Two artworks by Sonny Tomic presented side by side.

#yycLCL Photo of the Month

An artistic journey

Sinisa (Sonny) Tomic

I was born and grew up in an old, picturesque city in Croatia. Early in my life, when I was around 10 years old, I realized that design of my city, historic architecture, visual arts, music and poetry intersect in my mind in a very creative way.

FOLLOWING THE PATH

That early realization eventually led me to education in architecture and urban design in Zagreb and Sarajevo. My university education included a strong emphasis in visual-art theory, three-dimensional explorations and colour studies inspired by modernist Bauhaus movement. In addition, intensive multi-year classic music education for accordion and flute, and then an additional interest in art photography, all contributed to a broader view of reality and continuing artistic interaction with my surroundings. In my early 30s, I was regularly exhibiting my artwork in a respected local gallery where I got positive feedback and further inspiration for my work.

Later realization that all those disciplines are based on the same principles of harmony, counterpoint, scale, rhythm, symmetry, colour, atmosphere and many more, allowed me over time to explore a unique synesthetic approach where each of those fundamental art disciplines and principles were woven into my international, award-winning work in urban design, visual arts and music.

Over 40 years, I developed above average sketching skills. 20 years ago, as a busy professional spending endless hours on meetings, out of boredom I started something that I today call “Meeting Art.” Since then, my sketches acquired a “cult” status among my peers. No surprise, sketches had strong architectural flavour. There was funny dimension to this activity: as longer meetings were, as more complex and better my sketches became! Over time I collected dozens of sketches and started using them to create new abstract dreamscapes.

Evolution of technology in the last 20 years enabled me to explore a variety of computer software, including smart phone apps that allow inventive minds to explore new layers of reality. I started layering my urban photos with my “Meeting Art” sketches and over years created a large body of abstract work with dense textures and vibrant colour layers.

FINDING INSPIRATION

In general, I find inspiration in anything that has timeless qualities — poetry, photography, cities, architecture, sculpture, paintings … I follow Aristotle’s thinking that “the whole is always more important than its parts” — constantly exploring how to make something new that has meaning beyond the obvious.

The attached work is inspired by the lyrics of musician Ryder Shafique (“New Era” by Ishmael Orchestra). It symbolizes complexity of life as is, and one that is coming — pain to choose right paths — those we need to follow with open eyes and mind to synthesize into new existential reality.

Sonny Tomic is an urban design consultant + placemaker, and former manager Calgary Centre City Planning/Abu Dhabi urban design. He is also a visual artist, urban photographer and musician. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) to view more of his work.


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