This month, from September 12th to 26th, I’m having a solo art show in the city of Karlovac. The venue is the Youth Center Grabrik, which has a very nice gallery space.
I already wrote the story of how I got to exhibit there, so I won’t repeat it here. My original plan was to have many more paintings ready by the time of the show, but for reasons I will explain in another other post I didn’t create them. So in the end my exhibition consisted from 13 paintings from the cycle “????????” (Katharsis), that I created since 2007 until now.
This art show is very important to me for several reasons. First, it’s my first solo show in an actual gallery space where people came specifically to see my art. While universities, night clubs, art shops and streets have their charm, I wanted something more… serious I guess.
Second, as I mentioned during my speech, even though I’ve been creating a lot, I had a really hard time making a consistent body of work. I’ve been all over the place with different styles, techniques and themes, and I couldn’t gather enough paintings for a solo show. I’ve been dreaming about this for years.
Art show fliers featuring my painting Nourishing Heart
The show opening was on Friday, September 12th at 8 PM. It’s an hour-long drive from my hometown, and we (my boyfriend and two of our friends) left home early, hoping we’ll do some sightseeing before the show. But it was raining, and the weather was becoming increasingly worse as we were driving on the highway, so we had to go directly to the Center. There was even news of floods nearby, and the city of Karlovac resides on the bank of no less than 4 rivers, but luckily at the time we were there, it was just regular water-up-to-your-ankle rain.
When we arrived and found our way around the building, I’ve met the wonderful team who’s running the Center. I was especially pleased to meet Iva, the young woman who is handling the art shows, and who I’ve been e-mailing and talking to on the phone to in the months and days preceding the show.
My paintings and drawings were arranged beautifully on the walls, and I just had to stick my laminated labels under them. There were juices and snacks waiting on the table, and piles of art show fliers in the corners of the room. This was the first time in my life that someone did that for me, and I really felt like a star!
My canvas paintings “Crucify”, “Crucify II”, “Sharp Tongue”, “Hello, Mother” and “Nourishing Heart”
My drawings and paintings on paper next to 3 oval portraits. I take no credit for arranging the paintings!
The stars of the show: “Layers”, “Daughter of the Forest” and my newest painting “Unholy Visions”. For some reason people loved the oval shape and several artists wanted to know where I bought the canvases
At around 8 PM people started gathering. I’ve invited the only two local people I knew, so the attendance depended solely on the people from the Centre. And as you may guess, I was really worried that only a few people would show up!
I was wrong, and when people started coming in, I could hardly believe that all of them were here just to see my work. Of course, most of them were personal friends of organizers and young people who regularly come to the center. Both of my friends showed up with their partners, and within 15 minutes there was a small crowd gathered, and we were ready to open the show.
After a brief speech (which I didn’t prepare for at all), we invited people to come look around. From then until around 9 PM I was mingling, chatting with my friends, meeting new people, answering questions from visitors… I’ve met several local artists and exchanged contacts with them, in hopes to reconnect and maybe collaborate sometime.
Time flew by, and when most people had already left, we said farewell to the organizers and made our way toward the nearest fast food restaurant. We found a really great place that’s both tasty and ridiculously cheap (if you’re ever around, it’s called “Ham-ham”) and then found a nearby pub and stayed there for a bit. We decided to come back in spring, when we’ll be able to see this old city in a better light.
The show is remaining open until September 26th, so if there’s anyone local reading this — go check it out! :)
Friends have started asking me if there will be a show in Rijeka. I do intend to show these paintings in Rijeka later this year, I just need to find a venue.
P.S. All the photos in this post were taken by my boyfriend David and our friend Iva. Thanks, loves!
About Nela Dunato
Artist, brand designer, teacher, and writer. Author of the book “The Human Centered Brand”. Owner of a boutique branding & design consultancy that helps experienced service-based businesses impress their dream clients.
On this blog I write about art, design, creativity, business, productivity and marketing, and share my creative process and tips. Read more about me...
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