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Custom(er) Stories: Alesandro Ljubicic

30 January, 2020

We caught up with celebrated local artist Alesandro Ljubicic to talk about his expressive, colourful paintings, the inspiration he finds in nature, and how he balances business in the art world.

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Did you know you’d be an artist from a young age? Or was it something you landed on later in life?  

I always enjoyed art, I loved it from a young age. But I never really thought that one day I could be creating art as a job. It wasn’t until the last year of high school, when I did an extensive two week course at the National Art School as part of year 12, where I said to myself, I really love doing this and I would love to keep doing this for the rest of my life. Telling your mum and dad that I wanted to be an artist, you’d think they’d ask, ‘are you sure?’ But they said, do whatever makes you happy, and we’ll support that as much as we can.

I know it’s a difficult question, but how would you describe your art? Is there a style or philosophy that underpins it? 

My art is considered contemporary art, because it’s current. Describing my style of work, I would say its an impasto expressionist style of painting, as it’s all about pushing paint and capturing the speed and emotion in every mark making and gesture. My style of painting is a reflection of who I am as a person and what comes to me naturally. I’ve been heavily involved in sports throughout my life and my painting is another expression of how I use my body, so I find myself being really physical when I paint, creating the large, thick strokes I’ve become known for. Instead of squeezing tiny portions of colour out of a 60ml tube, I use a spatula to swipe pure, shining oil paint onto the canvas. When you walk into my studio, you have to tip-toe your way between multiple 4-litre cans of gorgeously coloured paints with spatulas sticking out of them!

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Where does your inspiration come from? Is it something you consciously search for, or is it something that flows through pretty naturally?  

I’m really inspired by the beauty in nature all around us. To me, florals are the perfect expression of this: a subject that’s universally relatable. Which one of us doesn’t have a memory of a beautiful bouquet of flowers they’ve seen or received? Or perhaps a memory of walking through a garden filled with native flora that brought the rest of the garden to life? Flowers are a subject which I feel my audience can really connect with. Being able to project this beauty onto my canvases is a joy and the vibrant colour of the flowers combined with my large, gestural, abstract style of painting is a perfect match. 

Colour is a way in which I express myself: it represents mood and emotion for me. Using colour represents who I am and what I’m trying to say and it demonstrates how I want to represent the world. My favourite colour would have to be magenta. It’s a colour that to me has a universal harmony and emotional balance. The colour promotes compassion, kindness and encourages a sense of self respect and contentment. I find myself using it in every painting that I do; I think it really represents who I am as an artist.

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In today’s environment, do you have to be part businessman, part artist? Is there a process of self promotion and commercialism to what you do, or is your role just as an artist, and it’s for others to manage that part of your career? 

Absolutely you do. And at this moment in time, it's never been so easy to be both, with social media so easily accessible. Previously artists would rely on their circle of contacts plus the gallery they exhibit with to promote their work. But now, with one Instagram post from the studio, you can have millions of viewers from around the world seeing the image within 24 hours of posting. This tool is priceless for any creative. Today we also rely on the gallery but unless you’re not exhibiting for that month there’s no need for the gallery to push you as hard as you can push yourself. It’s really up to the creative to manage this part of their career, with guidance from the gallery.

Obviously your wife is incredibly successful in her own right. How do you juggle your many pursuits and find time for normality?

We discuss everything and support each other at every work event and every occasion. We also try to do everything together. When I go away for work she clears her diary and comes along to support me and of course I do the same. For us, this is our time together. 

Tell us about your InStitchu experience. How did you enjoy getting fitted and designing your suits? As someone with a creative background, did you appreciate being able to customise details?

I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at InStitchu, but as soon as I entered I knew I was at the right place. I was greeted by the staff who asked not what I wanted to buy but rather how my day was and if I wanted a drink of any sort. This was followed by a casual conversation about what kind of suit I was after and for what occasion, so they could suggest fabric and design. 

I never knew this was possible, to be honest. Being able to select the fabric, the pocket design, the height of the pants… Of course this was all new to me but because of my discussion with the team about what I was after their professional advice helped me select the right fabrics with the correct design.

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How would you describe your sense of style? 

Being a creative and someone who loves texture I always want basics, but with a difference.   One of the suits I selected was a beautiful navy suit, which everyone should have, but the fabric has a heavy texture, which gives the whole look a unique element.

To celebrate Alessandro’s work we crafted two separate fabrics designed from his paintings, both lining his custom suits. If you’re an inspired artist yourself, or you want to celebrate a design that you’ve fallen in love with, we can create custom linings for your next suit or jacket – it’s a great way to make your next garment your own, a one-of-a-kind expression of your personal style.

Head to our suits or shirts page to shop our latest range.

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