A Q and A with Željko Ivanković

Heart to Heart News

Željko Ivanković has created the wire hearts for our Young HeARTs trail, which will sit alongside the main HeART to Heart trail across West Sussex and East Surrey this summer. Here he tells us more about his artistic inspirations, how he created the wire hearts and the advice he has for the young artists involved in this project.

About Željko

What was your favourite subject at school?

I couldn’t decide at that point whether it was Art or English so I kept up with both. Learning English enabled me to emigrate to the UK as an adult which, in turn, facilitated practicing art.

Why did you choose art as a career?

I’ve had many jobs up until now and found that not one of them satisfied the need I have to make objects and present them to others to view, comment on or have a relationship with that may be different to mine.

 What artist was your favourite when you were at school?

Early on I really liked Andy Goldsworthy’s work using natural objects to create ordered images – from random to ordered through human interaction.

What artist inspires you now?

I have recently come across Nancy Fouts who makes sculptures by using everyday objects that interact with each other in such a way that they often create a humorous result and such unusual combinations that make you question how you view what you use on a daily bases or see around you. It is sometimes playful and sometimes provocative. I have in the past attempted to make sculptures that would have some of that surprise and humour and have now realised it is currently missing from what I make and do.

 Do you only work with metal to produce your art?

I often use metal in my work, especially for larger outdoor sculptures, because of its durability and structural strength, but I also use stone, ceramics or ready made objects if they suit a particular purpose and steer the viewer towards an interpretation of the work. I never shy away from using any materials, the difficult question is what the material brings to the work and how it changes what you see: a telephone made out of stone or furniture foam will be interpreted very differently, regardless of how realistically it is made.

About the Hearts

What are they made of?

The hearts are made out of 1.5mm annealed steel wire – soft and easy to bend and manipulate, spot-welded at each intersecting points.

Are they strong? How do you make them strong? 

Even though the wire is fairly easily bent and shaped by hand, once completed, the heart is structurally quite strong as the welded points are quite close together. It is still possible to alter the shape when finished, but it will not unravel on its own. It is strong enough to hold itself and lots of other tmaterials that could be used inside or outside (but it is not strong enough if anyone decides to sit on it!)

 How long do they take to make?

Each heart takes about 3 hours to make from start to finish. Initial stages are quite tricky as it can easily be mis-shaped in the process of making it but as more wire is added it begins to take form and becomes stable.

 How much wire is in each heart?

It takes about 30 loops of wire from a spool of 0.75 kg.

Are all hearts the same?

Each heart is slightly different as they are made by hand. There will be variations in the random pattern and some may be rounder, longer or flatter – depending on how it grows through the addition of more wire.

Do you have any tips for students? Where to start?

Think about the inside space as well as outside. Decide if you want to use it as a frame to hold something inside – fixed or rattling around, suspended or going right through from one side to the other. Think about what to do with the surface – cover it completely, partially or not at all. Consider wrapping it, have things trailing from it, make it spiky, soft or both of those textures at the same time. Tell a story around it, pin images of friends and family or other interests, post text or messages inside it, make a film of it doing things – wear it, swing it, connect a few of them together but most of all have some fun with it!

To find out more about our Young HeARTs project, click here.