In personal communication with Snezana, a founder and idea maker of the “Art Walk Bags” project, we have tried to understand the background of this lovely initiative and the aims of the project.
Hi, please introduce yourself to our readers.
I would first of all like to thank you for the invitation to an interview. Your online magazine is of vital importance for the global urban scene in which Belgrade indisputably has its place. We are doing what we can to keep the culture going, even in times of crisis.
My name is Snezana Sina Mocovic, Sina is my German name, as I was born and educated in Stuttgart, however, my dad and grandparents are from Belgrade, so I have also had the chance to spend a very fruitful time of my life here, teaching German linguistics at university and mingling with artists, poets and theorists (Nikola Pesic , TKV, Dubravka Djuric, Ana Seferovic, Marko Matic just to name a few). Meanwhile, being interested in contemporary art, I travelled the world and spent the last four years mainly in Shanghai, and then Bangkok, before coming back to Belgrade. To say about myself that I am a cosmopolitan bilingual may sound a bit unheard of, or even queer, but that’s who I am.
Can you please explain to us what the Art Walk Bags Project is about?
My pleasure. art walk certainly is a project, also a bit of an experiment, but to sum it up, it’s an art brand and its concept combines art with eco-awareness and a chic alternative accessory in the form of tote bags. Along with it, wearers are to transform them into a moving exhibition as they display the artworks in the streets. This way a passerby may turn into an enthusiastic audience while given a glimpse into art walk’s portable gallery. In this fashion, the art walk project is also a bit curatorial as it hosts and supports unacknowledged glocal artists. Each artist is meant to be an “one-off” for 2 major seasons maximum, so the first series: spring/summer 2020 and autumn/winter 2020/2021 are ongoing even in hard times, presenting the drawings of a brilliant Belgrade underground artist Milan Rikalović.
How did the idea come up to start this project and what is the philosophy behind it?
Inspired by the Shanghai art scene where I used to live, art walk was meant to set foot there. However, it happened differently, its course has been changed by the unexpected. It set out in Belgrade, moved to Bangkok, and then back to Belgrade again.
What lies behind it is definitely an anti-prestige DIY philosophy which revolves around support and community rather than profit and society. A considerable part of its concept is toying with the idea of extending the gallery context by transcending and transforming its walls into eco-friendly bags that can be worn i.e. exhibited everywhere this way. If I had to come up with a slogan, it could be something like take art off the wall and then for a walk. Like Duchamp wanted to express the idea of movement as an aesthetic feeling, I dare say I am interested in the idea of transformation, that is transmedialization, as an aesthetic feeling. Conclusively, it’s a way of making art and fashion accessible to common people in the first place, while reminding them that both art and work can go hand in hand. Together they can be a privilege, not a necessity.
What do you think about the future of sustainable fashion?
I believe that the only realistic way to maintain fashion is to sustain style which has very little to do with designer brand glamour. Artists are the ones to educate people how to do it by setting an example. So if you wear a potato or bin bag, do it in style, trust being able to pass the message along. This way the future of sustainable fashion is imaginable to me, speaking of which I simultaneously refer to social justice.
How can designers and artists contact you with their own proposals?
They are welcome to contact me (@insta: artwalkbags) not only with proposals but with whatever they have in mind, be it their vision, a suggestion, an idea etc. of what could be added to the art brand or in what ways it could be additionally developed or supported in times of crisis. But they will certainly have the chance to turn their own proposals in officially for the next season. The open call is expected to be launched by April 2021 latest.
Can you please tell us more about your target group?
Everyone with an aesthetic feeling and mindset inclined to pushing the boundaries of such notions such as `target group` can be considered part of it, paradoxically as it may sound.
Where can costumers buy your products?
I am grateful to Bojana, the owner, and manager of Jane Doe concept store, who has been kind enough to open its doors to art walk and who also realized its potential and otherness. The concept store is located at 25 Jevremova Street in Belgrade. The profit is entirely intended for supporting the artists exhibiting at art walk ‘s portable gallery.
In the end, what can we expect from your brand in the future?
What I can tell you now is that it will be certainly a surprise as in the first place it depends on the people and artists who would like to join the art walk crew for the next season. I also hope to continue collaborating with creative community spaces, alternative art galleries and concept stores run by art lovers without prejudice.