Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Meet Vukovar 365, Full of Life – Krešimir Herceg of VukovART

February 22, 2022 - Meet Krešimir Herceg, the co-founder of VukovART, a movement that has helped place Vukovar on the street art map of the world and turned the city into an open-air art gallery.

From 2017 onwards, Vukovar has been getting richer and richer in street art, with murals adorning buildings in all Vukovar’s neighbourhoods and 3D art attracting the looks of many on and along the bridges of Vukovar. The art has become a big part of the city’s visual identity, inspiring visits, hashtags, even tours and events like marathons following the path of the murals. 

In 2022, the residents of Vukovar, along with its many guests, already know to anticipate a city centre full of life, laughter, and fun, with kids creating chalk artwork on the pavement, grown-ups painting walls, and other grown-ups discussing art and tourism. For a few weeks in May and June, the city becomes a colourful workshop of art. And when it’s all said and done, we are left with some beautiful art to love and cherish and proudly present to our visitors. We found out how it all came to be, why it’s there and where it’s going. We spoke to Krešimir, whom we know as the man behind the movement. He describes himself as a marketing enthusiast working on several tourism projects, and the results have been pretty awesome. Let’s find out all about the ideas that set it in motion.

Tell us about the organizers of VukovART.

Filip and Krešo are primarily two friends who work together on several ideas and projects. One is just a marketing enthusiast, and Filip is the only Croatian 3D street artist.

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What inspired VukovART?

Although VukovART started in 2017, the whole story began a year before, while the idea of ​​a street art festival had been brewing for a while. Filip Mrvelj, the only Croatian 3D street artist, and I had worked together on several projects. So it was not surprising when in 2016, he called and suggested a collaboration on the first 3D painting in Vukovar on a bridge over the river Vuka. During our time in Vukovar, it rained constantly, and we ended up only having one day to create the paintings. We spoke to the city council about all our ideas, including the festival. Filip managed to finish the painting, and after it gained significant media attention, we officially presented the concept of ​​a street art festival to the City of Vukovar. They loved it.

Can you tell us more about the project?

VukovART is a street art festival. During a few weeks in May and June, it attracts some of the biggest names of the international street art scene. So far, the Vukovar open-air gallery has adopted 33 pieces of street art created by top world artists. We have hosted names like Zabou, Wild Drawing, Vera Bugatti, Juandres Vera, Artez, BustArt, and many others. The work of top Croatian artists can also be found in Vukovar, including Eugen Varzić, OKO, Lonac, Tea Jurišić, and Šumski. When we create our invitation lists, we are guided by the rule of excellence. There is no classic "open call", instead we try to get the best artists of the moment following the set criteria.

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VukovART is a new concept in the cultural life of Vukovar. It promotes Vukovar as a place that accepts all artists as creators of new values. Also, this concept changes the city's visual identity and makes it a more beautiful, urban, and modern place to live. The painted areas are also a tourist attraction. Vukovar, a port on the Danube, is now becoming a harbour of art – an open-air gallery accessible to all. In addition to this artistic part as the basis of VukovART, we have been organizing an accompanying programme of children’s workshops, concerts, panel discussions, lectures and gatherings, and exhibitions in recent years. For example, during the last VukovART, we enjoyed concerts by Mia Dimšić, Vatra, and Akvarel, a band from Osijek. Many visited, including Robert Knjaz, Dušan Bućan, Davor Gobac, and other familiar faces of the Croatian creative scene. There was a painting workshop and chalk drawing one in the main square for the little ones; we organised bike rides and more.

It is important to note that the City of Vukovar largely stood behind the festival, and so did our sponsor PPD Vukovar, who keeps investing in Vukovar’s community.

What is the significance of such a project for Vukovar and Slavonia?

From the beginning, we believed that VukovART would be of great importance for all of Slavonia, and this was confirmed. Many still perceive Croatia’s east as a very rural region, not to say that we shouldn’t be proud of our traditions and customs. Yet Slavonia is much more than that. The nature is extraordinary, its cultural and gastronomic offer yet to be discovered. VukovART is the only project of this type in Slavonia that has practically become a tourist product and is one of few in this part of Europe.

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The artists themselves are delighted with the culture, the city's cleanliness, the kindness of the people, the energy of the festival, and filled with emotions about Vukovar's past. When they go home, they keep telling the story of Vukovar and Slavonia, a Croatian region still unknown to many.

What were the main goals, did you meet them?

