Sculptor and stone carver Aleksandar Eftimovski is highly celebrated, with a deep connection to the materials he uses in his piece. Born in Macedonia, he went to study in Florence at the Academy of Fine Arts, where he fell in love with sculpture. He continued at the Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara, a town well known for its marble.
Most recently, Eftimovski has been working on different sculptures, holding exhibitions, and even as an artist in residence at Lingnan University of Hong Kong. Finishing up his most recent piece, we asked Aleksandar Eftimovski to talk with us about inspiration, his favorite work and what he looks toward as his artistic goals.
NONAGON.style: What is your background?
Aleksandar Eftimovski: I come from Macedonia, a small European country with a lot of good people. I have spent most of my life in my home city Skopje, which is also the capital. I never imagined that I will choose art as my profession, but it was my curiosity that took me there. Since I was small, I liked making objects out of wooden pieces that I could find in the house. I was just exploring the tools, the saws, the chisels, the rasps… then, after I got bigger, I decided that I want to explore this material a bit deeper.
I did a four-year program at the high school of arts in my city, where I learned the basic art techniques in different art mediums. It was there that I understood that I like volumes, surfaces, and most of all the third dimension. That took me to Florence, the city where the antique culture had its rebirth. There, at the Academy of Fine Arts I learned the classical way of stone carving. What followed was a two-year master program at the Carrara Art Academy where the only thing I did was carving stone. After my studies I took part in many sculpture symposiums and festivals throughout Europe, Asia and America, where I have created big scale sculptures.
What motivated you to create wood sculptures?
Through my years of artistic experience, I have used almost all the traditional and less traditional materials for creating sculpture. One of my favorite materials to use beside stone and bronze is the wood. Just the material itself has its own characteristics like texture and colors that have a story. That same story, if you can incorporate it with your idea, it can become magical. For this to happen you need a lot of observation and experience.
Which is your favorite project you have worked on so far?
The project that I am working on now is the one that gives me the most satisfaction. It is a project that I am making for the Carving Studio & Sculpture Center in West Rutland, Vermont. This sculptural object is one of the most elaborated projects that I have created. This abstract form has all these curves that give you the sensation of something almost organic, like some life matter. It is curious and interesting that the material that I am using is rough and cold — it’s using Danby marble from Vermont — but seeing the shape of the sculpture it looks very soft and beautiful.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Deep into the nature. It is the infinite book of knowledge. This system is so simple that it is so hard to explain. Form the obvious circles of life to the tiniest organs, it is the best place of research. Just by looking into the microscope over some life matter you will ask 100 questions. By questioning, you feed your curiosity, and it is the curiosity that is responsible for creation. Once you find some particular pattern or system, then your ideas flow. On the end of one creation you get five new ideas, so practically when you start it is difficult to stop.
What did you do to prepare for your very first solo exhibition in 2013?
My first solo exhibition was called “Mo(nu)mental Ideas,” and it was made in a gallery in Ljubljana, Slovenia. I had exhibited about 12 abstract sculptures, made in Carrara marble. It was the exhibition that marked the end of my circle of studies.
For the period of my studies many of my sculptures were guided and made at, and for the moment. They represent the spontaneity of my expression. Being in gallery format, the sculptures were used not only for exhibiting in the galleries but also as a scaled model for the big sculptures. They were and are my MONUMENTAL IDEAS.
“I can tell you to always question everything, that is how you will satisfy your curiosity.” — Aleksandar Eftimovski
As a world traveler, are there ways that different countries give you different inspiration?
In my travels I observed everything, the people, the cities, the nature, the surrounding. That did not give me inspiration in the time, but all the information got stored somewhere in the back of the mind. The combination of this information is the actual root of inspiration. What follows is a careful elaboration of these ideas, development of the same and hard work with many tries. That is what I think inspiration is.
How do you decorate your home?
I decorate my house spontaneously. I like to arrange my place without any previous thoughts, it is just how I feel in the moment. I can say that it is very rustic and colorful. The house is full of art, both two and three dimensional. There is almost zero space on the walls, and on every space where there is supposed to stand only one sculpture piece, there are three. Most of the paintings and drawings are mine but also, I have some pieces from colleagues and friends. We like to share art, because it needs to be seen from more people. Usually I frame the paintings in used antique frames that I carefully select. The flea markets are very inspiring and full of things to be recycled.
What is your artistic goal?
Sculpture is an art medium that needs to be seen and touched. I like to create large scale sculptures that will be positioned in parks and open spaces, so that people can enjoy them. An interactive sculpture is where I want to go with my art creation. I would like to make big pieces where the kids and the spectators can slide, sit on, pass through. I also like to teach and pass my experience to people so that they can make art and feel free, just the way I feel.
*This interview has been edited for clarity and length.