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Maruša Štibelj - Feeling of Freedom: Our Natural State

Discover all layers of her message and get surprised by simplicity of complexity of her artworks.

· Artists,Sketchbook Station

In neighboring Slovenia, an exceptional artist named Maruša Štibelj received the Sketchbook. In the following text meet the opus of inspirational Maruša who uses old memories to construct collages of new possibilities in the universal language of art.

Maruša Štibelj was born in 1986 in Kranj. She graduated Art Education at Faculty of Education at the University of Ljubljana, she exhibited at numerous collective and solo exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad, and won several awards for her work.

Maruša explains her choice of art as her primary vocation by remembering Slovenian cartoon Bojan. As a child, she loved to watch a cartoon about a raccoon named Bojan who always carried with him three buckets of colors. Whenever he encountered a problem or an obstacle, Bojan would paint a solution and it would become real. By doing so, coloring our world and enriching it with positive, useful and joyful things, Bojan changed reality for the better. It is this simple but effective principle that Maruša has applied in actual life, only replacing buckets of colors with collage. An indication that this principle really works is the fact that famous Pablo Picasso was guided by a similar motto, he said: “Everything you can imagine is real”.

During her studies, while exploring film industry and photography, Maruša discovered her passion for collage and illustration. She started to form layered compositions, inspired by long-forgotten and misplaced objects she found in closets, attics and other storing places.

Collage implies layering, gradual composition building and content elaboration, as well as keeping in mind how to actualize an ideal balance in realizing a motive. Maruša found an inspiration for making collage in works of authors outside artistic world. In Krzysztof Kieślowski’s movies, one of the most influential contemporary Polish directors and scriptwriters, she was fascinated by the use of colors to portray human feelings, in her final thesis she even dealt with the message of colors in film, focusing on the trilogy Three Colors: Blue, White and Red. Except in movies, Maruša found an inspiration in amazing sentence layering of a contemporary Japanese author Haruki Murakami whose works enable multiple readings and stimulate further reflections.

Apart from works of diverse authors, Maruša finds inspiration for her collages in old magazines and newspapers whose parts she uses to form new stories. In her artworks, she tackles many topics, but she mostly dwells in social and public sphere, trying to interpret invisible problems and transform them into visual material. Her work is a distinct reflection of society where we can infer how daily problems of an individual often provoke only a sincere laugh, because with plenty of healthy humor coming from a pure heart – we can overcome our problems and reason with our dominant ego who very often limits, stifles and burdens us.

Maruša describes her creative process as conversation with materials. During exploring and selecting materials from old magazines and photographs, ideas for new works often come, which is one of the main reasons she chose collage as her primary medium – it is a technique that surprises not just the audience, but the artist as well.

Maruša Štibelj uses two methods in forming collage: first is the classic method of cutting, forming and gluing elements she finds in old magazines and newspapers, while in the second method she uses layers of old napkins and colored paper to build a composition. The aim of a completed artwork is to provoke questions in the observer because questions encourage us to reflect on answers and possible solutions. The importance of self-reflection and thinking about the world is confirmed by the fact that without curiosity and exploration there is no progress.

In her artwork for Sketchbook Station, Maruša Štibelj has made a collage inspired by a photo from an old magazine depicting a woman running towards the sea. The feeling of freedom imbuing the photo was decisive in choosing that motive as a basis for new collage. Her artwork for Sketchbook Station is an interpretation of the notions of freedom, nature and our destiny written in the stars. Maruša adds a question to this interpretation – are we the creators of our destiny or is it someone else?

With this question in mind, we invite you to more thoroughly explore the art of Maruša Štibelj on the following pages:

And while we prepare a text about the next participant in Sketchbook Station Project, we invite you to meet our preceding featured artists:

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