Photo: Ivan Kocić

Ivan Kocić graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade, and for years he has been exploring the nuances of his artistic expression in numerous painting techniques and styles. However, today he is best known for his assemblages in which he illustrates female portraits using colorful plastic toys.

“I got the idea seven years ago while working on a larger classic mosaic. I thought it would be interesting to play with a mosaic using different materials instead of the usual stone, glass paste or ceramic. So, the choice fell on used toys that were brightly colored, which made the work easier, and of different shapes and sizes, which at the same time made it difficult to create portraits,” says Kocić and adds that from the beginning, his idea was to emphasize recycling in order to give his work a special social note.

“Today, after several years of work on the series I called ‘Recycling of play‘, it is obvious that the audience has accepted these ideas. Even the audience has become a part of this artistic action, considering that among them, I have a strong base of those who are happy to collect and donate old toys,” explains the artist.

Until now, Ivan has exhibited several times in Belgrade, as well as throughout Serbia and the region. Some works have traveled to distant gallery destinations, even to Mexico. The audience’s reactions are very positive, and the portraits leave no one indifferent.

“I think my works even inspire people to express their artistic ideas through some forms of recycling. That is one of the ideas woven into my works,” explains Kocić.

The youngest are the most active audience

Our interlocutor actively runs workshops for children that give the youngest a unique opportunity to transform their old toys into something new. Kocić explains that children are the most active audience; they are honest and straightforward in their question but also in their reactions to Ivan’s work.

Photo: Ivan Kocić

“Little ones like to touch, to get close. After a short initial shyness, they relax easily because the toys are familiar and close to them as objects. In this way, they become interested and learn about recycling and contemporary art, represented by the portraits. From time to time, in addition to exhibiting works, I also organize workshops where everyone is welcome – from age 7 to age 77. Then, on a practical example, you can see the creation of an assemblage,” Kocić points out.

When it comes to collecting art materials, all old toys are acceptable. Ivan gets them exclusively through donations from children and parents, so they become collaborators in creating works of art.

“Most toys have a part missing. The consequences of their use, such as scratches and deformations, are visible. Quite often, I get new, unwrapped toys, and I give them to some less fortunate children who don’t have so many toys. In any case, the idea is to make assemblages from used objects, so I follow that idea,” adds our interlocutor.

Prepared by: Milena Maglovski

Read the story in the new issue of the Energy portal Magazine Waste Management