Sharing Graphic Techniques

Why I chose Split as my destination

The first thing I was looking for in this hub exchange was to connect with fellow artists and art workers in a different country. I always feel curious about the stories and lifestyles of people who develop creative careers. So when Prostor co-founders Marina Batinić and Jasmina Šarić told me about their mission within the coworking, gallery and artists residency, it was clear that we had found a perfect match. We held two video calls as an introduction and preparation, in which we agreed that I could offer an open workshop as part of my visit. This idea acted as a huge motivation: to bring some of my own work and experience into a new environment was certainly a challenge and an exciting opportunity to share with the locals.

The travel

My adventure begins at Pontevedra train station. I’m set for a four-hour trip to Madrid, where I have to catch the first flight to Barcelona. I chose to start the journey on a train so I could be more relaxed, read and write, and watch the changing landscape. Also, because I didn’t want to take three flights in a row, for both environmental and health reasons. The overnight connection at Barcelona airport was long but I managed to sleep a little. At 6 am, and after a much needed coffee, I departed towards Croatia. Once the plane was approaching Split, the first sight of the sea and the islands was enough to bring me back to life. The city received me with beautiful summer weather, which would remain during the whole week.

Arriving at PROSTOR

I arrived on September 6th, around 10 am. I took a bus from the airport and walked following the instructions from Google Maps, using the exact location that Jasmina provided. Ivana Filip, another member of the Prostor community, was there to receive me and show me the facilities. She introduced me to other coworkers and gave me a key to the resident’s room. Prostor currently occupies the ground floor of a huge apartment building in a neighborhood called Spinut, just a fifteen-minute walk away from the historic center and other tourist attractions. There was an interesting infographic board in the kitchen about the story of the project for those apartment buildings, run by local architect and comic artist Frano Gotovac in the 1970s. The architecture has an industrial style and it is part of large-scale collective housing projects. Spinut’s streets have a calm and suburban vibe only interrupted by the rush of young students coming in and out of the many schools in the area.

Day to day life in the community

I stayed in the room reserved for artists in residence, right upstairs from the shared kitchen. In there I had a bed, a desk, a big sofa and a wardrobe to put the few clothes I could fit in the backpack. I like traveling light and it was more than enough for one week of warm weather. During the day, between 10 am and 8 pm, coworkers drop by, sit at their desks, share the workshop area or the kitchen and talk over a coffee or a tea. One of them brings his pet to work, a dog called Galileo, who has his own bed and toys in the coworking space. On my second day I met Maja Feher, another member of Prostor that made me feel welcome and comfortable. She even helped me by providing an important tool for the workshop: her grandmother lended us a pasta machine that we used as a printing press.

The workshop

On Saturday 9th we had the open workshop. My purpose was to share a graphic technique I’ve been working on for some time and can be adapted to diverse means and resources. We wanted to introduce the “ecological engraving” to a wide and heterogeneous group of students. It is considered ecological because instead of using acids to engrave metal and solvent-based inks, we use recycled tetrapak containers and water-based inks. Furthermore, we use the pasta machine to replace the traditional engraving press, as an adaptation to a reduced and diy format. The activity had a great reception among the participants. I was pleased to teach and exchange knowledge with people from different ages and backgrounds.

Visiting historical milestones

When I was not preparing for the workshop, I dedicated myself to walking the city, parks and beaches. The main points were covered on the first three days: the Cathedral; Diocletian’s Palace and the Temple of Jupiter. Roman legacy gives this city an Italian aura that reminded me of Siracusa, Sicily. On my last day I discovered the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović and his artwork fascinated me along with the wonderful gallery-garden that contains it. Maja recommended this ‘must’ visit and I am happy to have done it even at the last minute.

Nature and public spaces

Marjan Forest Park was certainly my preferred hike, and soon I found out that many locals feel the same way too. It is mostly visited by the people that live nearby because the trees offer shade and shelter from the sun and the heat, and the circuit along the seaside has the perfect surface for biking, skating and running. I also visited public beaches and enjoyed the sun and the warm waters of the Adriatic sea. Although the experience was limited because I didn’t have the special footwear needed for these rocky shores.