The Others

Meet the Others: Oliver Pavic

The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.

Tell us about who you are and what you do. What is your background?

I was born in Slovenia what was then still Yugoslavia. After the Balkan war I decided to become an architect to help rebuild the country. During my studies in Ljubljana I came across the famous Slovenian modernist painter Zoran Mušič. I was particularly fascinated with Mušič’s haunting self-portraits and his distinctive painting technique. In 1996 I nearly abandoned architecture in favour of painting was it not for an opportunity to study in London. I graduated from the prestigious Architectural Association in 2000 and worked as an architect until 2015. In 2009 I visited Gerhard Richter’s portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London which had profound impact on my artistic journey and eventually my life. Realising architecture would never allow me to express my creativity the way I wanted, I left this profession in 2015 and became a self-taught artist.

If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would they be?

Opaque Faces, Scraped Lines and Swirls.

How did you first get interested in your mediums and what draws you to them specifically?

After being an architect and drawing all the time, the natural progression was into photography and painting. It took many mistakes and experiments before I settled into painting portraits in oil. After looking at buildings as an architect I needed to see people as an artist. Oils became the preferred medium in terms of timing and manipulation needed to achieve the desired painting style.

Can you walk us through your process? How do you know when an artwork finished?

I don’t is the simple answer. In the last 5 years I experimented with many painting techniques and styles. The ‘scraping’ technique involves staging and layering the right amount of oil and predicting colour tones, which are then manipulated “Alla Prima” into a portrait. This approach is all about timing and envisaging the outcome, yet the end result remains unknown until I ‘complete’ the last stage of the painting which is scraping off the paint using the scrapers with teeth. The ‘opaque’ technique explores different oil mediums and gels used with oils to achieve that ‘through the glass’ opaque style. Here I play with the ambiguity of portraits using contemporary mediums to achieve that classical feel of portraits. In a way my portraits are only “finished” and ready for interpretation when oils set and become non-manipulating.

Has being in isolation affected your artwork practice in any way?

Of course I was affected, like any other artist. But I used this time to explore certain aspects of me as an artist which I didn’t have time to address before. I had to look into alternative ways to showcase and sell my art and II strengthened my relationship with my collectors and certain artists. Positive: Learning. Negative: Sales.

What is the best advice given to you as an artist?

Persist. Persist. Persist. Grow a very thick skin because the art world will swallow you up, chew you and spit you out many times before it actually notices you. Stay true to yourself and persist until you find your own unique mark.

Shop artwork by Oliver and other trailblazing artists at The Other Art Fair’s Online Studios.

Introducing The Other Art Fair Online Studios, a new online platform offering art lovers around the world access to over 800 Fair artists. The Online Studios will keep our community feeling inspired, engaged, and continue to spread joy through art.