SKIP - Sketching in Practice Simon Fraser University

Conversation with Vjeko Sager

1.    Why is your practice of Nomadic sketching important to you?

The most important aspect of my existence is to live creatively. Everyone knows it is not easy to be inventive every single (conscious) moment of the day, however with a dose of passion and a great deal of practice, it is possible to live creatively. My passion for the arts gave me a permanent thirst for learning and I’ve been immersed in studying and producing art for the past forty years. Today I feel even more impassioned then at the beginning, as I remain curious and open to change, to experiment and fail. Drawing brings the world to me, reminding me of the importance to be humble and open to learning.

2.    What do you think the impact of this practice has been on you as an artist, educator, and researcher?

The classroom is an extension of my practice and a polygon to test innovative methods and concepts. My ambition is not only to deliver the curriculum, but to generate a passion for lifelong learning. In order to stimulate students to adopt a creative lifestyle, I am obliged to provide a genuine example. In my case, both artistic and educational practices are intertwined through sketching. I have learned that failing is the most valuable component of every action. To draw means to be ready to fail, and I try to motivate my students to take risks and expand their perception, to explore ideas and materials and employ error to reveal unforeseen creative possibilities.

3.    Why do you think others should engage with it?

In a world that is driven by materialism, success and competition, most people are afraid of failing. That is the reason they stay away from creativity and usually adopt a securer lifestyle, which turns them into submissive users. I believe imagination is the ultimate gift, with the capacity to fulfill all our goals. It is not the privilege of the artist to be creative. To be creative means to find new ways to think and make things, from cooking dinner to carving a sculpture. Every single human being has a talent, often suppressed or neglected. To discover and nurture our personal talent is the ultimate purpose of living.

4.    What is unique about the sketching out in the world, as opposed to sketching at home or in a studio?

Despite the fact that I have a studio, I practice creative nomadism on daily basis. In fact, I combine both mobile and stationary creativity. I walk through the city with a camera in search for inspiration and rest in coffee shops to unpack my tools and draw. The most important aspect of sketching anywhere & everywhere is to stimulate the senses and expand the palette of perceptions. New places energize and channel creative energy that transforms the way we think. Most things are discovered by “chance”, which is nothing but an apparently insignificant impulse in the environment.

5.    In your drawing-based research, you say "drawing’s ability to connect disciplines not because of its simplicity, but because of its capacity to interact with every medium, to illustrate and express, mimic and process idea beyond apparent (logical) meaning…" It sounds like your research suggests the power of drawing lies in its universality. The theme of the conference is the impact of drawing on the world. What kinds of impacts do you think this universality leads to in terms of actions?

Divisions are the source of all troubles in the world. To make things worse, there is no solution to our problems, since nobody is responsible for any problem. Divisions generate fear and fear is the greatest tyrant over our lives, producing further disconnections. This vicious circle manages every segment of society, making everyone self-centered and isolated.

Our last solution is the integration of knowledge and resources. Culture plays an important role in every society and art has the power to join people from all segments of life. Due to technology and globalisation, languages are slowly but surely eroding into pictograms and symbols. As drawing stands at the core of every art, it can turn ideas into actions. In this sense, universality comes alive via drawing and what else can better declare our presence on this planet, but a simple line which proves that we exist. 

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