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Ivan Beslic is a self-taught Croatian artist based in Leverkusen, Germany. His work is defined by decisive strokes and a close kinship with his subjects. Beslic explores his surroundings to gather everyday observations that inform his art, which focuses on 90s hip-hop culture. He relies on the beats and rhythms of the musical genre to inspire his workflow and spark creativity. The 30-year-old sketches his portraits on canvas with a clear-cut pencil. He then fleshes them out with a series of bold and colourful pencil strokes that appear to reveal and conceal his subjects in a type of hide-and-seek with an urban graffiti aesthetic. The end product is reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh’s scratchy technique and Jackson Pollock’s emotional outpouring.Beslic explores the limits of colour to capture mood. His close-up portraits of 21st century men – including musicians Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, Guru, Ryan Leslie and Eminem, as well as NBA players – are not unlike Andy Warhol’s own series of the most influential personalities of his time. Beslic’s introspective coverage of hip-hop culture has led him to develop close relationships with the artists he depicts, who are also the proud owners of the portraits they inspired. Artistically active since 2007, Beslic has been exhibiting throughout Germany – from the Kunsthaus in Langenfeld to the Galerie Boskamp in Cologne to the Joseph Beuys Gallery in Dusseldorf. In 2015, he signed a deal with Dusseldorf sneaker store AFEW and Adidas – marking the culmination of his close relationship with hip-hop culture: the Adidas sneaker.
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