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Music is often a reflection of the values and emotional make-up of a culture, but how does it directly influence other artistic pursuits? Music has long been an inspiration for visual artists working in a number of mediums — the sound of a serene classical piece, a searing jazz trumpet improv, or the roar of a thundering rock band all evoke different colours and forms, but the role that music plays in shaping our values and memories can also provide valuable artistic fodder. Aleksandar Mladenovic Leka and Robert Truszkowki are from different places, have different cultural perspectives, and are influenced by the effects of different genres of music, but each create work that echoes their respective inspiration in complex and thought-provoking ways.
Serbian artist Alexkandar Mladenovic Leka describes his process as “avant-garde jazz classical Visual Art,” a reference not to the great experimental jazz musicians, but to British post-punk cult hero Vini Reilly of the band Durutti Column. Leka uses the term to describe his own spirit of experimentalism, which he combines with the traditional artistic methods and values that also inform his work. Combining classic and digital techniques, figural depictions meshed with abstract symbolism, and mixed media in his prints, Leka’s work combines historical themes with modern sensibilities to create work that is both contemplative and cheeky.
Regina’s Robert Truszkowski also skillfully brings together seemingly contradictory pop culture references, but his work differs from Leka’s in both the source inspiration and the feel of the finished prints. While Leka does use some text in his work, lettermarks take centre stage with Truszkowski’s striking prints. Fascinated with the way in which printing has shaped human culture and communication, Truszkowski takes the responsibility of his role as a communicator very seriously and is cognizant that his medium of choice is about something much more powerful than merely putting together words and pictures.
Music, like visual art, is both a reflection of our humanity and a force that influences how we live. The way that these two artists use music culture in their printmaking offers two differing, but complementary, takes on how ingrained both music and visual art are in the way we navigate through our shared experiences.