In Conversation with Jovana Krneta: Art, Modeling, and the “White City”

For our third project, we collaborated with model and artist Jovana Krneta and photographer Emilija Stanišić. In this interview, Jovana discusses her inspirations, her admiration for David Hockney, and her fascination with drawing mermaids. Read on to learn about her creative spaces and her connection to the “White City” – Belgrade.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Belgrade. Before venturing into modeling, I studied fashion design at the Faculty of Applied Arts for two years, which significantly influenced my current work, as well as the experiences and connections I made there. After two years of studying, I felt it was time for a change, so I joined Jelena Ivanović’s agency in Belgrade. This opportunity allowed me to travel extensively, which I find incredibly fulfilling. In my free time, I enjoy rollerblading, practicing boxing, socializing, and sipping white wine.

2. How was it growing up in Belgrade? How would you describe the art scene there?

Growing up in Belgrade was lovely, and what I’ve come to realize through my travels is that the city offers a unique sense of freedom compared to other places. As for the art scene, it has experienced considerable growth, with many new spaces opening up, especially after the pandemic. A new community is emerging, and people are taking matters into their own hands, which I find very encouraging. Although I feel that Belgrade is still somewhat detached from the rest of the world, making it difficult for artists to break through due to a lack of connectivity, I’ve noticed this is changing with the rise of social media. Regardless, the scene is quite intriguing, and there are artists who have inspired me since high school, such as Maja Đorđević, Marina Marković, and Tadija Janičić.

3. Can you tell us about your journey from art to modeling?

During my travels, particularly on airplanes or at castings (in-between spaces), I began to always carry a notebook with me to write or sketch. Modeling, in a way, pushes me to transfer all my emotions and feelings onto paper, as so many things happen simultaneously and at a rapid pace, whether they are beautiful or challenging moments.

Sometimes, I am surrounded by a crowd of people, while at other times, I find myself alone. These extremes can take you out of the normal rhythm of life. My desire to document everything led me to carry a notebook and sketch extensively. In fact, what I’m doing today emerged from those initial notebooks – sketches that started as comic strips. Wanting to keep everything recorded, I started carrying a notebook with me and drew a lot, and in fact, what I’m doing today was created from those first notebooks,
sketches that were first comics.

4. What do you love the most about modeling and fashion?

Traveling is definitely my favorite aspect, even though it may not be directly related to fashion. Every city I’ve visited has become a home to me – from Milan, Paris, and New York to Tokyo. In each city, I have a favorite café and a place I love to spend time, which might be the most beautiful gift modeling has given me. As for the job itself, I find runway shows and stage expression particularly exciting. It’s as if I have an alter ego in modeling.

5. What inspires you?

What inspires me is the inner space within my mind, something between the present and the future. Everything I see, hear, and experience goes through a certain space and my personal perception. When painting, I always try to fully immerse myself in that feeling and not plan exactly what I will draw. Only once I start drawing do I see how I will experience it. Dreams and my inner world are significant sources of inspiration for me.

6. Your works contain many different characters and figures. Who are they? What do they represent?

These characters are people from various life situations that have remained significant to me. Sometimes, I start drawing, but during the process, I realize that I no longer see the initial person; instead, I begin to see someone else, and the character spontaneously changes. While painting, my thought process is most active, and I reach conclusions about people and situations. Through this process, I pose questions to myself and discover new insights as I answer them. Over time, I began to add mythical characteristics to these people, giving them wings like angels or portraying them as mermaids living at the bottom of the sea.

7. Can you share your favorite artist of all time?

David Hockney has always resonated with me and matches my sensibilities. I find his view of the world fascinating. I believe he is courageous and has been playfully experimenting throughout his life. He is ahead of his time, yet he exists within a timeframe that I can understand and relate to, which might be one of the reasons why I hold him in such high regard.

8. What is your favorite city?

This is the hardest question for me, haha. But I would say Paris. It is the most inspiring city for me, especially when it comes to long walks. I just step out and start walking. Even if I spend the entire day strolling along the river, I feel fulfilled, and something new always happens along the way. The city tells a unique story every time.

9. How did you feel while wearing the Iliya scarf? Do you normally wear silk scarves?

The scarf is very delicate, and I love its colors. I actually wear scarves quite often, especially on my head, so during the shoot, I naturally tied it around my head. The material is excellent, and I really like how it looks against my skin – it’s somewhat transparent. It was easy for me to connect with it as an object.

10. What are you working on now, and what are you excited to see in the future?

I am currently exploring the concept of transition and working on five new pieces that will connect to two existing works. Since I plan to spend the entire summer in Japan, I would like to find a gallery there where I can exhibit the final work.

To see more of Jovana’s work, visit her Instagram at @krneta_jovana or her website https://krnetajovana.com

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