The BackShop Journal

A Gallery of Thoughts on Arts, Culture and Orthodox Christian Spirituality

A Testament to the Variety of Cultures and a Carnival of Playful, Clever Irony

"At long last! I can't believe my eyes - and in more than one way! I've stopped hoping a long time ago that I would once hold in my hand an artistic artifact which works for me on all major fronts. One with a powerful structure and crazy content that is both art and pop without being either art or pop, or anything in between, refusing to be classified, not taking itself seriously and not teaching me anything or having a message, prodding chakras I didn't even know existed ... coming from nowhere and going nowhere." This is how Zoran Janjetov, the most prominent comic strip artist from Serbia, describes his encounter with Mileta Postic's new book, 111 Recipes for an Extremely Happy Life.

Masterfully rendered, the 111 advices on how to live a more fulfilled life are a parody on instant self-help guides and a powerful commentary on the media and their impact on our souls. They also represent a unique gallery of exotic shapes and colours, and of the variety of worldviews and perceptions.

The Recipes are a product of many years living in different world cultures. "They are most of all a combination of comics and philosophy," Mileta says in an interview about the book. "It's true that I also try to make it technically decent, but the essence is a philosophical approach to things. Not learned, but an 'easy' one. One thing is that I have experienced a lot during the period. I just saw the new Blade Runner, and I miss that robot who dies at the end. I remember his last words: 'I've seen things you people wouldn't believe'. Well, that's the kind of approach here. I have really seen amazing things. I have lived for quite a while in many different places, different worlds, cultures, some of them seem like other planet. Over 15 years in seven different places."

After years of life on a blog and the internet, Mileta is happy that his work finally ended up in a printed form. "The fact that they were on the blog was mostly a postponement, a delay for another medium," he says. "Yes, the people have seen it, but the tendency is to superficially pass over it. In this 'book; you have all other 'books', and now it's different."

Mileta uses the occasion to comment on the influence of media on our lives. "In the computer we are stuffed with various things, filters," he argues. "We consume it faster. I feel that I have less patience. I behave like a 16-year old, I do not watch anything that is longer than two minutes, I move one ... Communication is very superficial and fast. This process has been going on for two hundred years. There is always euphoria with the appearance of a certain medium, but reaction follows."

The publisher, Komiko of Novi Sad, Serbia, is a noteworthy promoter of the art of comic strips in the Balkans. Its editor, Vuk Marković, is an unparalleled enthusiast who has, in the period of just a few years, built a respectable publishing house. 111 Recipes is their first English-language book.

So, this album is a celebration of the art of drawing and a monument to the seemingly frivolous yet profound irony. "I bow to Mileta's drawing virtuosity and feed on his silliness!" Janjetov concludes his enthusiastic recommendation of the Recipes.

Svetozar Postic

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