface combined with
the passionate and unusual movement inside.
To create a single sculpture,
I need hundreds of pieces of silverware, to prepare a whole show,
thousands of differently designed pieces, and I spend hours at the
antique stores finding those with unusual ornaments and patterns.
The silverware and especially the spoons have become a recognizable
signature of my art at this stage.
The figure and spirit of the
flying man never left me though, today I still get excited visualizing
the flying man over the different play of light, balance of the
wings, and sensation of movement in flight. Mythology as a phase
of my art form may have disappeared, but in it's place a new vision
Extravaganza and Energetic Figures
(1997 to 2000)
The most important experience
while painting is the color and the worlds of light. America is
a country rich with different types of lights, it even lights up
its own skies with the power of lights and colors, colors which
strike just like sound. That is my guide in the world of two-dimensional
In the three-dimensional art
forms like sculptures, which still are still the logical center
and most important element of my artistic identity, the biggest
change was my progression from the wire-like, transparent and light
forms to the strong and yet fine character of the latest sculptures,
which simply dominate space and thus make a very strong statement.
Another novel idea I had is to draw on the surface of the metal
using the welding gun, which gives these drawings a very 3-dimensional
structure/texture. Another avenue I explore is creating hollow shapes
welded together to form solid looking designs and furniture. I weld
from the inside to make it look like a sculpture, a technique based
on the knowledge I gained thru the modern art training during my
Talking about the spirit of
the sculptures over the last 3 years, I had always been fascinated
with the power of Beethoven’s '5th Symphony', Michelangelo's
'Pieta' or Rodin’s Sculpture 'Kiss' and thus have become very
interested in two-figure compositions, which is probably one of
the most difficult forms of sculpting. Compositions containing only
two elements demand from the artist the fine feeling of balance,
proportions, and interaction of those two elements, be it in music
with only two notes, or in painting with only two colors and very
few artists achieve this successfully.
Lately most of my current art/design
is a picture of my obsession with the form of the human body. In
many of my works, gravity loses importance. The figures show themselves
all around me - and like daydreaming - I touch them and catch them
, and then transfer them from the world of dreams into reality -
I often only connect them to their base with just a hand or the
hair, a small contact point with the main body of the sculpture
floating freely in space.
Modern life, the relation between
man and woman, the running figures of people who are late for work
or a meeting, they play a large role in my art, for example in my
sculptures Lady of the Century and Love Story. These sculptures
talk, for instance, about lunch-time love ( I call it fast romance
) and they are my interpretation , understanding and critique of
the turbulent developments of civilization and life in the big city.
Lady of the Century is also an example of the female form that shows
most obviously the transformation from the earlier, more theatrical
pose and movement connected to biblical and mythological stories
to today's direct, immediate reaction to modern times, as generally
reflected in the works of most modern artist.
Currently most important in
my life besides my family is Mike Reilly, whom I met 3 years ago.
He asked me to design his new 10,000 square foot home and in the
end became my friend and sponsor. Mike is one of the few people
who help anyone without wanting anything in return - unconditionally.
I also found him to be a very honest and fair person, a motivator
and idealist. The moment I thought I had reached the pinnacle of
success for a foreign artist in Chicago, Mike showed up in my life
and totally shook my limited beliefs. He helped me to set new, higher
goals and standards for myself and the art I am creating, and to
reach a new heights that in my mind was unreachable before. He taught
me to never return to the past and to never believe, that something
is impossible in life, and also to feel good as a winner.
In my life I have received many
written awards, publications, positive press reviews et cetera,
but I think the most important award is the life I can afford to
live now, creating my art. I have always believed, that creativity
is the single most important element for success and everything
else is just a matter of time.
Sometimes, when I look deep
in my memories, I can see the blue eyes of the boy drawing in the
sand, and I am standing in front of him and looking at the faces
he draws, and suddenly there are voices and I come back from the
past to the present and to the drawings of my daughters that they
hold up in front of my face. They both look at me and their eyes
are asking me for praise about their art. I kiss them and tell them
"Beautiful, they are beautiful pictures" and before they
fall asleep at night, I tell them the story of the boy who drew
the faces in the sand along the river.