“I should have followed my heart long ago but it’s never too late to start again”
Sladjana Buhovac is a talented figurative sculptor from Sarajevo based in Canada. A few years ago, she rediscovered her passion for sculpting and decided to sculpt non-stop. Sladjana shares her work on Facebook and Instagram and her community keeps growing and admiring her fascinating sculptures.
This artist is constantly working on new projects. Sladjana seems to find inspiration in daily life. She can sculpt a bust of Julian Assange in clay or a Morgan Freeman portrait in terracotta, but also a beautiful mermaid in the sand or a peculiar snowman after a snowfall. Recently, she has taken advantage of technology in social media and has created short clips to show a complex sculpture of Adhira and Leo’s kiss or the details of her new Venus—sometimes with beautiful instrumental music in the background.
In this Q&A sculptor Sladjana Buhovac shares with PoseSpace how she started her career as an artist, what inspires her, why she uses our models and shares valuable advice for artists interested in sculpting:
Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?
I was born in Sarajevo in former Yugoslavia. I started drawing at a very young age and everywhere we went I always had paper and pen with me. I loved design and wanted to get in secondary art school in textile design. As admission exam, we had to draw, paint and sculpt. When I went to see if I got in, I was accepted as a sculptor, not as a designer. I was surprised and confused but it soon became clear to me that they recognized my talent before I did. So I started studying at the University of Fine Arts in Sarajevo but my first year was interrupted by war. We left Sarajevo for Belgrade, where I continued my studies of fine arts and got my BFA major in Sculpture in 1997.
You have mentioned on Instagram that sometimes you start a new project before finishing your previous sculpture. What inspires you? What makes you feel that urge to start a new sculpture?
What most inspires me is the human figure. I kind of gave up on my art after moving to Canada and started sculpting again just a few years ago. There are so many things I wanna do to make up for lost time. And since I can’t work with live models at the moment, finding your website was a great inspiration with so many great models and poses so good that while doing one pose I can’t wait to start a new one. I highly recommend it for sculpting since you can see poses from all angles.
What were you doing before you decided to sculpt again?
After moving to Canada I enrolled in a program that lasted 1 year in the local College, which was more of a workshop for sculpture. I did portrait in stone but I never finished it. I was overwhelmed with depression at the time due to some family issues and moving to another country contributed even more. Later on, I worked in restaurants and retail stores until my husband and I opened our own upholstery business in 2002. He is the real master of his trade. I had my corner in the shop set up for sculpting, but I wasn’t much inspired. He taught me how to sew and I learned very quickly and became very good at it. With all the beautiful fabrics I had around me, I started designing and making my own handbags which I sold on the craft market on Granville Island. I tried sculpting over the years, but that wouldn’t last too long. I participated in one contest at Stage Gallery in New York with a portrait of Camille Claudel I did from photos I found on the internet. I received a letter from them that my work was an honorable mention in that competition. Still, that wasn’t enough to push me forward. Then, when my son was born in 2007, I dedicated my time to him for several years.
Real inspiration and ignition of my passion for sculpting again came on one of my vacations in Cuba in 2015. I was on the beach and started sculpting life-sized women in the sand. That was the turning point. When I returned home, I got some clay and started sculpting portraits of my friends from photos. And I knew that this time I’m not giving it up ever again. I just love sculpting with clay. I love working in stone too but that is a very slow process and with clay I can do sculptures in one day. My living room is my studio for now.
What are your goals or aspirations as an artist?
I hope in some near future to exhibit my work to a larger audience.
What digital device do you use to see PoseSpace.com’s photos?
I mostly use PC since the screen is larger than other devices, but I also use my iPad from time to time.
What advice do you have for young artists who have an interest in sculpting?
My advice is to never give up on your art. Don’t listen to others, follow what inspires you the most. When I studied fine arts in the late nineties, figurative sculpture seemed like a dying field. Everyone, including my classmates, were pursuing installations and abstract work and I felt totally lost, I got a gift that nobody was interested in. So it seemed at the time. I should have followed my heart long ago but it’s never too late to start again.
Interview by Andrea Miliani