Curiosity and temptation were the motives that led to the discovery of coffee. First in the form of a bloody red seductive berry that made goats that chewed on them go bonkers. And later when their shepherd dried those berries and turned them into the dark stimulative elixir we know today.
Anja Sušanj combined all the protagonists of the story - the berry, goats and the shepherd - to form a whimsical piece that encompasses the feeling the goats might have experienced when first trying the berry as well as the overall cosmic effect coffee can have on us, becoming arguably the most important drink on the planet.
For this occasion we talked to Anja, who is an illustrator from Croatia, currently based in London, where she got her MA in illustration at the University of the Arts London. Being an avid reader of both fiction and non fiction, her interests mostly lie within editorial, book, and concept illustration. With a strong love of comic books and animated films, she likes to dabble with the whimsical, peculiar and odd, foraging for inspiration in nature’s shapes and away from the city, but also in old stories and legends.
Where do you live and work?
I currently live and work in London.
When in your life did you decide to follow your path as an artist?
This is quite a difficult one to answer as I’ve always been interested in drawing, as cliché as that sounds. I think there wasn’t a pivotal moment for me, to be honest, and it all happened naturally and gradually as I was growing up. My main hobby was drawing, and I used to spend weekends at my desk, and then when the time came to figure out where I wanted to go and what I wanted to be, this seemed like the most logical choice.
I went to Art School, both in Croatia and the UK and I have an MA in illustration. Still, I think I’m self thought in many aspects, as are many illustrators, and the constant learning is a very important part of the whole process, art school or no.How would you describe your style?
My style is quite an eclectic thing, but I mostly start out with pencil drawings and then work my way around that, either digitally or otherwise. I feel it’s also quite whimsical and a bit surreal composition-wise, as I like to combine seemingly incompatible/random elements and juxtapose them against each other.
What does your daily routine look like?
It really depends on the day; I often wake up and exercise after breakfast, after which I spend some time reading and relaxing. Oddly enough, I cannot start my workday before 10 or 11 AM unless outside circumstances demand it. I prefer to work in the afternoon and evenings. Naturally, deadlines break this routine quite easily so, again, it’s hard to say.
How do you create your art?
I usually start with quick associative brainstorming, either by writing things down or just visually, making little quick thumbnails as I go. This it the most important part of the process for me, as this is where I try out different concepts to see which one would work both in regards to the brief, but also aesthetically. After that I start working on the final piece and the process in regards to that depends on the medium I choose to use.
Where do you find inspiration?
I think I find it anywhere and everywhere. Inspiration is just another word for numerous daily experiences we take in and filter through. I think it’s important to be up to speed with what’s happening in the industry and to do a lot of drawings from life, as well as sketching and visually documenting your thoughts. I’m very interested in folk tales and stories from the Balkans and oftentimes draw my inspiration from old Slavic myths. Furthermore, I find plants visually intriguing so they are often incorporated into my drawings.
If you could live in any time in history, when would that be? Why?
I’m fine where I am, to be honest. It’s not a great time in many ways, but it’s also a period in which I can, as a woman, try to build a career in the Arts, more easily than ever before. There’s a lot of work to be done in that regard (or in general), but let’s think positive, yeah?
What was your first reaction when you were invited to contribute to the Coffee Art Calendar?
I was honestly quite happy as it seemed like a fun project to work on and the people from Goat Story appeared very professional from the get-go, from which I could tell the project would be a promising one. I wasn’t disappointed; it was truly lovely working with the Goat Story team!
Where did you get the idea for your artwork for the calendar?
My illustrations are usually quite concept heavy and the composition itself is often a by-product of what I believe is the best way to convey an idea that is still visually appealing and has impact, while not being only focused on the narrative part of the brief. In that sense, I focused on the main aspects of the story, the berry, the goat, the shepherd, and combined them together to form a whimsical piece that encompasses the feeling the goats might have experienced when first trying the berry as well as the overall cosmic effect coffee has had on us, becoming arguably the most important drink on the planet.
How would you describe your relationship with coffee?
I’m going to be truly honest with you here and disclose that I don’t, in fact, drink coffee (whoops!). Nevertheless, It was a very fun story to work on!
FOLLOW ANJA SUŠANJ
ABOUT THE COFFEE ART CALENDAR
The COFFEE ART CALENDAR 2018 is an ode to coffee that is told through graphic art. From January to December it unfolds the story of coffee from bean to cup, while sourcing inspiration from the mythology of coffee, its fair trade production, exploring its social aspects and the amazing effect that the aromatic drink has on us.
Each month is represented by a theme that is closely connected to coffee, starting with the berry and ending with evolution while the story is told by 12 aspiring graphic artists that each contributed a unique view on coffee. The variety of styles and interpretations created a visually rich selection of artwork that will perfectly blend on every background, be it in your kitchen, living room or coffee shop.
Each artwork was created exclusively for the calendar by the contributing artists. By purchasing the COFFEE ART CALENDAR 2018 you are supporting these 12 aspiring artists and sharing your passion for art and coffee.