Who are you? Who is Bokkaboom and what kind of art do you create?
My name is Slobodan Medarevic but I go by the name of “Bokkaboom”. I am from and currently live in the city of Kraljevo in Serbia. I mainly do digital illustrations and some graphic design work. My design work is inspired by Hip Hop, street art, and comic books.
How long have you been working as a graphic designer? What does your art mean to you?
I draw since I can remember, but when I started high school, I strayed from it unfortunately for a few years to finally get back to it, so I got into the digital world about 7 years ago now.
I am happy to say that it’s everything to me. I am very passionate for it, and I can say that my art identifies me. I started drawing at a very young age, but it wasn’t very common where I am from, so I was shy about it and eventually I stopped doing it, and didn’t want to go to art school because of it. Nearing the end of high school, I realized I went far away from what I really want and got back to it. I started doing digital work because I was inspired by Grand Theft Auto posters, so I started drawing my friends in that manner, people really liked it, so I guess that pushed me further.
In your mind, what differentiates you from the other writers, today? What is your standout quality?
Hm, I’d rather have someone else be the judge of that, but if I have to say, I would say the line work, especially on those TDE pieces of Kendrick Lamar and others. But that’s what makes us all different after all, you can say: “Draw a line” to 10 different people and they will all draw a different line. We all feel and therefore project ourselves through art in a different way.
You mentioned that we project ourselves in different ways, which I believe, too. We also have different motivations for our work. What motivates you to go out and create?
A lot of things really, but, the general answer would be the power of art. The ability of it to impact people; bringing a message without writing a word, and the fact that it defies time and distance. I would say that my art is yet on that level, but we live to learn and become better. When I receive a message from a kid from the other side of the world that my art inspires them, there’s honestly not a bigger award for me than that.
We touched on what differentiates and motivates you, so now I want to look at influence. It’s obvious that Hip Hop is a big influence on you. Who are you listening to right now? What’re your favourite albums?
It is definitely a big influence. It is such a powerful form of art, there is no chance it won’t impact you when you hear it, it’s just a matter if you want to listen. I find my art inspired and similar to rap music, because of synonyms and symbols that are effective in both ways.You don’t hear or you don’t see everything the first time, you have to go through it again, and you have to possess a certain knowledge to understand what the artist has to say. Sometimes you can learn a lot from a rap song. I started listening to rap music actively around 2002, I remember buying my first album, it was Eminem’s “The Eminem Show”. I knew a bunch of tracks word for word. After that, I really got into it. The list is very long when it comes to favourite albums, but as far as the artists go, of course, Biggie and Pac, Nas, Game and 50 Cent, those two made me a hardcore rap fan, Eminem, Fabolous, his Soul Tape projects got me through some very tough times, Wu-Tang… Out of the young ones, whole TDE crew, King Los, Demrick, M-Dot, and Joey Bada$$.
Let’s talk about the Serbian art scene for a second. Who are some of the local artists you feel people should be paying attention to?
Uh, Serbia has a lot of talented people in all areas, it’s just that people here are not that connected and don’t have such an exposure to the world. I’d say NNM crew, which my brother Loose is a part of, and Das Drogen, from the people I follow, and which your followers may find interesting are really good street art crews to check out. But they are all connected so I am sure they will discover a lot more through them.
What projects are you currently working on? Do you have anything coming up that you’re excited about?
I am in a lot of clients works at the moment. CD covers, posters, t-shirt designs… I am also a co-founder and a part of an animation crew called Streethearted. Aside from all of that, my big goal for 2017 is to finally start my own clothing line. I have plans to start it internationally, so we are working on finding good quality materials and everything else needed. The designs are ready, we just need to connect all the dots.
I don’t believe that any of us are “self-made”. All of us have had some help along the way through life and it’s important to recognize those people in our lives. Who are some people you would like to acknowledge or thank for supporting you over the years?
I’d like to thank all my people from around the world that are following me and helping me get my art out there, My parents for letting me be me, and Demrick, DJ Fingaz, Nadim, and Maurice for getting me my first jobs. I want to thank my girlfriend who has been my biggest supporter and has helped me reach my dreams. My brother who thought me about drawing when I was a kid, my crew Streethearted videos and all my friends from the Pampula hood!
Where can people find you online?
People can find me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
Final question. Being an artist isn’t always an easy path to follow. There’s a lot of vulnerability to deal with when opening up and expressing a piece of one’s self with the world. What advice would you like to give to a young artist who may be struggling with creativity (writer’s block), but also may be struggling with the slow process of gaining acceptance/recognition as an artist? What would you say to them?
Well, there’s not a recipe for it, but here my opinion. It’s important to believe in yourself and what you do, that’s what keeps you going in the beginning. Set goals so you know what you are doing it for, and work a lot. There are people who look up to me, but I am far from where I want to be, and there are people that I look up to who probably work hard to get to the next level themselves. But as you might hear it in a lot of motivational videos and quotes do not compare yourself to other artists, because even something feels nice to your eye it doesn’t mean you will be comfortable doing it. And definitely, don’t do it for Instagram likes, just because something you worked on for 12 hours has fewer likes than something you did in 2hrs it doesn’t mean it is worth more. Letting that effect you will never let you grow. So hard work will get you recognition and regarding the creative block, just do something completely different from what you need to do and your brain will work it out when you are not thinking about it, at least that’s how it works out for me.