ARTIST OF THE WEEK: THE COMPLETISTAugust 15, 2017
Jana Pavasovic is the talent behind The Completist. Starting this journey four years ago, her illustrations are soft, delicate and largely focus on watercolour designs. Channeling her inner Garance Doré, Jana also takes inspiration in current fashion trends, creating the perfect fashionista through her pencils and brushes.
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue illustration as a career?
I’ve always really loved illustration but for a long time, I was focused on other things in my career. Over the space of about a year, I just kept thinking about how fashion illustration was something I really wanted to move into so I decided to start posting sketches on a blog. I figured if I put them in a public space and told people about it, then I would have to keep sketching because other people were watching. I started The Completist about 4 years ago, and it was really only in about March this year that I started considering this as a career rather than a hobby. I thankfully have a lot of supportive people around me who told me I was mad if I didn’t.
Did you attend an art school or University? If so, how was that experience for you?
Yes, I loved university so much I went back several times. I studied Fashion Design at the Whitehouse Institute of Design in Sydney, where I was awarded a scholarship to study for a year in Florence, Italy. I also did a Masters Degree at LCF in London. The experience was hugely beneficial to me – I was fortunate to have incredible tutors who were always really supportive, but also pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone. I would love to go back and do a post-graduate degree in fashion history, photography or art at some point.
How long does it take you to create a piece?
It really depends on how detailed it is but generally, it’s about a day. I have a terrible habit of putting on whatever trash I can find on Netflix in the background, which can inevitably make the process much longer… I am trying to be more disciplined.
What drew you to watercolour? Do you have any artists that you look up to?
I love the messy, mottled look you can get with watercolour. I do love to play around with different techniques, and actually used Pantone markers quite a bit for a while, but I just find watercolour a lot more fun because I can make big haphazard brushstrokes, and it’s a bit more unpredictable. I love loads of other fashion illustrators, but I would say Esra Roise is my favourite, she’s just amazing. From a pure art perspective, I love Satsuki Shibuya and John Zabawa, and Bill Henson is my favourite photographer. I could list loads more people, but we’d be here for a while.
Can you describe your creative process? What motivates you and inspires you in your art?
It depends on what I’m doing. I love drawing, so I’m not always working on illustrations – it could be textures and patterns for screen printing too. I go through different moods in a day, so in the morning I might have my acrylics out and just be painting lots of different patterns. I generally will do my fashion illustrations later in the afternoon as I find it more relaxing, or more of a treat to do after working hard on other things all day. I sometimes sketch from images; I’ll find something that inspires me and I make a really quick map of it on my paper so I can paint the watercolour parts. I’ll then come back to it and sketch all the details in later on.
I can be inspired by an amazing image that I really want to sketch, or an amazing pattern I see that I want to paint (I am a huge Patternity fan as well), or I might just be inspired by trying new techniques, which often leads to new ways of drawing things.
What are your main inspirations in the current fashion scene?
Being a fashion designer as well as an illustrator, I have a big long (and constantly changing) list of fashion inspirations. I will always love Proenza Schouler, Acne Studios, Kenzo, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Simone Rocha, Dries Van Noten and Celine. I am currently really loving Knots Magazine – their editorials are just amazing. I adore ShowStudio and Nick Knight – I think he’s incredible. There are some designers with incredibly creative Instagram accounts, like The Row and Mansur Gavriel, which I always find inspiring. Finally, I will always love Garance Doré – she’s my career idol.
What was the moment that made you realise you wanted to create a business and live off your art?
It was probably only about 6 months ago – I had decided to go freelance as a designer and realised that I could give myself the extra time to throw into seriously pursuing this as a business. It was scary, but I haven’t looked back since.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given, about art or otherwise?
It isn’t necessarily one piece of advice – more of an advice spiel. When deciding whether or not to make the jump out of a full-time job, my husband always reminded me that there would never be a ‘right’ time. He said I just needed to get on and do it because it’s too easy to spend lots of time talking about it and not actually doing anything.
He will love me saying he was right – I’ve never been happier.
What has been your proudest career moment?
At this point, it’s probably a tie between the moment I actually got my act together and launched my own line of products and the moment when I looked back on when I first started sketching and realised how far I’d come. But I always feel like I’m right at the beginning, so there will hopefully be lots of moments to come.
Can you tell our readers about any future projects you are working on?
Yes – at the moment I’m making lots of screen prints, playing around with different techniques so there will always be new exciting things. I’m experimenting with bolder, stronger colours and graphic prints, which I will be putting on a line of limited edition tote bags. I also have some collaborations in the pipeline, so hopefully you’ll be seeing more of me soon.
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