Inesa Balić – Bihać: Making a living by transformed drawing into her small business

Hana:

Young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are often forced to turn to creativity and to come up in a variety of ways. One of them is Inesa Balić, a girl from Bihać who makes a living from drawing. Inesa completed two high schools, art and general high school, she also graduated from university and after failing to find employment she turned to her first love – drawing.

She made a Facebook page where she presented her works. These are most often portraits, hyperrealism with pencil, but she also likes painting and landscapes and all sorts of things. She literally lives off drawing and sends her work to her clients throughout Europe and there have been some orders from other continents.

I have been talking to her about how she started, what do people order the most, what is the most common motive, and what are the biggest problems in her work, or how she is organised, so let us listen to her.

Inesa Balić:

As I have already told you, sometimes at the faculty, since I did enrol to study Bosnian Language and Literature, I did not graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts, I did not enrol in the Academy of Fine Arts, and one time, maybe five or six years ago, even though I was always drawing something at home I never showed it to anybody but my friends, my parents … One time I did a portrait of a colleague from university and they all loved it “Wow, why don’t you do this more often, it’s too good, we didn’t know you were so talented” and so it all started. One portrait, then another one and after six years it sort of became my small business.

Hana:

Are you communicating with people and find clients using Facebook?

Inesa Balić:

Well, mostly it is people I know and I do one portrait, someone else sees it, and gets in touch or most recently, it is mostly Facebook.

Hana:

You said you work five days a week.

Inesa Balić:

Yes. I got a bit more organised since I need time for myself and then I said to myself, “You will work for 8 hours like proper working hours. I am my own employer, I work eight hours a day, five days a week and have a weekend off.

Hana:

What do you draw most often?

Inesa Balić:

Well, portraits mostly, but I like to work, since I use pencil as it is a lot easier, less work, less preparation with it, but I also do oil on canvas. But I do oil on canvas only when I do landscapes but it is a bit less frequent for it takes lot of time and I am a bit clumsy and then I get all messed up, and the whole house gets messy so it’s a lot easier to sharpen pencils.

Hana:

So you get clients from all over Europe?

Inesa Balić:

Well, yes. It started first with relatives, friends abroad and now I have, let’s say steady customers that I always recommend and through them I always send portraits all over Europe.

Hana:

What is your biggest problem in your work?

Inesa Balić:

The fact I have no time to do something of my own. Since I now dedicated myself to it, understanding that a job will not be knocking on everyone’s door, I dedicated myself to make a job which could provide a living and I have less and less time to draw and do things that are of my choice so that’s the biggest problem.

Hana:

Do people know how to appreciate your work, is it appreciated more abroad or …

Inesa Balić:

Much more out abroad. I always balance between our possibilities, our lifestyle and not that our people do not like art but they don’t have enough money to afford some things, like … I always say – a concert, exhibition, a trip, anything, I don’t know, a show, it all costs, art costs money. For our people, when you have to pay BAM 10 for a show it is manageable, but BAM 15 is already too much, since you’re not going alone, you’ll have company and then people starts calculating, “Oh, 30, 40, 50 BAM, that’s a lot”. People cannot afford it off of our salaries and then I always balance the prices somehow with our possibilities.

Inesa can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inesa90arts/ or Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/inesa_art/

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