View from the studio of Croatian Naïve artist Franjo Klopotan
The Croatian Naïve tradition started in the early 1930s when an Academy trained painter gave supplies to three uneducated but talented village boys and instructed them to 'paint what you see.' The tradition today includes sculptors, draughtsmen, painters on canvas, painters on wood, and painters in the reverse oil on glass technique. As you'd expect of a naïve tradition many artists have not studied art formally, but where they have they have consciously chosen to create work in a naïve style.
Whilst living in Zagreb in 2010 I had the opportunity to visit the home studio of a Croatian Naïve artist, Ivica Fišter, and it was through him that I was introduced to the Croatian tradition of reverse oil painting on glass. Intrigued by the process I started to learn Croatian and visited Ivica's studio again to learn the basics of the technique. From the very first session though - and one rather disasterous attempt at a pear - I was encouraged to find my own way of working in the medium.
Around this same time I met another two reverse glass painters, Katarina Krvarić and Željko Seleš. Their willingness to share their individual working practices with me further emphasised the fact that, while many artists might work in the same medium, no two artists ever work in the same way.
Other artists I had the privelge to meet before I left Croatia in 2012 include Ivan Večenaj (d.2013), Mladen Večenaj, Mato Toth, Ivan Štefanek, Milan Nadj, Franjo Klopotan, Vladimir Ivančan and Ivan Andrašić.
I will slowly be adding works by many of these artists to my Pinterest boards over the coming months so do look me up over there @MJHodgeArt or follow the Pinterest link at the bottom of this page.
For more about the Croatian Naïve tradition you may also visit the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art and the Association of Croatian Naïve Artists / Mirko Virius Gallery in Zagreb.
Ivica Fišter (right) with me (centre) and my husband (left), with my 'Night Owls,' 2010.
Katarina Krvarić (left) and I with one of her paintings at the Mirko Virius Gallery, 2011.
In conversation with Željko Seleš in his home studio in Zagreb, 2011.
Ivan Večenaj with my husband and I at the Gallery Ivan Večenaj in Gola, 2011.