Tractors and Shoes, an Interview with Dragana Adamov
Tractors and Shoes, an Interview with Dragana Adamov
It amazes me how some of the people you meet change your life in surprising ways, opening doors to new worlds, and at least another way to see the world. This is what the young and creative Dragana Adamov has done for me.
Our friendship started back in 2008 in Florence, Italy. I moved into a flat with three women, one of whom was Dragana. Serbian-born, but living in Italy, Dragana is a kind and studious person. Before meeting her, I really knew little about Serbia, other than its connection to inventor Nikola Tesla.
It is common to lose one's living quarters often in Firenze, and we only lived together for about six months before we all had to find other homes (through no fault of any of us tenants). However, the friendship between Dragana and me has only grown stronger over the years and expanded to family and other friends.
Above: 2010 Kelly and Dragana at her painting exhibit at La Dolce Vita in Florence, Italy
I have watched this young artist grow and I own some of her work. I want to share with you something of her story because it fascinates me and I really love her creativity, art, and her as a person. [We conducted this interview in Italian, which is not the mother tongue of either of us. However, Dragana speaks and writes fluent Italian. I have translated her words into English, and only hope that I have done well.]
Above: 2012 May: Kelly (recently back from Morocco) and Dragana at her art exhibit at the House of Creativity in Florence, Italy. Kelly bought the small painting between these two artists.
Below: 2012 May: Dragana and Kelly moving Dragana's paintings across the Viale in Florence after the exhibit was over.
Kelly Borsheim: So, Dragana, I have been to your home in Serbia twice now and adore your family. I know that I loved art as a child, but that seemed natural since I have an artist mother. Your parents are farmers. How in the world did you fall in love with art?
Dragana Adamov: The first thing I discovered about myself growing up was the love for art.
As soon as I was able to use the pen, I always drew. I always had a block [of paper] where I drew in any situation I found myself. Then over the years I devoted myself more and more to the theme of "fashion," looking at my mom's high-heeled shoes, and putting them on even though my foot was very small. I couldn't wait to grow up and be able to use them, too! In the meantime I drew shoes (I started when I was 5-6 years old).
Always still so small [Dragana is the youngest of two daughters], and living in an agricultural area, parallel to drawing, I helped my father [Srecko] work in the fields, even driving tractors.
The idea that a little girl can love two completely opposite jobs fascinated me. I liked the idea of being different and not a commonplace child, because for everyone this thing was strange: two passions so contrary from each other.
Tractors, like shoes, are my passions. Unfortunately here in Florence I don't have the possibility to have agricultural machinery, but the passion remains the same.
2012 August 7: Dragana gives Kelly a tractor ride to her family's corn fields in Dolovo, Serbia. Photo by Momma Smilja.
2012: Dragana Adamov uses cornstalks as antlers, farm in Serbia.
2012 August 7: Artists Kelly and Dragana in farming clothes! Dolovo, Serbia.
Dragana: When I was still living in the country, I liked the fact that a girl can do hard work, work more like a man, and in the evening she can go out all dressed up in great shoes and no one would believe her that during the day she drove the tractor in the dirty fields. This fact, for me, has always been a confirmation that there must not be only one pattern / one way in life, in passions.
2018 September: Dragana marries Francesco (also an artist) in style, including a test drive on this enormous John Deere tractor! Oh, and she designed and sewed her own wedding dress. Photos by Kelly.
2021: Dragana Adamov still finds Florence, Italy, to be her creative home, especially with her charming husband Francesco. Photos by Kelly.
Kelly: Now, share with us how your passions have manifested themselves creatively.
Dragana: Over time, in my work, in my illustrations I have always included fantastic shoes, also to go outside of something already seen and already existing. Today there is everything, and everything has already been invented, but our fantasy will always be unique and that is what I apply in "my" shoes.
Above: real shoe designs by Dragana Adamov.
I create these shoes that could not be used, but could be seen applied in different objects, such as scarves, plates, and wallpapers. Thus, I didn't stop in the design of a shoe that can be worn, but of a shoe full of symbols, patterns, and stories. The art has even evolved to the porcelain sculpture shoe as a decoration for the different environments.
