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5 Minutes with Oliver Pavic

Oliver Pavic is a painter based in France who has exhibited internationally. He previously worked as an architect, closely studying shapes and compositions and their interactions in various environments. But architectural materials, shadows, and perspectives soon started to merge with artistic colors, canvases, and storylines, leading Pavic to become an oil painter. Today, he combines elements of classical portraiture with fine architectural lines to achieve expressive, eye-catching portraits full of dynamism and impact. We sat down with Oliver Pavic to talk about his current projects, inspiration, and the start of his artistic career.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I was always creative. Even as a little five-year-old, I preferred being alone in my room, building little miniature cities out of paper and whatever I could find around the house.

When choosing a university, a Fine Art school seemed like it was for the elite and very difficult to get into, so I opted for the closest creative alternative, architecture. I chose the most non-technical school for architecture, and later when I started to practice, I leaned towards interior design and conservation projects. Those projects were far more artistic and creative than structural. But the artistic “eureka” moment came in 2009 when I visited the Gerhard Richter portrait exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. It opened my eyes to the fact that architecture would never allow me to be as creative as being an artist.

Disbelief (Frida Kahlo) (2019),
Oliver Pavic

Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists who you are most inspired by?

The first artist I truly noticed and paid attention to in detail was Van Gogh. I saw the beauty in the work of many other famous artists but wasn’t interested in going deeper. With Van Gogh I wanted to be inside the painting and his mind. Then came Richter and Bacon and exhibitions like ‘Sensation’ at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 1997. Then the opening of Tate Modern in 2000 gave me a whole new perspective on the world of painting, something I was determined to pursue one day. Living in London allowed me to appreciate fashion and cinema, both of which are big influences on my art. Moving to France in 2015 inspired me to bring classical elements of portraiture and architecture into my practice. The latest event that influenced my work was, of course, Coronavirus and issues of equality and conformity.

Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?

So far, I have worked alone but who knows for the future. My creativity is very particular and requires order and peace, something usually unheard of in the art world.

LB2 (2018), Oliver Pavic

Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?

Currently, I am working on a series of six large portraits of icons for a gallery in Mauritius. The project came at the perfect time for me in relation to the world pandemic, giving me focus amidst a hectic period.

What do you think you would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

If I wasn’t an artist I would still be doing something creative. I love to travel and explore so perhaps something in journalism or photography. Definitely not a banker or anything in politics!

Have you found any other artists on Singulart whose work you admire?

To be honest I haven’t but I have recently come across an amazing artist on Instagram who works under the alias “P. Archie Zan”. It’s a play on the word partisan and his work reminds me of Bacon and Ghenie but with his own spin. Definitely, one to watch!

OPiAM (2017), Oliver Pavic

What advice could you give to young artists starting out?

Persist, persist, and persist. Grow a very thick skin because the art world will gobble you up, chew you, and spit you out many times before it decides to actually notice you. Stay true to yourself and be original. I know that in this day and age nothing is “original” but you can at least die trying!

Click here to view Oliver’s Singulart profile!