The main goal was to create a success story for locals and tourists. We believe that we have managed to meet all the goals in creating a different urban tourist product. As a result, Vukovar has been placed on the map of street art cities of the world and has become recognized for top art of top world artists. People's reactions on social media and their posts from touring the open-air gallery are proof that we are on the right track.

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Another goal was education. The gallery showcases different styles and techniques. Our many workshops help educate the younger population primarily, while through seminars, we all learn from the best Croatian creatives (Dušan Bućan, Robert Knjaz, Domagoj Jakopović - Ribafish, Dubravko Mataković). In our panel discussions, we show the best examples in practice. With all of this, we believe that the goals we set have not only been achieved but exceeded.

Will there be a VukovART in 2022?

VukovART is coming this year, but we are still preparing the program, and it should come out sometime in May. As it all stands, the world's top street art names are coming back, and the program will be dense and exciting.

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Apart from the art that now adorns our city, why is Vukovar worth visiting?

Firstly, Vukovar is a place that evokes pride and respect for all the sacrifices it has gone through. However, people need to be aware that Vukovar is a beautiful city that lives, where you can enjoy some amazing things. The Vučedol Culture Museum is the best example. It is one of the most important cultural points of Western Europe. The Eltz Castle is magnificent. Many do not even know that Lavoslav Ružička, the first Croatian Nobel Prize winner came from Vukovar. The Danube, its promenade, the park forest Adica, the baroque city centre, and the newly opened Vukovar Water Tower. Besides, the gastronomic offer is getting better and better… Vukovar more than deserves a visit!

Have you done any similar projects in other cities in Slavonia? Are there more coming?

We have done cultural and tourist projects, mainly in Slavonski Brod. From the one in memory of Ivana Brlić – Mažuranić to the legendary bicycle race Mali Pariz – Klakar. Our biggest recent project was CoolTour Lab, funded by the EU. We organized workshops for young people throughout the year. There is also the Bikademy project, an innovative cycling tourism project in Slavonia, which is developing beyond Croatian borders. We keep planning, always coming up with new ideas, but we will see where it takes us. Right now, we are focusing on a few things that are already in motion, like VukovART and Bikademy.

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What does the future hold for tourism in eastern Croatia?

We hope for a promising future, and we hope to contribute to it. Indeed, it will take a lot of work, learning, and marketing to build a community. Slavonia and Baranja are a destination with all that a tourist destination should have. It makes us happy that it is slowly becoming recognized as an excellent and unexplored destination, and the potential is huge. The east of Croatia is also attractive for active tourism, and I am sure that the tourist offer will rise to a very high level in just a few years.

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Home is where the heart is.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

VukovART 2021 to Return Art, Culture and Joy to the City of Vukovar

April 20, 2021 - With a five-year tradition already in place, VukovART 2021 promises a month of fun and exciting activities for Vukovar with visual eye candy as souvenirs to last.

A unique concept in the culture and art of Vukovar, the VukovART festival will be held from May 15 all the way to June 15, writes HRTurizam.  

With a five-year tradition, the streets and squares of Vukovar will once again host numerous exhibitions and workshops, debates, children's programs, film, and literary programs, panel discussions, colorful lectures, and concerts. This event, organized by the City of Vukovar and Val Kulture association, co-financed by the European Social fund, promotes Vukovar as a Port of Art, changing the visual identity of the city making it a beautiful place to live. In addition to the local community, tourists also enjoy the eye candy of the city's open-air gallery. Artists Boa Mistura (Spain), BustArt (Switzerland), Jana Brike (Latvia), Mr Woodland (Germany), Victor Splash (Russia), Artez (Serbia), Juandres Vera (Mexico), Kerim Musanović (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Marion Ruthardt from (Germany), and Croatia's own Forest are ten artists who will come this year to give their contribution to the growing visual content of the city.

The festival will be opened by a beloved Croatian band Vatra (Fire), with performances of Mia Dimšić, musical composition CLUE, and vocal composition Watercolor in the following days too. During every larger event of the festival, „a superb craft scene and street food“ offers will be offered to visitors too. 


© VukovArt - Art Harbour

Famous Croatian singer from Psihomodo Pop with a neck in painting as well, Davor Gobac will exhibit his paintings and also host Motivational and Art Workshop for children.

„There will also be an active weekend led by the Vukovar Half Marathon, and for a slightly more relaxing activity, a bicycle race will be organized to tour previous works of art“, says HRTurizam article.

Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish, Dusan Bučan, and Robert Knjaz will host travel lectures and the full program and more details can be found on VukovART official website and on social networks.  

