Gallery Spotlight: Marko Djurdjevic
One of Marvel's most proliﬁc creators talks about a new gallery showcasing his and other artists'
By Jim Beard
Admired for his imaginative art and design, Marvel illustrator Marko Djurdjevic now has a new role: art gallery owner. With Djurdjevic opening the doors to the gallery--called SIXMOREVODKA--in his native Germany, Marvel.com caught up with the hard-working artist to ask him how the gallery came about and what challenges it's presented.
"The idea for the gallery came together through being fortunate enough to have traveled the planet back and forth," says Djurdjevic. "On all these travels I've met amazing artists working scattered across the Earth. I ﬁgured that I would have a hard time seeing them again, since not everybody can afford to just travel around and visit me for a week or two in my current hometown of Berlin. So I needed to create a place that gives artists a purpose--when they come visiting, they should actually have some sort of beneﬁt from it. That's where the idea of creating a gallery came from. A place that artists can use to display their works in and at the same time use the space to generate art. It makes people more visible, and I take great pride in representing work from artists that inspire me."
The fan-favorite artist knew the gallery must be a workable space and designed it to be as ﬂexible as possible, while still appealing to the visitor's eye.
"I wanted to design a place that feels inviting," Djurdjevic states. "Far away from the posh gallery vibe, where you don't even dare to walk through the front door. It is supposed to be a place where people like to hang out, that gives me the opportunity to be a host, and to be able to work in there as well as inviting people to work alongside with me. Everything had to be modular and rearrangeable so the rooms could be redesigned as we see ﬁt. That gives us the chance to create a different atmosphere for every exhibition we hold.
"I look at it from an art lover's perspective. I love good art, and even more so, when it's created by people I hold dear. Owning a gallery gives you the chance to be close to the works that inspire you and I ﬁnd myself just strolling through the place looking at the works we have hanging here whenever I need to take a break. It's a breath of fresh air anytime you look at an amazing painting and witness all the details that you like about it."
Djurdjevic's not alone in the gallery; several other amazing artists inhabit its rooms with their work, each sharing their host's interest in comics and pop culture in general.
"For the first exhibition we have three dear friends of mine that we will be hanging here till May," he notes. "The first one is Nic Klein, an amazing German illustrator that I met back in 2005. His stuff is so gorgeous that I pushed for him getting a gig at Marvel, which happened back in 2007, when he was assigned to do the covers for the STAR-LORD mini-series and the relaunched NEW WARRIORS. We've been working closely together for the past five years now and he's a gem of a guy and a huge talent that I wanted to feature on the spot."
"Next comes Carl Dobsky, a wonderful realistic painter from San Francisco whom I met in my concept art days at Massive Black. His work is akin so much to the old Masters, but in a modern context that is simply a pleasure to behold. During my three-year stay in San Francisco, I learned more than I could possibly put together about painting from him. Carl is an amazing teacher and rich with knowledge, so having his work on display is a constant punch in the gut."
"Last but not least comes Coro, whom I count as one of the best artists of my generation. He used to be my art director at Massive Black and is still one of my closest friends, but that alone wouldn't even describe his versatility. The guy can do anything he wants. Hailing from a graffiti background, he mastered all visual techniques and styles like nobody else I know, doing concept design, comic books, marketing art, cartoons, fine art, toys, you name it. His personal work, which is exhibited here, has a special personal connection for me since it is landscape paintings from downtown San Francisco, the areas that I used to call home once and that still feel like home to me whenever I go visit."
Djurdjevic says the gallery as a whole stands as an inspiration for his own art and inspires him to become a better artist. His visitors and their reactions also serve as a kind of motivation.
"So far, I think people have been awed by the pure craft of what's on display," he says. "We've gotten tons of positive reviews and visitors have commented on how brave they think the concept of this space is. The art was and is well received all over and it gives me a good feeling that we're on the right track."
Looking around the gallery a Marvel aficionado might recognize a few familiar faces, namely some of Djurdjevic's own work for the House of Ideas.
"It's more like just a bunch of [Marvel] covers that I did and liked and put out for people to take a look at," he says of a particular area in the building. "Funny thing was, people just started picking them up and reading into them, without me planning so. So I guess that's a nice side effect that I can introduce a whole new stack of people to my day-to-day work."
"There is no master plan to this. We just enjoy the fact that it's here and that we're here to stay. Whatever good comes out of this will come on its own. You can't force such things. But I'm eagerly looking forward to how it will move along and what artists will be featured here in the future."