A Family Affair: Ivana & Liliana Gigovic

Hailing from former Yugoslavia, Liliana Gigovic is a Bluethumb bestseller renowned for her thick impasto seascapes and floral still life paintings. Her daughter, Ivana, followed in her footsteps by joining Bluethumb as an emerging artist, yet delivers a different approach to art. Unlike her mother, abstracts and more muted colour palettes feature heavily in Ivana’s portfolio. However, it’s clear that there is a familiar connection in the technique between the two artists.

We caught up with Ivana and Liliana Gigovic to discuss their profound introduction to the Australian art scene and their success since.

“I come from a very creative family so it was only natural for me to take an interest in art,” Liliana tells us as we discuss her introduction into the art world. Inspired to paint by her cousin, an artist themselves, Liliana began her creative journey in former Yugoslavia. “Water colour paints were more affordable for us to buy. I used to give them to my young children to make a mess and develop their creativity through playing with paint.”

Ivana’s story as an artist starts with these same memories from her own perspective. “I love all things creative and have been greatly inspired by my mum over the years! I used to paint a lot when I was younger and mum always encouraged me to take up a brush again.”

Liliana Gigovic and daughter Ivana in the studio

The pair working in their joint studio.

“Our lives were interrupted by the war and we ended up in Australia in 1993,” Liliana explains. “It was not easy to accept such a radical change and learn a new language. I decided to visit galleries and art shows. We saw many demonstrations by well-known artists.”

With a love of visiting Melbourne’s galleries, exploring the city’s art scene and discovering the landscapes around Victoria, Liliana began to find her place in the strikingly diverse culture away from home. “Melbourne is surrounded by so many beautiful beaches. I fell in love with the colour of the sand and the long coastline. It quickly became my favourite subject to paint.”

A Brand New Day is one of Liliana’s most prolific series of works, as it is influenced by Victoria’s beach vistas.

It was nearly seven years ago that Liliana became a full-time artist. “But it was my daughter Ivana that discovered Bluethumb in 2016. I fell in love with this amazing online gallery and I sold my first painting and many more after that. Thanks to Bluethumb and their hard work, I now work with my children in a beautiful studio.”

Liliana Gigovic in the studio

Palette knife in hand, Liliana Gigovic gets to work on one of her beach landscapes.

Although both find nature a perpetual source of inspiration and Liliana’s influence can be seen in Ivana’s work, their creative outputs are distinct. “My style is very different to Mum’s. It’s more contemporary and soft but I have learned in depth about colour from her and still continue to do so.”

Featuring shades of coral, blue and green, Ivana Gigovic takes us back to warmer days and the excitement of summer in Daydreaming No 3.

The past year of Victoria’s lockdowns and restrictions has allowed both Liliana and Ivana to consider what is needed to be both creative and productive. “We saw the lockdowns as an opportunity to create,” Liliana explains. “We both made many paintings and many of them found a new home.”

“I am so proud of my children. My son Nate has a creative job too – he’s a videographer. My dream is that the three of us will work full time together in the studio.”

Want to see the artworks that inspire Ivana and Liliana Gigovic? Click here for their picks of art in this week’s curation.

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