Emerging Canvas: an interview with artist Anja Tvrtkovic

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For every album, single, book, or DVD there is a cover or accompanying piece of art to portray what is within and tempt the emotions into the heart of the host. Always looking out for emerging independent artists The RingMaster Review had the pleasure to come across a young artist from Serbia, Anja Tvrtkovic, whose work has already grabbed thoughts and attention. Such the potency of the few things seen we felt the need to find out more about the lady and her work.

Hello Anja and thank you for talking with us.

Hello, and thank you for the interview!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a person that likes to  do too many things interested in art and music. I am a student of University of Applied Arts studying Animation. In my free time I work art designs for bands, t-shirt designs and illustrations for younger children. I am playing bass and back vocals in an all-female band called Plump (named after a song played by Hole). Two months back I ended up in a band called Jailbait (an all-girl band that is a tribute to the Runaways and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)! And I don’t know what else to say and not end up sounding like an egoistic person  haha :))

When did art first catch your imagination and who were your early influences?

When I was a kid, it was my passion, so most of the time I was watching Flight of Dragons, The Last Unicorn, The Railway Dragon and many more cartoons in that style of drawing! Of course those were the times of VHS so I would record a lot of cartoons and watch them over and over. I can’t say who would be my influence as a person. I was more in my world at the time, with an idea of dragons and dinosaurs in my head.

How would you describe your style of art?

My style? Hmmmm, I always wanted to look badass with my drawings and make people go into “WOAH!” effect, but I would always end up drawing something cute and attractive to a child’s eye. But there are the times when I get into my more serious state, but I never published it.

Is there any particular medium you prefer or find better for your ideas?

Digital art. Definitely. I am too clumsy to work traditional and would always end up all in colours and not satisfied.

artwork2What inspires your work and ideas predominantly?

Other people, friends, but mostly artists all over the world. Internet is a great tool in meeting other styles and techniques.

Music is obviously also an important thing in your life?

Oh yes, very! My bass and love for singing also helps and inspires!! Music is a big part of my life, the thing that gets me going. Every time I stay up late, working for my University, I crank up some good old grunge and metal so I could get through.

What bands and genres are your favourites?

There are too many but, there are some times when I am into grunge, rock, sometimes punk, sometimes I end up in heavy, death and some older thrash. Few of the favourite bands would be: Gojira, System of a Down, Black Sabbath, Offspring, Nirvana, Queen, Deep Purple, Slayer, Kultur Shock, Babes in Toyland Hole, L7, Guano Apes….
I have many local bands that I love and support so I would include them too: NoYz?, Hatred, Uneven, Fandango, Seljačka Buna, Cannot and many more!

When and how did the two mediums come together with you designing art work and posters for bands?

When I was in high school. Because it was a school of Design, a lot of projects were designing CD covers and posters. I was always glared down by my teachers because of doing a design for Opeth, System of a Down and a few more local bands haha.

If given just one choice would you choose working in music or illustrating for children’s books etc?

I would probably find myself more in illustrating then in music. Drawing is more my thing, I would leave music making to more talented people :)

I believe you are creating the artwork for the forthcoming album from Serbian band Noyz?

Yes! I am doing the cover and booklet for upcoming album. It is a lot of work, but that is a dream of every artist. To work with a band that  you love, and gets you easily inspired. So I am the lucky one :)

Can you give any insight as to what it will be like?

Well, Sharkey(frontman and guitarist) and I had a long talk about the album, and I know very well all the songs (yeah I am a big fan), so there is going to be greyish, a little bit dark, but with symbolic elements. I will try to keep the grunge spirit that Noyz have!

What other artists have you worked with or are looking at in the future?artwork1

I haven’t had a chance to work with other artists, but I hope I will! I like collaborations! But if you think for music artists I worked with tons!

You create music yourself so what do you feel is the biggest similarity between creating pieces of art and making music?

I literally did just one part of a song in collaboration with my friend and Sharkey, as a gift to one dear friend. I  always have a blockade in my head when I am starting to do something. Even for this song I had a blockade, I had to make the melody and lyrics and couldn’t do it. Few days later it just hit me, out of nowhere! That is the same process I am having with my art. So yeah there is a big similarity :)

Have you an aim or ambition for your art ahead?