For me, the shoe has always been the unmatched and most important detail, jewel, and decor on a woman; the only means to make her elegant and feminine.
The things I always hated are the ordinary and the banal, the less inventive.
I have always adored, designed, and studied shoes. And even today, if I had the opportunity to drive a tractor, I would do it with absolutely the same passion I have for shoes.
Introducing the Venice Shoe!
Many people feel that Venezia, Italia, is the most beautiful city in the world. She certainly has a personality different from most! Dragana created this design, available only from Borsheim Arts Studio, of a red shoe that is inspired by the Serenissima, just one of the many nicknames for the famed island city in Italy.
Artist Kelly Borsheim shows off a print she bought of Dragana Adamov's design titled Venice Shoe. Buy your art print today!
Order your prints and other art products, just a click or two away:
Or how about some gift tags for your travel-loving friends and family this holiday season... order and download immediately for personal use. Check these out:
Printable gift tags... for your travel-loving friends and family... unique gift-giving!
Greek Goddess Series of Fashion Fine Art Paintings
Original Art by Dragana Adamov
What do you think of these large paintings inspired by fashion drawings and four of the Greek goddesses: Aphrodite, Athena, Artemis, and Demeter?
Athena and Aphrodite paintings splash some color into this neutral home decor.
Goddess Artemis represents birth and virginity. Her purity blue color brightens this living room.
Athena and Demeter brighten this dining room. Two large paintings by Dragana Adamov.
Artist Dragana Adamov poses in her designed and hand-sewn dress in front of her large abstract painting Aphrodite.
Back to Shoe Designs on Designer Plates and Scarves:
Starry Eyes, another shoe-inspired design, turned into a luxury silk scarf. See more images, as well as this image as a designer plate here:
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS with Dragana1- Why did you move to Italy?
Having studied art, I have always been interested in Italian art, which is very rich. It is the country where the greatest artists in the world come from.
Therefore, I have always wanted to come and stay here.
I’m happy that my wish came true.
2- Why do you like Italy?
I like Italy because I feel that I have found what I always was looking for: One of the most important things for me is culture of this country (certainly art comes first).
3- How did you become an artist?
I have not become, but I have only discovered it within me with time.
4- Was there an important time, a turning point, in your artistic life in Tuscany?
After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts (Florence, Italy), I immediately started working for a company that makes furniture. I designed for them and made models in plasticine. I worked there for nine years and after work I dedicated myself to illustrations and contemporary ceramics.
5- Where did you get the idea to use shoes, mushrooms, birds, ... why have you chosen those subjects for your art?
Since I was little I always loved shoes, but always. And I always wanted to design them. Therefore, from the strong passion for them I started doing the illustrations adding motifs from nature, and (non per caso) not by chance at times the motifs that do not go together. I do this intentionally because in this way they become more imaginative, particular and fantastic, like surealism, which I really like as an artistic movement.
6- Why did you choose to design for plates? Or in circles?
I chose the plates as the basis on which to apply my illustrations because it is an object that we all use daily and that everyone can afford it.
7- What made you choose to create scarves?
Having done textile design in high school, and then specialized in fashion in Florence. Fabric has always interested me. to create something that is wearable and in this case I also wanted to use fabrics for my designs. Details that every woman, in my opinion, likes.
8- Tell me how to care for the plates. May I eat on them? Wall decor? How are they made?
The dishes are made of porcelain, they can be used in the kitchen and can be washed in the washing dishes, or as the decorative plates hung on the wall, as you wish.
9- Do I need to wash the scarves by hand? How to keep them clean? Show me several different ways to wear or use the fabric / scarves?
Silk scarves need to be hand washed or dry cleaned, other fabrics can be machine washed at 30 degrees. See images on this site for how to wear my designs.
10- For the plates, what sort of glasses or silverware would you recommend for the table with your plates? Colors? Mix and match?
For the table with my dishes I always propose soft and natural colors. Neutral tablecloth of a natural fabric always in one color. The cutlery always silver color, except when there are plates with gold color, and in this case the cutlery that fits together.
Tiger Shoe designer plate makes any table a festive space, even if not quite a circus.
Miss Mushroom, fantasy shoe illustration made into a designer plate, artist Dragana Adamov
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