Ivan Beslic is a self-taught Croatian artist based in Germany. His work is defined by decisive strokes and a close kinship with his subjects. The 31-year-old sketches his portraits on canvas with a clear-cut pencil. He then fleshes them out with a series of bold and colorful pencil strokes that appear to reveal and conceal his subjects in a type of hide-and-seek with an urban graffiti aesthetic.
The following is some additional background information, in the artist's own words, and his motivation for choosing the late great Muhammad Ali as his newest offering:
What was the last song you listened to?
I was at the OUT4FAME Festival last weekend, so I saw and heard a lot of dope rap shows, but recently I’ve been listening to Nas - Illmatic pretty often.
How old are you and where are you currently living?
I’m 31 years old and currently live in Germany.
Where in Germany did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town called Langenfeld, it's still my home base but I am able to operate on a worldwide scale.
What first got you interested in making art?
The story is a little bit “special." I've owned my own bar for the last 10 years. One day I came home from work and my Super Nintendo wasn’t working, so I got bored and started sketching a bit and it felt really good. That was really when I began making art, I was 23 then. Now I am a full time artist, that is my job.
Who was your first portrait?
My first portrait was actually of myself back in 2008. The first portraits I painted in my marker style we’re of J Dilla and Tupac.
How would you explain your style?
Wild and Unique!
What is your process like?
I paint all my artworks with markers only. It's a style I’ve created over the last few years on my own. It's really all about freestyle tagging and scribbling, using different types of markers and colours, I can use up to 60 different markers on one piece. When it’s finished, you see different marker strokes and color layers which makes a cool effect.
How do you choose your subject?
I mostly paint stuff that is on my mind. Which is usually Hip-Hop, Basketball, and Retro Gaming. If you visited one of my art shows you would basically know who I am and what I'm about. I’ve also been doing some commission based work as well.
What drove you to create the Ali piece?
It was 2 am in Germany, I was going to bed to catch some sleep when I saw on the internet that Muhammed Ali was in critical condition and it really hit me. I stood up immediately and knew that all I wanted to do in that moment was paint Ali. While I was painting I heard the news that he passed away at around 6 am. I was so shocked that I didn’t sleep that night and didnt stop painting until I was finished. He was so much more than just a boxer, he was a game changer, he is The Peoples Champ!
I’m really happy to drop this print with you guys at House of Roulx, and I’m proud that a portion of the proceeds will go to the official Muhammad Ali Foundation.
RIP MUHAMMAD ALI!
"Ali - The People's Champ" by Ivan Beslic will be released as a limited edition printed on Hahnemühle William Turner deckle edged matte fine art paper, 310 GSM at 13 x 19 inches. Each print is signed and numbered by Beslic in an edition of 74, a homage to Ali's age when he passed away on June, 3rd of this year. In addition, 5 hand-embellished, signed and numbered editions printed on Hahnemühle fine art baryta 325 GSM fiber paper will be available.