I came across Mladen Oljaca on Google+ connections. I looked at his cartoons which to me looked like stunning graphic illustrations so I investigated further. Usually I am preoccupied with painters and like to seek out creative Painters in general whose artwork I believe to be of high caliber especially where creativity is concerned. However, Mladen's cartoons not only made me laugh but they made me think and wonder which was kind of a new experience for me. That is why I decided to do this interview with him as there is much more to Mladen and his cartoons than what meets the eye.
1. When did you decide to become a Professional Cartoonist or Graphic Artist? At what age did you realize that you enjoy drawing cartoons?
I decided to become a Graphic Artist/Cartoonist during my school years. In College, I took courses in Mechanical Engineering but dropped out before completing my degree in 1988 when I was presented with an opportunity as a Newspaper Illustrator (Cartoonist and Comic-strip Writer). I can confidently say that I never regretted dropping out as my heart was not in that field. I was around 5 or 6 years of age when I knew I enjoyed art - especially comics and illustrations. I have often dreamed about becoming a Cartoonist someday.
2. How would you like to define the art/cartoons you create?
I personally don't consider my cartoons "art" but rather "craft". I take the job (the text or scenario that is to be illustrated), read it, and then contemplate about it - how to present it graphically. It is more like a job I believe not much "art" in my opinion. To answer your question of what kind of art I create, I would say illustrations, cartoons for comic and caricatures. I enjoy drawing for Children's Books and relish in illustrating the images in a fun and humorous way. Humor is my prime motivation - even in art (smile).
3. What is your favorite color and why? Do you listen to music when you work? What is your favorite music?
I don't have a favorite color come to think of it. However, I do like the dynamic combination of Black, White and Red. For years I only illustrated in black ink for comics. Colors came in later. Yes, I do listen to music fairly often when I am working. It keeps me going and energizes me when I am feeling tired. My favorite music is Rock, Hard Rock and some Punk (Rock).
4. How many illustrations have you created and sold as of today? How do you go about doing this business?
I have not kept an exact count since I have been working as a Graphic Artist for over fifteen years. I have produced over 4,000 images which includes illustrations, caricatures, comic strips and panels for clients of all walks of life. I do not have an accurate statistics on that (laughs).
I sell illustrations which is different than selling paintings in a way because I sell them in quantity (of images created). Each job is different and sold in accordance with how much time and effort it took to create the whole project.
5. Do you have a designated Art Studio? Do you have this studio in your house or do you rent it? The address physical or email if someone wants to send you correspondence.
No, I don't have some special place where I work. I work in my house and do not have an Art Studio. If someone wants to send me correspondence, they can do so by sending me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. What past experiences (good and bad) have influenced your work?
Well, I can say that everything that has happened to me, around me, things I saw, heard, read etc. have influenced my work. I don't live in isolation. Everything around me has some meaning and significance of course. I was born in Serbia - former Yugoslavia which as we know is disintegrated now. We lived through a horrible civil war that lasted for almost 4 years. That experience has influenced and marked all of our lives permanently. The art we create naturally has that influence in some shape or form.
7. Who are your favorite Artists/Cartoonist? Which Artist(s) has influenced your outlook and work? Who do you identify with the most?
I don't have any particular artist that I can say "favorite". However, throughout my life I saw many different artists and their works that I liked. I suppose that has influenced my work I am sure. I would like to add that there is no bad art or artist. Every single piece of art one can learn something from I believe. I don't like any kind of idols and don't like to identify with one. Every artist has something unique to offer and we should respect and support that.
8. What is your favorite media (Oils, Acrylics, Markers, Watercolors, Computer). Is there a specific brand you like and why?
I started out in Pen & Ink (Black Ink). I used to make pencil drawings first and then go over with the black ink. Later on I moved to computer 100%. I can draw in ink and fill it in with color by using Wacom tablet. I like it because it is faster, cleaner and it provides me with possibilities to temper with in many ways without the fear of ruining the drawing.
9. Is there something you would like to share about yourself with potential clients?
Well, if someone wants to know something about me, it is all over my drawings/cartoons. Everything is written there (wink) for the world to see.
10. Your nationality and birthdate? Languages you can communicate in?
I am Serbian. My nationality is Serb. I was born on January 31st, 1970. I can communicate in Serbian and English.