Art and cycling? Of course! Meet young Croatian artist Marina Mesar, known as OKO, who is a great contributor of modern, urban and street art scene. Today she lives and works on London – Zagreb relations.
Her art can be found not only on the streets, but also in private collections and museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. Her work has been shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Zagreb gallery Lauba, as a part of the ex-flux art platform in New York and her mural work “Equilibrium” is part of permanent art collection of the seat of Central European bank in Frankfurt.
And guess what? She is a big cycling fan!
You graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb but You have a strong relationship with public spaces and street art. Where did that love come from?
I grew up with skateboarding culture from early age, so spending a lot of time outside on the streets with your friends and trying to find new spots was daily routine. We were never crew that sat in some bar, it was always outside, always some street curb… So some things just stay with you for life.
OKO means eye in Croatian! Does Your artistic name have a deeper meaning?
When I was thinking about what name I want to choose, it took me a while, but I mange to find perfect one. Eye symbolism that inner energy and knowledge from the universe and spirit you get when you are open and don’t observe world and humans around you on shallow judgmental way.
When you are ready to receive knowledge from above.
Because of Your work, You travel a lot. What are Your must-see destinations and why?
Its true, and I’m so grateful for it. It still surprise me sometimes how is this real life in a way, I draw and paint, and I was drawing and painting from age 6, but now its a job.
Loved Tokyo, New York, London, Rio De Janeiro, São Paulo, Paris… Basically every place is different from other, and people are different and same on some level. One of first thing I do when I arrive to some country is to go to super market, and just walk and observe random things, like spices, bread, candy’s, basically seeing the difference and prices.. Thinking that s the quickest way to get some kind of idea about place where you are.
Since we are a cycling tourism brand, we have to ask You about the bike! Do You cycle a lot?
I love my old Peugeot speed bike. Its so old and loyal 😀 Have that wizard for about 15 years now, and its really visible its mine. Its original metallic blue, and handles are fluorescent pink, and seat is textile with leopard spots on it. So a lot of times people don’t see me , but notice my bike, and know I’m near. I do love to speed like crazy, and just go its such a freedom. Those speed bikes are best kind if you ask me, or at least goes best with my character.
Do You stay in shape by cycling?
It does help for sure, but can’t wait weather to became warm again so I can go around the whole city and just cruise. Night cruises are the best, when city is empty and you just speed around.
Street Art Galleries are perfect to see by bike. We saw that in our Berlin Study because Eastside Gallery is one of Bikademy Exams. What do You recommend for tourists and travelers to visit by bike in London, Berlin and Zagreb?
Hmmmmm… City in general, and just fallow your gut feeling. Because all those 3 cities are quite flat its easy to go around. If you fallow your point of interest you will just discover new things on the way, and because you have bike, there is no place to worry.. You can go anywhere quick.
Usually when my fiends visit me from different countries, I gave them my bike and just let them go alone… To discover what they want. Its always funny to direct people from London , because we drive on other side of the road.. So to not get them killed 🙂
What are Your plans for this year?
There was Tokyo plans for a solo show there, but we postponed that one again, so its not sure will it be end of this year or beginning of next one.
Basically getting back in shape (mentally and physically), and paint for hours in my studio. Figure out some new ideas and projects, and work, work, work on them.
Travel, travel , travel.. And going back to sanding good old mails to my friends, and sanding little packages around, because we didn’t manage to visit each other because of all this situations, so staying in real physical contact my mail not emails its special in these times when we miss touch and seeing each others live.