Luxury of freedom


Marko Rop - BB artist who made magical Bela krajina mural

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. Marko Rop is a Slovenian illustrator - and not to be misled by his youthful appearance, he is an experienced and versatile artist who, through his works, prefers to tell stories. For BIG BERRY he prepared and painted a wonderful story about the even more beautiful Bela Krajina region where BIG BERRY was born.

You can read more about his mural dedicated to the beautiful Bela krajina.

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Who is Marko Rop?

Marko Rop is an artist who studied stage design and intermedia art in Vienna and Prague. He is an illustrator with an impressive portfolio - he has worked with small local businesses as well as well-known publishers such as Oxford University Press. He has already published his work in more than 20 countries.

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For himself, he says that he is “persistent, introverted, a little paradoxical, but also sociable.” He is very relaxed with the people he knows and trusts, in such a society he describes himself as the loudest.

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In film, in theater - everywhere you need a lot of money to do something. I really like this genre (illustration) that is much more affordable to begin with. I love that illustrators can make a very good picture book without having to take loans" he explained his love for illustration.

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He is most inspired by nature and illustrators. He defines his work as trying to combine modern and traditional elements from different parts of the world and, through it, find something of his own.

How did he develop as an artist?

"I think I was interested in the creative profession back then," he says of his beginnings. He first got in touch with painting on television and was very interested in all things related to it. "Then in the first grade, we went to one painting studio and it was absolutely fantastic for me because I didn't see any similar space yet - so many colors and pots and paintings," he enthusiastically explained.

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He used to draw so much as a kid, but in the second part of elementary school and in high school, he never really considered painting as a career. After missing a single point to be admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts, he even briefly dropped out of illustration and explained the story: "It wasn't until I realised I am not a scenographer, in 4th year of my scenography studies in Vienna, when I got a job there as a waiter at the age of 30. The first thing I had to do was to write down on the board the prices of the things they were selling. I started to draw next to what was on the menu and the owner liked it so much that he asked me if I would draw all the boards instead of serving coffee. And it was interesting because I was doing it in a small room in the corner of the bar and everyone was coming to see what was I drawing on those boards. Then they were exhibited and people liked them a lot, but it was also a crazy experience for me to see their reactions. It seems that at that time, life decided my path instead of me.”

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"Then, after four years, I left the academy - now I wouldn't, but in fact at that time I had no choice but to seriously start illustrating" he concluded, but at that point it was just the beginning. In the beginning he started to work on small projects, started to create a profile as an artist, and now he has several picture books issued abroad, he has got an agent in the USA, and as he says, “Finally I can live off it.” He found that “you have to enjoy what you do, if you don't, it will simply be too tiring."

In the future, he wants to do his own projects, not just make paintings and picture books upon request. In that case, he would illustrate the story which he wrote himself. Writing was even his main media until the age of 30, but he hadn’t had a chance to combine it with his illustration, yet. Currently he is working on combining his two passions.

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The Luxury of Freedom 

The Luxury of Freedom for Marko is a real luxury: “Freedom is never given to you and you have to fight for it again and again. This may sound exhausting, but if you don't take it as something very tragic, it can be great, and it basically makes every day meaningful."

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Photo by: João Sousa, Borut Petrič