Emerging Canvas: an interview with artist Anja Tvrtkovic


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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Johnny Wore Black – Noise


     Having already captured the imagination and emotions through previous singles All The Rage and Up In Flames, UK rock band Johnny Wore Black unleash a new fire of rock fervour in the stirring shape of Noise. The new single taunts and persuades with a might of intense passion and instinctive craft which easily commands the ear to leave a lingering grip and rich satisfaction long after its parting.

London band Johnny Wore Black is the brainchild of songwriter/producer Johnny Jay, the former leading force for The Jay Harley Band. Debut single All The Rage, a track released in conjunction with Help For Heroes to raise funds for Help for Heroes and Combat Stress, was an immediate provocation to awareness and critical acclaim for the project, with the equally imposing and incendiary Up In Flames further raising the temperature around the band and its powerful sound. Jay is renowned for his work with musical collaborators and the previous singles featured the skills of  David Ellefson from Megadeth in their striking presences. Noise has been mixed by David Bottrill (Stone Sour, Muse, Tool), with a video produced by Paul Solomons to accompany it, and comes with all the weaponry to take the band on to the widest recognition.

The song is about social networking and its impact on modern society. Regarding the track Jay revealed it was, “an awareness of how we seem to be losing the ability to communicate with each other in ways that were once most natural.” He continues to say “I was sitting in a cafe watching two people arguing about the fact they weren’t paying enough attention to each other as they were too busy focusing on their mobile phones, and the song developed from there.”

The track opens with a delicious wash of emotive and melodic elegance. It soon sees the guitar caressing the  listener with thoughtful cover_design1400enterprise whilst the bass adds its individual textured shadows to walk alongside. Once the song is settled upon the senses the vocals of Jay begin the narrative with inviting warm expression and sinewy tones which lead into a chorus which is as anthemic as it is emotionally antagonistic. A brooding breath stalks the song throughout with the melancholic strings offering a sinister yet vibrant and inviting temptation to match the muscular lure of the song. Though in sound the bands are apart, the song finds that compelling persuasion and depth which marked Metallica’s Black album so impressively, and also suggests that something promising those heady heights from the Brits in the future is not beyond the realms of probability.

Though it never explodes into a blaze of fire, the track is a prowling and inciting presence which ignites the passions and sets itself up as one of the most addictive and potently lingering tracks to emerge this year so far. A kind of a cross between Stone Sour and Soundgarden, Noise is an outstanding gateway into an emerging creative force in UK rock, the exciting Johnny Wore Black.



RingMaster 06/04/2013

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Ed Zealous – Medicines


    A feisty energetic explosion of electro rock and dance pop, Medicines the new single from indie electro band Ed Zealous is an irresistible dance for the senses. The glittering piece of melodic temptation is devilishly infectious and even if their chosen genre does not normally excite the passions, the wanton lure and mischievous sun of the song makes it impossible for anyone not to have a hunger to immerse within its compelling warmth.

The Northern Ireland quartet creates a dazzling and seductive persuasion from a magnetic blend of synths, punchy rhythms, and vibrant cassios; add vocals which swagger with harmonic relish and ridiculously addictive melodic hooks, and submission to their sound and especially the new single is a foregone conclusion. Their influences come from the likes of David Bowie, Talking Heads and Pulp, as well as A-Trak, Boys Noize and TV On The Radio, though the song itself just as easily brings essences of Blancmange and Does It Offend You, Yeah?  to the fore. Recorded with producer Eliot James (Bloc Party, Noah and The Whale, Does It Offend You, Yeah?), and taken from the Ed Zealous forthcoming debut album, the Label Fandango released Medicines is a thumping heart attack of eager urgent beats and greedily drooling melodic keys which simply ignites the dancer and playfulness in all. Having started the year supporting Two Door Cinema Club at their homecoming show in Belfast, and now the release of this stunning single, with of course the album to follow, 2013 is looking a radiant year for the band, and us.   Medicines_Cover_Art

The single immediately sizzles upon the ear with slightly acidic but fizzy synths teasing the senses whilst further electro pops explode with a smiling intent. A shadowed heavy pulse forges its presence at the core of entrancement, spreading its embrace further within the expansive heat of the chorus. As the vocals add their mutual quality and sultry blaze to the song, the heart of the track is a furnace of sweltering energy and electro passion. Simply it is electronic pop at its very irresistible best.

As the final humid note takes its leave and the foursome of Steve McAvoy, Andrew Wilson, Pete Lloyd, and Paul Irwin make their last potent persuasion, the only prevalent thought is that the album cannot come soon enough.



RingMaster 06/04/2013

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Isolated Atoms – Hold On

Photo by Dave Timmins.

    With the arrival of their Illuminate EP last year, UK rock band Isolated Atoms set themselves as a band to watch  closely and enjoy fully. Their flavoursome sound had the lure of an old friend, a seeming familiarity in league with a distinct uniqueness to make an easy and welcome union with ear and passions. The release of their new single Hold On shows that the Black Country quartet has expanded their sound further and with greater accomplishment. Previously the band felt like a post punk inspired promising treat now they have stepped forward as one potently emerging stadium rock encounters but still with a sound which distinctly belongs to them.

Hailing from the Industrial wastelands of Dudley in 2008, Isolated Atoms (the name inspired by the Joy Division song of the same name) drew strong attention with their debut single Tell Me What I Want of 2009. This led to close attention from the likes of Derek Forbes (Simple Minds) and Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order), as well as a growing awareness not only nationally but in the US with the band making successful appearances at various venues including the legendary Whiskey a Go-Go. The Illuminate EP and subsequent tracks continued to fuel their rich and compelling presence with the Gavin Monaghan (Editors, The Twang, Robert Plant) produced Hold On now stepping forward as their finest moment yet.

The single opens by instantly wrapping the ear in strong melodic guitar caresses and a throaty bass stroll, its tone a constant delicious feature of their songs. The gait of the track is a regular stroll with bursting flames of passion and intensity searing the ear in accelerated moments of energy and emotion. The vocals are equally dynamic and equally reserved but reaping every ounce of emotive fire and expression from the lyrical content of promoting hope, its voice aural anthemic inspiration. The melodic hook which veins the song reminds of Big Country whilst the breath of the offering has a Doves lilt, but the result is uniquely Isolated Atoms. Across its length the track lights the air with a guitar sculpted attraction which incites a full engagement  whilst the atmosphere of the track and its rhythmic gait has the mass and power to subdue any cavernous expectation or venue.

Though personally it is not their best song for favourite nomination, Hold On is undoubtedly an impressive and rich piece of powerful rock furthering the stance and presence of the band with skilled strength.



RingMaster 06/04/2013

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