Home Is Where the Art Is

For one artist, his mission is unveiling his pride and joy across the globe. With his unique style of collage and drawings, he has exhibited his artwork in various locations, and now he can tick China off his list.

A European artist from Serbia, Michele Sporin (aka Maestro) graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Novi Sad, with a master’s degree in Fine Arts. During his career he has exhibited his art through Europe, America, Saudi Arabia and now has had the incredible opportunity to share his work for the first time in China.

His first solo exhibition in China took place at Taiku Space in Wanjiang, Dongguan, on June 2 whereby he displayed his large abstract collage canvases as well as a series of unique concept art drawings. Supported by expats and Chinese, this was a time of great achievement. His most recent project “Master of the Unknown Space,” is based on his personal experiences while living in China. The pieces correlate with the primal forces of the four elements fire, earth, water and air.

Through the use of color and action, Michele’s intention with his work is to invite and entice onlookers into a visual landscape; an “unknown place waiting to be manifested,” in order to convey and promote different states of mind.

Michele has always been interested in expressionism and abstract and that’s where some of his ideas stemmed from. His collage pieces all share something in common: they are created with paper as the foundation of texture. With a focus on ensuring his art is clean and abstract, Michele also pointed how versatile paper is.

Maybe this will be a good step in the right direction of opening up opportunities for foreign artists in Dongguan.

“I had a very good professor in Serbia, he was a sculpture artist. I worked with him for a year while getting my master’s degree, which was in drawing and sculpture. I experimented a lot with paper and my aim was always to occupy a space. I’m very proficient with water techniques; my early art which involved water and ink led to my connection with paper. Using canvas is totally different. For me the relationship between water and paper is very special. There is always a certain amount of control as now I am skillful enough with water, and acrylic of course is manipulated by water. Anyway, my professor used to say ‘the first sketch you do is not the one on paper—it’s the one in your head’ and he was right. Forming an idea into reality is never really the original, as it constantly evolves. My starting point with abstract art is always about texture.”

It was clear to me that Michele’s work is particularly emotional and spiritual, as he described the method in the madness: “The visuals are all about rhythm. Movement, chaos and energy. When forming my creations, I am very vibrant! That’s why my apartment goes back and forth between messy and tidy.” He pointed to the clutter in his designated studio.

After asking what advice he would give to aspiring artists and those wishing to expose their work in Dongguan, Michele quoted a famous philosopher before proceeding with, “I wouldn’t give anyone advice. Everybody works things out for themselves; what works for one person doesn’t always work for others.” He went on, “I always relate to music because it’s very close to me. For example, you can always share a conversation over a guitar. However, at the end of the day, it’s not about the guitar, it’s about the player. And each player is individual. It’s just about expression.”

Michele and I discussed the current situation with art culture and the conventions and traditions within this city and country, before he commented, “I think there are young artists who are quite open-minded but it will take some time before things begin to open up here.”

It was intriguing to absorb the journey of Michele introducing his creations to our vibrant city: “It is quite challenging to present any kind of artwork in such an industrial place, but I was persistent and I believe that my art is different and worth checking out. I did have to work to find somewhere that would accept what I wanted to give, but luckily Dongguan has some areas open to various types of culture.” He added, “Maybe this will be a good step in the right direction of opening up opportunities for foreign artists in Dongguan.”

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