” I try to achieve a balance of harmony between tonal values, design, colour and mood that will visually evoke the emotions between the viewer and the painting. Watercolour, with its subtle and gentle effects is a perfect medium to achieve this.”
Joseph Zbukvic is a contemporary realist watercolor painter. Primarily depicting representational landscapes in muted tones, he focuses heavily on historic sites and atmospheric depth.
Born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1952, Zbukvic was discouraged by his parents from pursuing his interest in art, especially painting, and so he spent a brief period studying language at a pedagogical university.
Political instability eventually forced Zbukvic and his family to flee to Australia, where he continued to pursue his artistic interests and career. He has received numerous awards for his paintings, and notably had a solo exhibition at East Gate Gallery in 1977.
He lives and works in Melbourne, Australia
Getting to know the artist, Joseph Zbukvic
Joseph Zbukvic was born in 1952 in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. His early education was extremely versatile and consisted of the visual and performing arts. However, in spite of his obvious talent for painting, he enrolled into a pedagogical university to study literature and language in 1967.
In 1970, Zbukvic’s studies were interrupted by political unrest in Yugoslavia, thus he decided to immigrate to Australia. There he saw an opportunity to start over and return to art. The artist resumed his formal education at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. Zbukvic majored in Industrial Design and graduated with a diploma in art in 1974. During his time in school he began painting again and achieved instant success at art competitions. The artist won his first major award, the Corio Council Art Award in 1975.
In Australia, Zbukvic was able to pursue his visionary interests and build a highly successful career in art. In 1978, he transitioned to painting full-time and rapidly established himself as one of the leading artists in Australia. Thus far he has had over 40 solo exhibitions in Adelaide, London, San Antonio – Texas, Brisbane, and Sydney.
Zbukvic has become a leading master of the watercolor medium as a result of his ability to transform any subject into an astounding form of visual language. The way the artist captures a diverse collection of subject matter through expressive and thoughtful brushwork has captivated people and galleries all over the world.
In an effort to get to know Mr. Zbukvic a little bit better, we asked him a series of eight different questions. Below are our questions and the artists answers!
Q. Which artists are you inspired by?
A. I have never really had a guru. My painting philosophy is very simple: I just paint.. I keep my mind as clear as I can with no influence of any kind.
Q. I know you had a strong passion for art growing up, was there a specific artwork(s)/artist(s) that you saw as a child or maybe older that really encouraged your decision to become an artist? If so, which artwork(s)/artist(s)?
A. I grew up on a small farm with no art influence whatsoever. There was just one painting in the living room. I remember it clearly. It was an oil in muted brown tones of a Dutch windmill by the canal. I looked at it but not really understanding what it was. Eventually I received a formal but very general art history education at high school. I was singled out for my drawing talent in art classes which sent me on that journey.
However I always say that art chooses you and not the other way around. A true artist is chosen by his calling…
Q. Who is your greatest role model?
A. My grandmother is still with me spiritually. She took me under her wing and was the first to recognize my talent and acknowledge me as a person. She is still my moral guardian even though she passed away many years ago. I would not be who I am without her guidance.
Q. What’s your favorite museum?
A. I actually avoid all exposure to art, believe it or not.. I find that it clods your thinking and polluted your vision. Remember; I just paint. I have visited museums in the past and decided to stop – hence my style is totally self induced and original for that reason.
Q. If you could host a dinner party and invite all of your heroes (alive or passed), who would you invite?
A. It would be a dinner for one, ha ha
(see above) I guess I’d love to meet some of the famous artists at the turn of the 19th-20th century, it was a great era for art. Maybe Leonardo da Vinci? He truly was amazing and original.
Q. How many hours a week do you spend painting?
A. I wake up thinking painting and go to sleep doing the same.. people think painting occurs only when brush in hand. True beginnings are in our dreams… The physical painting process is simply a result of that dream.
Q. Do you listen to music as you paint? If so, what songs make up your playlist?
A. Yes always – very eclectic. From Elvis to Pavarotti, from gypsy ballads to Hank Williams etc. Folk, classic, jazz, soul, country… you name it.
Q. Besides art, what are your other interests, hobbies, etc?
A. I always find this a strange question as art is omnipresent. However, I own a 1956 classic sports car, Triumph TR3 (see below). I sometimes take it for endless drives through our wonderful countryside.
Zbukvic currently lives and works in Melbourne, Australia