Interview with artist Boris Pelcer

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On October 16, 2012
Last modified:November 30, 2012


Based in USA, Boris Pelcer is a designer & artist working in a variety of mediums, including, but not limited to – drawing, painting, illustration, lettering & typography. We contacted the artist because we were interested how all these can be done in 24 hours/day:) Originally from Sarajevo, Boris emigrated to USA with his family in search of a better life. Since then, he has received his BFA in Illustration from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. He has worked as a Senior Apparel Graphic Designer at Brew City Brand Apparel, where he had the opportunity to work with great clients such as Urban Outfitters, Spencer’s, Zumiez, Hot Topic, Harley Davidson, Miller Brewing Co., Target & Kohl’s. He has also been awarded by Society of Illustrators. Read below to discover the secret of this effervescent artist:)



Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your work.

A: I was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia. My family emigrated to USA in 1998.
The first 13 years of my childhood, were spent in the Balkans, which
can be best described as a one big Tom Sawyer adventure. Last 6 of out
of these 13 years in Balkans, were spent living as a war refugee in
Kosovo, which meant being poor & relying heavily on my imagination. Even though I didn’t have much as a kid, somehow i remember my childhood being fulfilling.



I would spend summers playing with other kids, stealing fruit from people’s orchards, wandering off into the forests, playing with bows & arrows, making slingshots & being mischievous in all sorts of other ways. Favorite parts of my childhood were simple moments; watching sunsets, looking at the stars from various roof tops & tree tops, telling jokes & wondering about life late into the night, along with all of the other refugee kids. Somehow, I am certain that sensibility or magic about life still remains with me & finds its way into my work. Perhaps that is reason why I love to create work that inspires a sense of curiosity, joy & encourage moments of insight, the similar kind of notions I felt as a kid.


Q: You do drawing, painting, illustration, lettering & typography.
Which one is your favorite?

A: I enjoy all of the different medias, as each allows me to talk
about content from a different angle. Lettering & typography is based
on words and words are part of language. Language itself is a
reflection of intellectual, emotional & spiritual aspect of the human
mind. As such, lettering & typography allows me to create work that
can transcend the physical stereotypes of race, age, gender & even
certain disabilities, allowing the viewers to create their own set of
interpretations of the established concepts, influenced by their
personal set of experiences, sensibilities & belief systems.
Meanwhile, drawing, painting & illustration are more image based which
have a stronger association with the objects that I choose to depict
in the work. Such allows me to talk about my personal content much
better than lettering & typography would.


Q: How would you describe your creative process?

A: The cretive process is usually based around story telling.
Conceptual depth for each story varies, but in most cases before I
begin creating, I attempt to solidify as much as I can the main intent behind the story. Sometimes, I know the feel & the essence of what I want to create, but the specifics become resolved as the the actual work is being created. Such organic process occurred with my Something Somewhere series.


Q: You teach Graphic Design & Typography at University of Idaho: how
is the work as teacher?

A: Its a great experience. The program & faculty at University of
Idaho: College of Art & Architecture allow me to incorporate my own
sensibilities as a creative into the course, which maximizes the
amount of knowledge I can offer my students. In addition, having to talk about the process & the conceptual development forces me to constantly reevaluate my own decision making, which keeps my own thinking & skills sharper.


Q: Apart from creating, what do you do?

A: At the moment, I am also working on my MFA, which does not leave me
with a lot of free time. However, whenever I find the time, I love to travel, experience new food, meet people everywhere I go & simply learn a new way to enjoy & understand this existence, which often feels rather mystical & obscure. I enjoy to read philosophy, psychology & sociology, as I find human mind, human behavior & overall

existence quite fascinating. If I could enjoy something every day, it would have to be a setting in which I can enjoy a beautiful sunset by a beach, surrounded by great people & exquisite wine.


Q: Where does your inspiration come from?

A: My inspiration is a result of interactions, experiences & sensations that create a lively & passionate reactions in me. It could be a piece of music, a set of profound words, a gentle touch that forms a strong reaction in me. It is the kind of reaction that if it remains with me long enough, I will desire to leave a permanent trace of its graceful existence in my work, so I can savor it again & keep its presence alive.


Q: What does your work mean to you?

A: My work helps me make sense of my existence, especially the
components that are very mystical & hard to describe. When I first
moved to USA at the age of 13, I had a hard time fitting in due to my
inability to speak English & understand the new culture. For few years, existence felt strange, but somehow I found a way to be content living in the world of creativity & ideas, which I fulfilled by drawing every day. Perhaps it sounds strange, but when no else could, creativity was always there to help me keep alive the magic of life.


Q: Who or what has been most influential in your work?

A: The German writer Goethe said, “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” Hence, I am a mash-up of my influences & what I choose to let into my life. Perhaps, that is why its hard to pin point specific influences.


Q: When did you know you were an artist?

A: I always liked to draw, but the idea of being an artist didn’t
fully become a reality until I came to USA, which unlike many other
places, offers the opportunity to make a career being an artist. I
have my supportive family to thank for encouraging me to pursue my


Q: Your favorite piece of work that gave you satisfaction?

A: My “Nebula” piece has given me a lot of satisfaction. It encompasses the essence of how obscure existence can feel for me. Atthe same time there is something mystical & magical about it, like the notion I get by looking at a starry night.



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