Guest Artists

... Archive ... Vojin Velickovic has a special place in the Guest Artists Gallery. I have a great pleasure to present my step-grandfather, the artist who had a great influence on the development of art in my hometown Jagodina and, in a sense even in Serbia, continuing the finest tradition of Serbian artists of the XIX and early XX century.

 ... Vojin Velickovic - Vojkan ... 1914-2001

 ... Typical day...

Vojin Velickovic - Vojkan was born in 1914. in Belgrade. He studied Fine Arts in class of Beta Vukanovic and Ljubomir Ivanovic, and academic art class with Ivan Radovic. He was an art pedagogue, teacher, in Jagodina from 1941 until 1975. He lived in Jagodina until he passed away in 2001, in his favorite time for painting - late summer. He lived a highly productive life and produced over 1000 paintings and drawings. Even only a year or so before he died, in his late eighties, people in Jagodina could see him riding his bike with his canvases and brushes. Every ride was a lesson about art to the small town he embraced as his own.
His activity was unassuming, yet powerful. His style was always respected while at the same time it was often a topic of great arguments and even looked down on paradoxically by those who he created as artists! Even having to constantly fight his ways against contemporary styles, philosophies, so called "progressive forces in modern art" he persistently and patiently adhered to his believes, the same way  he adhered to the town vignettes, streets where he was often seen submersed in the act of painting...
From 1965. he was a member of ULUS (Highest Artistic Association in Serbia). His first group exhibition was in 1937. in the most highly respected "Cvijeta Zuzoric Pavilion". Since then, he had numerous group and solo exhibitions all over Serbia.
His work is in many private and public collections in Serbia and abroad: Paris, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Moskva, Venice, Chicago, Cider Lake, Sherman, Philadelphia.
He commenced numerous graduate studies: Greece, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy, France, and was awarded many artistic awards in Serbia and his home town - Jagodina.
As per words of Dr. Miodrag Jovanovic :" Without a statement about tradition and past, we couldn't understand the art of Vojin Velickovic. His romantic love for painting old Jagodina was a part of a particular philosophy and defined life motto of our artist. Facing the old houses, in narrow streets disappearing almost before his easel, Velickovic is not colouring his canvases with pessimism and sorrow for what unavoidably evaporates. In fact, off the paintings we see brightness and optimism, quiet happiness before blooming gardens of low houses, warped fences and weathered walls.
He continues:" Velickovic's paintings are not protest placates against technocratic cockiness (of new architecture - art vrbaski  note), but, perhaps even only subconsciously, they caution us of our imprudent  urban and architectural surgery on vitality of the past."
In Vojin's paintings there is lyricism and poeticism. He is deeply humanitarian in his approach, in his love and understanding of everyday motifs. Yet, when we take a closer look of the details on his paintings, we see the depths of his poetry, the quiet but deepest love for life made of small, often overlooked elements.
This small gallery is a tribute to his art and life.

 ... Sarena Kafana (Colorful Pub) ...
Original in oil on canvas
 © Art Vrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic, 1952

"Colorful" in the title here could be understood metaphorically, although the pub really existed. The message in Vojin's paintings was way bigger than just archiving the town's past. It's noticeable in his refined and optimistic colours, joyful brush strokes, tipsy-slanted lines of the pub and surrounding buildings as if they dance in joy... It's universal.

... Levacka Carsija (Levach District)...
Original in oil on canvas
© Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic, 1952

A cheerful sunny day in a street where roofs dance and colours sing. Many of those warped houses survived centuries, from Ottoman Empire. I remember this street being paved in 4"x4"x4" stone pavers, and the sound of car tires was like a bridge to a different world. The "progress" brought a black asphalt cover, and the character of centuries was buried. We don't like to be reminded of the past, we have to be detached from our soul, we have to look ahead until we forget our own face...

... Kafana Dzambas (Dzambas Pub) ...
Original in oil on canvas
© Artvrbaski., for Vojin Velickovic, 1959

Vojin had such a refined sense of colours. Very optimistic, as sunny days he was painting.

... Branka's Yard ...
Original in oil on canvas,
    © Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic, 1974

Vojin never judged the new developments that were inevitably pushing the old out of the town's life. It was there as a fact, and he was only trying to enjoy what was still there from the past for as long as possible. And he did it masterfully.

    ... House Named Turkish Harem ...
Original in oil on canvas,
    © Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic, 1974

Looking at these beautiful paintings, I can't but notice how much the town has changed since. Our memory is too short for all the subtle changes we experience, tricked by the pretty new developments. Only when we see it like this we realize that it still lives in us, and it always will. And - we still need it...

... Cardak (Porch)...
Original in oil on canvas,
  © Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic, around 1979

The house of much controversy, of a great heritage value, abandoned for years, waiting for a decision to be made about it's destiny. Houses can tell us so much about local politics and people.

     ... Kasina Pub ... Original in mixed media on canvas
© Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic

One of the rare sites that remains quite similar to what is shown on the painting. It might be interesting to note the way Vojin treats his figures: a bit comical, sketchy, undefined, universal.

... Little Market Block ... Original in oil on canvas,
© Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic

Vojin's reds and blues are so very refined and soft, but at the same time bright and strong.

.. Porch ... Original in oil on canvas,
© Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic

On my last trip to Jagodina, I was thrilled to see that this house was reconstructed respecting all the features of the original. To see it like that was like breathing in these poetic colours...

.. Square ...
Original in oil on canvas,
© Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic

A view of the main square in Jagodina. Surprisingly, it hasn't changed much.


... Two Tiny Corner Stores ...
Original in oil on canvas,
© Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic

Masterful clouds, yellows and reds and pinks, the shadows are full of light as well.

... Blue Passage ...
Original in oil on canvas,
©, for Vojin Velickovic

This was one of the best passages in my childhood explorations of the town. I like the way Vojin breaks the symmetry with the tree on the left, and the ocher wall on the right.

... Girl Portrait ...
Original in mixed media on canvas,© Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovi

Vojin Velickovic was known not only for his town vignettes, but for portraits as well.

    ...  Ulica Brace Dirak ( Dirak Brothers Street) ...
Original in watercolor
© Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic 1977

Vojin was often working on quick sketches in watercolor as a preparation for his oils.

... Vuk Karadzic Street ...
Original in watercolour
©Artvrbaski for V. Velickovic, 1978

The site proposed scheme close up more clearly shows the main areas of the site. The redevelopment of the existing stadium complex with a new commercial connector, the new parking area with a pedestrian overpass leading to the circular plaza as a center of the new block of recreational buildings and further over the river to the small commercial strip mall and one of the exits.

... Jevrem Markovic Street ...
Original in watercolor,
© Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic 1979

Although the street presented here is not of the oldest Vojin painted, the way he used colours and tones makes this motif appear much older.

... Bridge Over Belica ...
Original in watercolor,©, for Vojin Velickovic 1984

This is one of the rare Vojin's paintings that looks a bit gray and foggy...

... Abandoned House ...
Original in watercolor,
© Artvrbaski, for Vojin Velickovic 1980
Aside for the artistic value of this painting, many personal memories are attached to this house where I lived for several years as a teenager. The house itself was of a very high heritage value. Like so many others, it was destroyed by arrogance and ignorance of primitivism and greed.

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