Rockers in leather leggings, giant hermits, dogs with mohawks, disproportionate mutants... In the work of Serbian artist Davor Gromilović the absurdity and off-scale humor are the pillars around which the sci-fi universe is built. Developing the genre of narrative art, Gromilovich tells complex and multi-layered stories, using a different approach to the development of the characters and their surroundings. He fills the drawings with all sorts of references so that you can easily guess his favorite genres of music, preferences in art and other things that have had a great influence on the artist.

We talked about all this in our interview.
In your website bio, Booooooom mentioned that your artworks inspired by fairy tales and symbols from Yugoslavia. If it's right, can you tell more about it? What tales and things from Yugoslavian folklore influenced you?
It's hard to answer all that in one question, simply because I built it for more than one decade. Interests in sci-fi started when I was a kid, watching movies and also some illustration for scientific magazines, etc. Later when I did my studies as a painter and got my Masters in drawing, I realized that most artists here in the ex-Yugoslavian region don't like narrative kind of painting art. Also, people mostly don't understand sci-fi influence in the painting art direction, like it's the opposite of good taste. I like that, because it would be boring to have all artist think the same way. In my personal research of my childhood drawings, I found a lot of colored pencil drawings and something that we can call fairy-tale-like creations, sci-fi elements etc. Also, I started to use some elements of local folklore art motives, some fresco paintings from old monasteries and folklore beliefs and stories. I didn't illustrate stories or try to make something like that. I just used some elements where I saw a connection with my previous artworks and tried to build my visual language as an artist. My visual language is really illustrative and you can find easily influences of animated movies or comics, but in the end I grew up playing video games, watching animated series and cartoons in the late 80's and 90's and all that has influenced me. In the end, the narrative kind of art you can find in old Egypt, even long before that, in cave paintings, has a specific narrative within those images, etc. So, it's not something new as a form of art. Fairy tales can be found in many different cultures and also here where I'm from, and it's great if we, as artists, can use what surrounds us. We can go deeper in this story, it's a complex and long kind of answer. Hope this will be enough to get a short insight into my long research in the art direction.
What your passion for sci-fi comes from? How did you start to be interested in it?

What movies, books and so on mostly influenced you? Maybe some B-movie or local Yugoslavian sci-fi movies?
As I have mentioned, it appeared during the childhood, and on other side after I got a MA in drawing, I realized that mostly artist don't like sci-fi. I really like a lot the late 70's and 80's airbrush art from Japan with a lot of sci-fi motives, and also tons of classic movies, even some comics, in the end music as well. It's not that strange to be a fan of all that. There're some great movies as an answer to that, also some brilliant novels, etc. Also all that can be seen as rebellious art references, because a lot of today's artists don't recognize that as a part of visual art. But that is no reason not to try to make such art. In the end, I notice that people like it. It gives me a lot of different possibilities to play inside my narrative artworks and to be unpredictable for myself. To experiment with how to communicate between artwork and how someone creates a narrative. I see that as part of communication and an opportunity to keep my art more open.
There's not a lot of sci-fi movies from Yugoslavia, but maybe someone will like Gosti iz Galaksije from 1981.
You told that you took some characters from your drawings from the elementary school. Could you tell us about your childhood drawings? How people reacted on it? Can you tell any memorable / funny case about it?
I was lucky enough to successfully save my childhood drawings in one big box, and I have a few hundreds of them in a perfect condition, like the day when they were drawn. It helps me a lot today, because I use that root for my inspiration. Without that, I can't even imagine what kind of art would that be, but it would definitely different. It brings a lot of memories and makes me remember a lot of moments of what was happening around me when I was working on them. I don't show that on my art exhibitions, but sometimes I show it in my studio when people visit me to see artworks and have a good time. But as I mentioned, I like to keep it mostly for myself. I just want to add that all people who have seen those drawings instantly saw the connection between them and my current artworks.
You often mentioned and draw some rock music things. From Frank Zappa to some metal vibes. Are you fan of metal / punk / hard rock? What things you get from this culture?
Yeah, I like a lot of underground music, not just dark, ebm, metal or crust, punk sound, but I also have a really big record collection of synth pop, and one part of my collection are LPs of classic music such as Shostakovich for example, I also like some jazz/funk records form the 70's Yugoslavia, and I am a huge fan of the 80's Yugo new wave, synth pop, electronic and Dark/Goth sound. But on the other side, you can find some vaporwave or hip hop records in my collection and many other kinds of music. But yeah, I grew up on let's say underground music. Depending on how I feel and what kind of mood I am in, that's my playlist for that day.

As a teenager I was active on the diy underground scene and I've made a lot of fanzines during that period, and that has also helped me later to use that diy way of thinking in my art. So, I keep working on art 'zines now, making art prints by myself in the studio and many other things.
Do you have any rituals or something unusual and special related to your creative process?
Mostly during the work, I like to make small breaks to make some sketches for the future artworks, and I play LP's on the turntable in my art studio each day while I work. It's really important to me to have music. Sometimes I listen to some podcast and listen to them while working on colored pencil drawings or painting and other times I play some animated series or movies in the break to enjoy nostalgia. I also like to have some encyclopaedic books and art books around me, to quickly check something or to read. It also helps me create artworks. I have a small toy collection from my childhood days and also something that I love but rarely got time to play now is Super Nintendo (SNES) and Sega, with some of my favourite games. That is all part of the process of getting ideas and how I create. Of course, that's not all, there's some other things inside my art kitchen, heh. But I will keep that a secret hehe...
You selected few comussions works. What things are important to you while doing comission works? What type of comissions you'll never do?
I am always open to new commission works, and it's great to work on new kinds of projects and learn something new. Most important is that we understand each other on both ends. Simply, if you are calling me — you need to know what kind of artist I am. In the end, I did so many posters, t-shirts designs, even some animations, murals, illustrations, front covers for albums and magazines, also covers for novels, etc. My big wish is to make a short animated movie. That would be great! But I also like all other kinds of projects and I always try to give my best.
There're some really good projects, for example a few months ago I did for Adult Swim for the Primal show, which I like a lot and think that show's brilliant and working on that project was a really good experience for me. We used that artwork for the promotion of a new season and each fan could download it and use as a wallpaper for cell phone.
Moreover, last year I did one album cover for an LA band called The Great Sadness. From the first hearing I liked their music a lot. They're a great duo with a lot of energy and great atmosphere in music. That project was really great from the beginning to the end, and if you like dark music with blues influences I highly recommend The Great Sadness.
There's also tons of other good project, but it's not possible to mention all the people who called me, and these are just two examples.
What things and projects you focused on now?
Currently I am working on two solo shows which are planned for 2021. One will be during summer in Nucleus Portland Gallery in the US, other is planned for Brusselles in late fall, early winter in Serput E2 Gallery. Of course, unless something happens and we need to postpone or cancel our plans. Last year, during 2020 I had one solo show and a few group shows cancelled. It's not that easy to do all projects properly when galleries need to be closed because of the current circumstances, mostly because of Coronavirus. But on the other side, I keep working on my shows as if they'll will happen, and keep working on my individual plans. I have some plans to show my sculptures for the first time. Plus, I am working on a few art 'zines at the moment, and I hope to finish it during the year, but the process of making a series of art sometimes requires more time. And quality is always more important than quantity to me.

Instagram: @davorgromilovic

Grade Moscow
14 Feb, 2021