I can’t say there is an aim. I am still in the shell, I don’t have goal in my life, maybe dreams, but those are still far away!

Where can people see your works of art?

For now, I don’t have an online portfolio, and my deviant art page is old and hasn’t been updated in a long time, but I am hoping in making a site as soon as possible! Some of my really old stuff can be seen here: http://njanjadesign.daportfolio.com/

Once again many thanks for talking with us.
It was my pleasure! The questions were fun! :)

Would you like to end with three of your favourite works of art and three favourite albums?

I would end up with: From Mars to Sirus – Gojira; Bleach – Nirvana;  Diabolus in Musica – Slayer.

The RingMaster Review 06/04/2013

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Metal guitar virtuoso XANDER DEMOS Reveals New Fan-Submitted Album Artwork‏

Metal guitar virtuoso, Xander Demos reveals the winning album artwork submission from his “Get My Guitarcadia Artwork On” contest.

Xander Demos and MTS Management Group, in association with Rock N Growl Records, are pleased to announce the winning album artwork submission from Xander’s recent “Get My Guitarcadia Artwork On” contest and it is RingMaster Review favourite and creator of our new profile image, OneTwoTree Designs.

The contest ran for two weeks, during which fans were encouraged to submit their original designs for the re-release of Xander’s album, “Guitarcadia“. Entries were received from all corners of the world, with the winning entry coming from Sami Ahvenainen, a 23 year old graphic design student from Finland.

“I’m stunned! Speechless!” said Mr. Ahvenainen, owner of OneTwoTree Designs, which offers 100% free artwork to bands. “In the beginning my art was not free, but as time went on I figured that it is more inspiring – easier for me to create and help bands if my art was free”. A big “thank you” from the band is a good enough reward for me, I love music, I want to help out, and this is a great way for me to do so!”

“This artwork is badass!” said Xander. “I can’t wait to get the album out there with this new look. Congratulations and thank you, Sami!”

Xander Demos, is signed to Rock N Growl Records for exclusive worldwide digital distribution. His debut album, “Guitarcadia” was mixed and mastered by Firehouse frontman, CJ Snare. Xander Demos is also a member of the US East Coast chapter of Sabbath Judas Sabbath.

For more information, http://www.xanderdemos.com and http://www.rockngrowl.com.

Bands and artist looking for artwork get in touch with Sami @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/OneTwoTree-Designs/291518004205786

Interview with Sami Antero Ahvenainen of OneTwoTree Designs

Just recently The RingMaster Review came across an artist and artwork that quite simply left us opened mouthed. From just one piece of work we were fully inspired to find more and as we found more of this great work nothing less than awe broke out. As deep and rich in emotive provocation and imagination as they were in skill and texture the pieces were the first new art in a long time to bring an open reaction. Though a young new talent the person behind OneTwoTree Designs has worked on and graced EPs with great impact and is sure to become a name the world of music especially will have roiling off their eager tongues. Wanting to find out more we grabbed some time from the artist to find out more about him and his astonishing work.

Hi and thank you for talking with us at The Ringmaster Review

First question is simply please introduce yourself.

My name is Sami Antero Ahvenainen and I am a newbie graphic designer from Finland.

Please give us some background to yourself.

Well, I am 23 years old, second year student and I have been interested in graphic designing for over 3 years now.

When did art become a passion and important part of your life?

Art has always been in my life, I used to draw comics and stuff when I was a little kid

What are your influences and artists which inspired you most?

The artworks/ illustrations of Travis Smith, he’s a legend and a big inspiration to me.

How would you describe your art to newcomers?

Dark, mysterious and maybe even… thought provoking?

Do you stay with one style or medium or work across many forms?

I try to work across many forms and improve my technique with every art piece I create.

You also have a love of music, especially extreme metal and other forms of metal and rock, another passion as strong as your art?

Absolutely, music has always been there for me, giving me inspiration when I really need it! Nowadays I mostly listen to brutal death metal.

Do you play an instrument or make music yourself?

