I work as an associate professor at the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. Recently I also started the second career as Gestalt psychotherapist. But, first and foremost I like to think of myself as a painter.
Ever since my early childhood, I have enjoyed drawing. One day, in the fifth year of my primary school, my mother had bought me an Art encyclopedia which was divided into four parts. Every day I was scrolling the book, being surrounded by reproductions of great painters. Matisse, Miro, Nolde, Schiele, and especially Picasso were important influences on my early work. In their company, I felt good and fulfilled. When I soon after received a box of oils, I started to paint in oils. My first serious work was a reproduction of Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Apart from oils, I did gouache and collages. People around me approved my talent. But most of all my art teacher had great belief in me. It was the last year of primary school when she helped me organize the opening of my first exhibition in a city library. Back then I painted in a coloristic manner, creating my own mythology.
Although I have continued to paint in high school, focusing mostly on collages, unfortunately, I did not have the strength to reassure myself of my painting talent. I reconciled with the fact, which my parents told me, that being a painter nowadays is a hard and unrealistic wish. So after high school, I gave up studying painting and started to study forestry. I was still painting, though very rarely. At that time I was impoverished spiritually, being far from myself. It took me a long time to face my parents. And when it happened, I have quit forestry. In the meantime, I joined the anarchistic organization Z.A.P., became politically active, and afterward - scattered all over - I started juggling with firestick and joined the famous juggling club in Zagreb. I've met many interesting people whom I was able to connect with. In their company, among other things, I discovered philosophy. And very soon after, I enrolled in philosophy and eventually got a Ph.D.
Studying philosophy, I got familiar with Platonism and philosophical psychology in general. I was discovering philosophy with complete clarity, love, and devotion.
When I was 24 I didn't only feel a call from my heart to learn philosophy, but also to paint more (even though I already knew I would not become a great artist as I thought I would when I was a child). My artistic development was stimulated more after I met Jadranka Damjanov, our greatest art historian.
She has had a great influence on my perception of art. Thanks to her I discovered the importance of form. I didn't paint continuously but I painted with more insight. I have spent lots of time with her and managed to develop immense intellectual knowledge of art. That was the first time I have begun to combine geometric boxes with accidental stains. But I was not sufficiently dedicated to the art process. I was too busy studying philosophy.
The crucial thing happened when I discovered the art of Antoni Tapies and Cy Twombly in my postgraduate days. Inspired by their art I encouraged myself to paint more authentically. I have begun to enjoy texture more than geometric forms. (Nearly 20 years since then, the linear marks of brush movements on a colored background are still the language I use in the art to express myself!) Before anything else, the discovery of Tapies and Twombly was key in changing my worldview.
As it is known, Cy Twombly, as well as Antonio Tapies, has been referring to Buddhism. One of my favorite Twombly's work is Suma, with its red scribble on paper, surmounted with Buddhist formula Om Mani Padme Hum. Particularly that artwork increased my interest for Buddhism. Due to that and some other happy circumstances, in the year 2010, I visited great Buddhist country Bhutan where I met Rinpoche who introduced me to basic Buddhist teachings.
I gained experience how Buddhism is providing insightful perspectives on the nature of psychological well-being. Buddhist practice and meditation enabled me to experience in a concrete way everything I have already learned in philosophy. Over time I have also realized that meditation by itself is sometimes insufficient to resolve deep-rooted psychological problems and relationship difficulties. So I brought together philosophy and Buddhist practice with psychotherapy, particularly Gestalt psychotherapy. Psychotherapy awakened my frozen emotions and encouraged me to get along with my psychological wounds. For the first time in my life, I was able not just to know or practice, but also physically to feel life in an organismic way. Naturally, at the same time, I started to paint more freely.
Today I try to paint more continuously, less looking for knowable achievements, more enjoying the intermittent art processes. In my paintings, I find every aspect of my life, from anarchism and Western philosophy to Buddhism and psychotherapy.