Learn more about Croatia's festivals on our TC page.  

For more about Made in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Sunday, 6 September 2020

PHOTOS: Five Amazing New Murals Vukovar Street Art 2020

Sunday, 6 September 2020 – The Vukovar street art 2020 event VukovArt has just finished. Here are the five fantastic new works its left in the colourful Slavonian town.

The paints have dried, the scaffolding has been removed and all but the last few organisers have set off home. But, though VukovArt, the annual Vukovar street art 2020 has finished, the paintings from this year will remain.

These wonderful new works join a spectacular series of paintings which decorate the town, thanks to previous editions of VukovArt (you can check them ALL out on this link). Residents of the town now live their everyday lives among these incredible pieces of public art.

Here's a look at the Vukovar street art 2020 collection and a little from some of the artists who've made them.

OKO (Croatia)

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Because he’s Mister Strength, Courage and Health

Human bodies, dressed in Victorian finery, topped with the heads of animals and, especially, birds; OKO's intricate and sometimes sinister designs have been seen at Zagreb’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the European Parliament in Brussels and in more proletarian spaces such as Zagreb’s Medika club and Theatre &TD. Her murals are often similar, only produced on an industrial scale.

"I chose to paint a bear because this animal often symbolises amazing strength and endurance," OKO told TCN. "When they invited me to paint in Vukovar it seemed like best possible symbolism for a city that endured so much and yet which still stands strong.

Boogie (Germany / Switzerland)

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Boogie down Vukovar

Some 20 years ago, Boogie aka André Morgner formed the SML Crew in a region of eastern Germany not far from the Czech border. They've been active ever since, although Morgner himself moved to Switzerland. There, he's a now full-time artist, drawing his murals on walls of buildings, parks and offices, on commission for people like Google, Burton Snowboards and BMW. His pieces are vivid and contemporary in colour, but often take inspiration from the bragging tag work of vintage hip hop.

Tea Jurišić (Croatia)



Having worked in many different modes of visual art, Tea Jurišić is, to many, known more for her drawings, paintings and illustrations than she is her street art. Yet, she has created various murals in Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Norway. Since 2017 she has had 8 solo exhibitions in Croatia and overseas. She uses comedy and surrealism to add a playful edge to her simple storytelling.

"My challenge was a 300 square metre wall in the Olajnica neighbourhood, which I was painting between the 28th of August and the 3rd of September," said Tea. "The mural's name is Bora. It's the name of a fiercely strong wind that sometimes visits the coast of Croatia. I chose the name as I was trying to connect thematically two Croatian waters - the continental Danube river and the Adriatic sea. I relied on fresh colours that would bring a touch of summer to the gloomy days of winter that lie ahead. I tried to adapt the colours to the building, and the environment around the building. My experience in Vukovar was wonderful - from friendly people, a beautiful city and delicious food. It was an experience to remember for a lifetime."

Eugen Varzić (Croatia)

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Future Freedom

A graduate of the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka, Eugen Varzić is something of a classicist operating inside wholly modern mediums. His paintings adorn city streets in Madrid, churches and the streets of his native Istria where, in Poreč, you'll also find his two mosaic sculptures, Trosjed and Konfin.

"This piece was a challange for me, because of the size, the positioning and the motif," Eugen said of his piece of Vukovar street art 2020. "The whole place used to be a military camp. After the fighting finished, they turned it into a memorial centre for the war, a kind of museum where you can see the planes, tanks, learn about Vukovar. Kids from all over Croatia come. There is a hostel where they can stay. When they asked me to paint this wall, because of where it is, that put some boundaries on my work. I had to think differently. This wall is not so easy to paint on – it's broken, it has windows, it's surrounded by steel, there are fire stairs."

"I decided on a half portrait of my daughter's smiling face. I wanted to show something happy and which looks forward into the future. Half of the face is pixalated, so it's clearly placed in the 21st century. I used squares within the piece because it's so connected to Croatia – you can see them on the shirts of the national team football players, on the Croatian flag. There are also 87 birds in the paintings. That number was chosen because there were 87 days of fighting before the town of Vukovar fell."

Arsek & Erase (Bulgaria)

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The Golden Snake

Operating as a duo for 20 years, Arsek & Erase create playful, bright and colourful images - and highly memorable characters - using illustration and surrealism. They have painted works all over Europe, their own native Bulgaria, and in Russia, China, Taiwan, El Salvador and the United States.

All photos Vukovar street art 2020 © VukovArt

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