Anja Polh, BB artist who planted words and letters for all BB Influencers
BIG BERRY is based on a close collaboration between tourism and artists, and so, BB Art colony project was created. During two years 17 international artists created 373 m2 of murals and a street full of art along the Kolpa river. Anja Polh, a Slovenian illustrator who is irretrievably in love with letters, typography and writing, was the perfect artist for the visual communication of BB Influencers, all those people who spread their stories about BIG BERRY with actual letters. Inspired by love, happiness and good company, Anja has placed influencers in the midst of nature and - planted many more good stories.
You can read more about her mural dedicated to BB Influencers.
Who is Anja Polh?
What are three words that describe you? Anja says for herself that she is “basically an open human being, nice and creative.” Anja Polh is a gentle and friendly Slovenian illustrator. Unlike artist-related stereotypes, she says: “I work best when I’m in a good mood, and it means – when I’m positive, when I hang out with people”. Her creativity is also influenced by everything around her: "Being in nature gives you some kind of peace of mind."
Her indisputable love are letters and illustrations around them. “I was interested in letters since I was a kid. I always had good handwriting, but mainly because I’ve always been interested in those lines. And I was always interested in my classmates’ handwriting, constantly wondering why they drew those lines in that way.” Considering the fact that it is a less known art form, she added: “This isn’t an uncommon art form in the world, it is used a lot in advertising campaigns, for packaging and so on. It is a part of graphic design, although, in my opinion, it is a combination between design and illustration. It is not used in Slovenia as much as it is used in the world, but it still exists.” Typography is more creative than any of the premade fonts on the computer, and it is also unique and special, fits perfectly for book covers, logos and a variety of ads.
How did she develop as an artist?
“When I was a kid I used to say I would be an illustrator or a violinist. I never played the violin, but drawing always found its way to me. It followed me and then it evolved,” she explained. When asked why an illustrator instead of painter, she replied: “I don’t know. I might have felt I am better with a pencil than with wet colors. That’s what I decided then and that’s how it is now,” she concluded laughing.
After high school, she knew she wanted to go in an artistic direction, and eventually she went to the Academy of Fine Arts to study industrial design. “In fact, I do not know why I decided to do it, but I was fine because I broadened my knowledge and interests. Definitely more than I would if I studied graphic design, for example. In the third year, I took an illustration class and came in fear of the professor, and he sat down in his chair and said - This is what you have to do in life." This helped her a lot with confidence and made her believe that she had made the right decision.
She was always convinced that you could make a living from art, though many wanted to convince her otherwise. "If you try hard enough, you work hard enough, if you constantly learn ... Then yes."
Initially, she did small jobs for small payments, but she was still glad that someone wanted to hire her at all. “Because you also have no sense of how much you have the right to get paid. That's what I started with - making big projects for little money. And then gradually, as you keep on working, larger projects come in, you get to know people who are more experienced and tell you how much you have to charge for your work. And then you gradually figure out how much you need to get paid to cover the time you invested in the project," she explained.
“I want to gain stability in work, a permanent client. Second, not to stay at the same point as an artist. Not to do things just to be done. To develop your techniques, to be wider.”
About the BB Art colony project
The BB Art colony project brought urban art into unspoiled nature, while Anja said further: “Art fits everywhere, it is not only urban, but you can also connect it with nature. This is the most organic thing of all, we all do it by hand, with colors ... We all put our own nature out there.” According to her, BB Houses are in this way even more connected with the nature around them.
It wasn’t her first mural, but it was definitely different and special because “you don’t usually create murals, especially the first murals, on nice locations. But on such a beautiful house, and on such a piece of architecture! Really not a common experience."
The Luxury of Freedom
“The Luxury of Freedom in terms of work is when you get a client who gives you guidance and - lets you do your job. With trust. In fact, I think that the luxury of freedom is to always know that you have people in your life who trust you."
Photo by: João Sousa, Borut Petrič