Kosta Kulundzic is a French artist of Serbian ancestry, born in Paris in 1972. He currently lives in Honolulu where he is an adjunct art professor at the University of Hawaii and a drawing and painting professor at the School of Architecture of Paris Val de Seine. He has shown in Paris, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Brussels, Honolulu, and at the SZ Gallery on Mercer Island in 2016, where he performed both a live painting and drawing - lucky us!
Thanks to all who joined Kosta Kulundzic at the SZ Gallery on Friday, June 7th for our First Friday Art & Wine Reception, 5 - 8 pm. Everyone enjoyed complimentary refreshments and seasonal bites alongside the wondrous yet wild imagery of Kosta Kulundzic. Next Art & Wine event will be SECOND Friday, July 12, 5 - 8 pm. To learn a bit more about his background and inspiration in this brief interview below.
Q&A with Kosta Kulundzic:
1) What is Tropic Iconic about?
Tropic Iconic is a reflection on the mysticism that permeates Hawaii, Its nature and its inhabitants. The works are portraits of the youth of Hawaii’s North-Shore, through which I try to express all the grace and sweet mysticism that seems to emerge from them… almost in the way of icons. I parallel and compare the strength of religious images to the natural and mystical grace emanating from the people of Hawaii and nature.
2) What has been your most inspiring experience so far this year?
I can't say that there was a unique or particularly inspiring experience this year that changed my work. This year has been a long and constant process of connecting myself with Hawaii.
There is a kind of energy that you can really feel in Hawaii which pushes me to create more, to paint more and to connect with nature. This did not come natural for me because of my Parisian roots.
But strangely, even though I am isolated in Hawaii, I am inspired to be more creative than in Paris. Hawaii is in the middle of a desert, a desert of water, but a desert. Some people here think that Hawaii is a pillar that releases all the energy of the aquatic space that surrounds it.
3) What has influenced evolution in your work?
Over the past several years I have been using my artwork to deal with issues linked to religious war, because of my Serbian origins. I was tired of being an active witness to the misery of the world. At least through participating in the proliferation of the idea that the world was coming to an end; which is the most common shared idea in the contemporary art scene. I decided to simply deal with beauty and grace within the context of Hawaii. I no longer wanted to be a peddler of sadness, a zombie of contemporary art that only satisfy himself in the description of the many misfortunes of our times.
4) Is there an artist that inspires you?
I'm a huge fan of David Hockney. His way of dealing with the portrait, the nature and the color. His approach of translating photography into the painting, and his desire to also be a positive painter. Hockney shares his own perception of the beauty of the world; from the Grand Canyon to the Californian lifestyle.
5) What would be your dream project?
Honestly, I wish to continue this series long as I can. To present (Tropic Iconic) in a larger scale show, this optimistic vision of the youth and the nature. I simply want to continue to celebrate the beauty and the grace.
6) Why Hawaii? What brought you there and has motivated you to stay there?
My wife is from Hawaii and after 15 years of living in Europe she wanted to go back home and raise our kids there. I really thought that moving to the middle of the pacific and leaving Paris would be, in a way, the end of my artistic career. I was absolutely not expecting what happened. Instead Hawaii changed everything. In my paintings, in my way of seeing the world, but it was not an easy process because I was really a grumpy Parisian. I reconnected deeply into my creative process, into what was for me, the meaning of painting. I realized that in Paris during all those years I had lost the essence of my work in this crazy race of getting new art shows.
Please join us at SZ Gallery on Friday, June 7th for our First Friday Art & Wine Reception from 5 - 8 pm. Enjoy complimentary refreshments and seasonal bites alongside the wondrous yet wild imagery of Kosta Kulundzic.
In the time between his last show at SZ in 2016 and this upcoming exhibition, in 2017 he did a solo show, “Kosta Kulundzic by Kosta Kulundzic”, at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, in the Art Gallery + Commons Gallery, as well as the following group exhibitions: “KUNST SHORLE” Projektraum Ventilator, Berlin Germany; “Maria Impuls der Zeit” Warendorf, Germany; “CONTACT 3017” , Honolulu Museum of Art School; Performance / Installation, “URBAN Underground” ArtafterDark, Honolulu Museum of Art; “Blanc Blank”, The Studio, Belgrade Serbia; and “Paris Mai”, Luc Berthier Gallery Paris. In 2018 he was a part of the following group exhibitions: "The Sarajevo Storage" at the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina and “La nouvelle ecole francaise" at the Bastille Design Center, Paris. In addition to all the exhibitions, he has been working on many large commissioned paintings, both personal portraits and public murals.