“The Eye” on Street Art and Beyond
Young Croatian visual artist simply known as OKO (Eye) is walking the path which has taken
her from the street-art scene of Zagreb to exhibiting her work in no less illustrious a place than
the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, her current city of residence… came the time to see to
feature one of the young (top) guns of the regional artistic scene.
In the manner common to the world of street art, OKO has decided to keep her birth name and face
a secret and rather let her instantly recognisable work doing the talking for her.
What we do know, however, is that OKO was born in Zagreb in 1981 and received both her BA in Art History
and MA in Animation and the New Media from the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts. In 2005 she began performing
and exhibiting artistic installations on the street f her home-town, using various graphic techniques such as lino-cut, etching and drawing in ink
, acrylic, pencil, marker pen, etc. Her artistic expression has evolved within the confines of the urban street culture, and s such has resonated deeply both
with the members of the urban art scene and average passers-by ; we too are captivated by her public installations, which indeed do transcend the limits of what is usually perceived as street art.
From decorating skate parks with her works and designing the first Croatian series of custom skate-boards, OKO went on do design for Adidas, Nike, Puma, Diners, Erste Bank, 3LHD architectural studio, Eskimo-Freeride and many more. She was nominated for the ARTAQ European urban arts award in 2011 and won the Croatian Art Society’s youth award in 2013. Oko’s work has also been displayed at many music and art festivals, such as the “Asalto Festival” in Zaragoza, “recover the Streets” in Toulouse, “Laser Summit” in Belgrade, “Lille 3000”, just to mention a few. Going beyond street art, her works have been exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, the Mograg Gallery in Tokyo, and most recently, in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum as part of the exhibition of Hackney Wick artist in February of this year. One of her current engagements is the Balkan Bride’s Project,a conceptual exhibition in London’s Hoxton Gallery, done in collaboration with conceptual artist Martina Miholic and photographer Petra Mrsa.
What is in a way the hallmark of Oko’s work is series of drawing in which she combines human bodies and animal heads. As the artist herself states, the idea is to tell the story of human character ad instantly recognisable by the behavioural traits of certain animals. Ranging from drawings on paper to huge works on buildings and life- size cut- outs often superimposed against an abstract background, the monochromatic human animals reveal Oko’s mastery of classical drawing techniques, all of which is then often contrasted with completely abstract motifs, displaying the artist’s range and stressing the nuances of artistic creation and, through it, the various nuances of reality itself.
Experiencing her art first hand leaves one both astounded by the combination of constructing techniques and instantly moved by the intangible message of her surreal anthropomorphic creatures.
In the spirit, we invite you to enjoy the following pages and see reality through her eye…