Well, I like to write lyrics on my free time just to keep my mind occupied, that is about it. Haha

Your work is dark and brooding and very provocative, is it a good representation of you as a person?

Absolutely yes but I try to avoid going too dark cause that can be depressing at times and that is not a direction I want to take.

What inspires your art predominantly?

Music and the challenges of life.

When designing and creating album covers or working on another ideas for bands do you work closely with them and listen to their music to get a feel of their creations first?

Most of the time I work very closely with the bands and they send me clips of their new tunes so that I can get the right idea for the art, it is all pretty cool and I appreciate it.

Is there a similarity do you think to how artists and musicians are inspired in their craft and how those seeds for compositions are developed?

I think so yes, when I hear an amazing song it inspires me to create something epic and I’ve actually heard that my artworks have inspired bands to improve their music and step up their game…so yeah.

Like a song with depth and texture your art unveils new layers and shadows each time you look at it, there is not just an instant appeal but a story or darker avenue to explore. It is important to you that your pieces have a breath and entity of their own?

Absolutely yes, I want my artwork to stand out from the rest I don’t want to create two pieces that look the same; I’m always looking for something new and refreshing!

American band Black Sky Ashes is a big fan of your work I believe?

Yeah, we worked very closely back in late 2011 and early 2012 when they released their first EP “your rain” I hope to work with them again someday; Travis Neal is a cool guy.

Give us some of the other bands you have graced releases of with your work?

At the moment my biggest would be the artwork I designed for Dishearthed and their EP “Praise the fool” it is a stunning artwork and I’d say it could be my finest art piece to date!

If there was one band or project you could choose to create for, what would it be?

Insomnium! I’ve been a big fan of this band for a long time and it would be a dream come true for me if I could create some art for them.

Now, and this still surprises me given the amazing quality and skill of your art, you design and create stuff for bands etc for free?

Yes, my artworks are 100% free. No joke!

Was this your intent from the start or just a reflection on the fact there just is not the money around within music and upcoming bands?

Yeah, in the beginning my art was not free but as time went on I figured that it is more inspiring/ easier for me to create and help bands if my art was free. A big “thank you” from the band is a good enough reward for me, I love music, I want to help out and this is a great way for me to do so!

One imagines you are over loaded with requests for your work but where can people get in touch regarding the possibility of having you create something for them?

I always have room for another project if it is interesting enough and stands apart from the others, I can be contacted via email onetwotree@hotmail.fi or via my Facebook page, friend requests are welcome!

Is there any criteria they have to meet, like no pop or rap? Haha

Absolutely not, I love all kinds of music!

It is near impossible to pick a favourite of your pieces I have seen but Bride of Darkness and Cursed Moon, as well as a couple untitled ones on your Facebook profile stimulate and evoke stronger thoughts than others. What is your favourite or proudest piece to date? Yes I know like choosing your favourite kid or pet haha.

I’d have to say “bride of darkness” also, it just turned out amazing and I even surprised myself!

Are you continually coming up with ideas and pieces that lay in wait for the right project whether there are projects in the works or not?

There are times when I just don’t come up with anything, but that can be cause of my lack of free time at the moment haha. I can only blame myself for that!

Have you ever been lost for ideas when faced with a job, that spark of inspiration too dim and needing extra stoking to bring forth?

I put 100% of my heart into every piece I create, if I don’t feel like 100% I won’t even try to come up with anything. I don’t want to create uninspired art that would be a waste of everyone’s time and it would make me feel kinda disappointed later on.

What are your ambitions as an artist and for your work?

At the moment this is just a hobby cause I’m still in school etc but…time will tell, I’d like to be a pro!

Have you had exhibitions? I guess your Facebook profile online is a kind of one?

Nope, never. But yeah the page is kinda like one, I guess haha

Once more many thanks for talking with us.

My pleasure!

One final question, we saw you have a couple of wrestling inspired pieces, another love and who is your favourite sports entertainer?

Edge, amazing in the ring, good mic skills and charisma! Shame that he had to retire.

Find out more about OneTwoTree Designs @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/OneTwoTree-Designs/291518004205786

Email onetwotree@hotmail.fi

The RingMaster Review 18/05/2012

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