Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Color of Black Friday @ Venture Compound

Jovan Bato Ijasic, locally known as 'Bato' is well-known in the St. Pete arts community but had remained below the radar until now. Brad Kokay of the Venture Compound gallery has taken the initiative and given Bato his first and first exhibit, a one-man show.

On the left is a new, unfinished at the time this photo was taken, mural from a drawing by Bato painted by Christian Thomas.

Work by Bato
Work by Bato
In this show, along one wall there are hundreds (300?) of drawings on Post-It notes, overlapping like fish scales, forming a quasi-installation on their own. This daring aspect of the show required close examination to be appreciated. Purchases were on the honor system, with funds going into a jar whose contents went to a charity. Looking through these miniature drawings was a treat. No two were alike.

The donation jar.

 Bato told me he was heavily influenced by comic books. The emphasis on graphics and expressionism is strong. One of the strengths of the work is its conceptual fluency, exquisitely modulated through precise lines.

On the left is Jovan Bato Ijasic next to one of his graphic paintings.

Work by Bato
Work by Bato

 Bato told me how his mother would throw down a few lines on a piece of paper and give him a concept. He was to draw something embodying the idea and incorporate those lines in the design. Other artists had told me of Bato's drawing abilities from Wednesday nights at the Sake Bomb, and their praise proved to be true. On either side of this text are both sides of a mixed media work about 18 x18 inches.

Work by Bato

 Part of another wall was composed of drawings of birthday cards. Bato's day job is driving a school bus, which means a lot of birthdays to celebrate. There were some paintings, and a great calendar (a steal at $10).

On the left is a page from the calendar for March, which is definitely coming in like a Lion. 

  What the Venture Compound has done for music in the area, it is now doing for visual art. Calculated risk-taking, bringing unsung talent to the fore, encouraging and empowering the arts from the ground up.

Work by Bato

On opening night there was music. Here are a few pictures from the first band to play, Old Fashioned Medicine...


Congratulations to Bato, Brad Kokay, Jesse Vance and the VC Crew and musicians for a great opening and evening.

--- Luis

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