On the hunt: Doris Baric (HRV)
Interview with Doris Baric. Street Art Cities hunter from Zagreb, Croatia.
Name: Doris Baric
What do you do all day? Either chilling or trying to change the world.
Hometown: Born and raised in Switzerland, feeling home in Zagreb.
Hunting territory: Zagreb and the rest of Croatia.
Can you tell us a bit about the difference between the street art in your town compared to the rest of the world? As in, what makes your town really stand out!? The local scene might be small, but they’re very active and diverse, and Zagreb has always played an important role when it comes to street art and graffiti in this part of Europe. The ZGBKaos was one of the first graffiti magazines in this region and the painting of the wall on Branimirova Street in 1987 was probably one of the first commissioned street art projects in Europe. So, Zagreb is a real little gem, where you have a balanced combination of several outdoor street art galleries packed with murals worth hanging in museums and old-school train bombing, peppered with funny doodles and creative stickers around every corner.
Where do most artists get their inspiration from in your town? Often, they quote nature, travelling, music, family and friends as their sources of inspiration, whereas many have some sort of formal art education or have emerged from the skateboard culture.
Is there more curated or illegal work? Illegal and let’s call it semi-illegal, though certain districts offer some legal walls or support street art events and graffiti jams, while the countless abandoned buildings from the Yugoslavian era serve as perfect canvases, given that nobody cares about them anyway.
Who introduced you to the street art scene? I’ve met or chatted with some artists and writers, but I’m still waiting for my official welcome party. *laughs*
What mainly drew you to shooting street art and graffiti? After doing some party, nature and landscape, sports photography and commercial stuff, I just needed something new.
When were you infected with the hunter virus? I really don’t know, it kind of evolved slowly and subconsciously.
My hunting kit includes: Canon EOS 550D, bottle of water, bowl for my dog, sunglasses, Swiss army knife (which of course, I only need because of the nail file), notebook, chocolate cookies and an old Blackberry phone with a bad camera but a long-lasting battery.
When you are out shooting, how much of it is instinctual versus planned? Mostly instinctual, only if I go on a hunt outside of Zagreb I like to consult with somebody local to give me some hints I shouldn’t miss.”
Do you take photos more for yourself, or for others? More for myself, but sometimes I dream about putting a photo-book together one day. Though I like getting reactions from people like “Wow, I’ve never noticed this cool thing and I’m walking past it every day!” Kind of funny how much people are absorbed in their phones that they only start paying attention to their neighborhood after somebody uploads a photo of it on social media.
How would you define your style in taking photos or writing a (Instagram) post? I don’t think I have a style, whereas on Instagram I like to keep it simple and informative.
Who are some of your favorite classic photographers, and how did they influence you? I like the work of Margaret Bourke-White, Berenice Abbott and Martha Cooper, and to throw in a gent as well, the Croatian photographer Goran Pipo Pavelić, but I couldn’t say they influenced me.
What is your biggest challenge of being a hunter? Pushing selfie-shooters out of the way and getting the dirt off my boots.
What is the best piece of advice I can give to newbie hunters? Don’t be afraid of interactions, so just meet up with the writers and artists. Ask the people living in the neighborhood for hints, point pieces out to others and engage them in conversations. Tell them why you think it’s not just vandalism and just spread your passion for it!
Can you tell us the most exiting hunter story? Any close calls with getting your equipment robbed or caught by the police? I got thrown out a few times by guards while exploring abandoned locations, but luckily, no police confrontations so far, at least not because of taking photos *ahem*. There have been a few exiting stories, but a recent funny one happened when I was checking out an abandoned industrial area outside of a city and suddenly a guy appeared from around the corner. A black ski mask covered his face and a gun was dangling from his hand. I started to laugh, as I tend to do in surrealistic situations, and he whistled a few times until more masked men appeared from out of nowhere. Before I went through all the worst-case scenarios in my head, one of them told me in the politest way an armed man has ever talked to me: “Sorry miss, we didn’t mean to scare you. You can walk safely through now, we’ll all wait here until you’ve gone.” They didn’t ask me what I was doing there, neither did I ask them, but a friend explained to me later that it was probably an airsoft gun game. Boys.
My most recent discovery in the street art scene is: Somebody is doodling on pages torn out of old German books and pastes them around the city center.
Name a few artists you like to follow and why.
- Bombona Kečkica, who’s bringing some Zen to the streets
- Chez186, because his stuff is trippy awesome
- Jana Danilović, great lady from Serbia
- Lonac, the master of murals
- Lunar, because I can’t get enough of his cute chubby cats (and I’m usually a dog person)
- Mane Mei, cheering up your day
- Modul8, the calligraphy king
- Mosk, rocking the streets of Rijeka
- OKO, who’s always experimenting with some new stuff and amazes on the streets as well as in art galleries
- Pimp My Pump, the collective whose members initialized also the Art Park and the Lapo Lapo street art studio
- Sarme, because you just can’t miss him
- Šumski, another great guy from Rijeka
Do you collect art books, T-shirts, and other things? What’s the most valuable item for you? I do collect a lot of stuff and confess to be a big book worm, but there’s nothing of real personal value.
What is your favorite location fellow hunters should definitely visit? The Art Park and the walls of the Student Center on Savska Street.
What are the benefits you find being part of a street art collective? Finding like-minded people that are driven by the same passion and commitment.
Last but not least. What is the most valuable thing about Street Art Cities? To connect with other photographers and being able to plan out specific hunts while on the road.