Inspired by the profound interconnectedness of all that exists and the ultimate oneness with the spirit, Markho’s art appeals not only to the eye of the beholder but also to their immaterial inner essence. The sight of his artworks awakens the soul from the bounds of the mind and nudges the viewer to inquire about their own path of enlightenment in a whole new mystical world…
Marko stands out as an artist with a unique flair and higher wisdom, reflected in all of his digital creations. He makes numerous references to eastern philosophies, ancient cultures, and spirituality that spark the curiosity for more than just a few moments. It’s hard not to fall for his genuine approach to visual arts and the process of self-inquiry, which he inspires as a person and a greatly talented illustrator.
Can you tell us who Markho is as an artist and individual?
First, I wanted to thank you for reaching out and being interested in my art. It will be my first interview as an artist, and I appreciate it.
My name is Marko Slavkovic. Marhko is the artist name I created a long time ago. I studied architecture, and after graduating, my degree was M.ARH. which stands for a master's architect, so I thought back then it was clever to add it to my name :). It stayed as my artist nickname.
I am originally from Serbia, but I've lived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for the last seven years. I work in advertising as an art director and graphic designer. My work is in the creative field, but as with any corporate industry, work and projects are dictated by clients, and creative freedom is often limited. This was constantly pushing me to express myself outside of the work environment. My hobbies changed from classical painting and drawing to salsa and hip hop dancing, from analog photography to video directing.
The art you see now started three years ago when COVID locked us down. Extra free time and a need for meditation and calmness gave birth to the art pieces in my current portfolio.
"Pure blackness, oneness so rare; So much love to care; Let them know they missin' out; Feeling it all the time; So much love to share; Sweet blackness, oneness be there
So much love to care; Let them know they missin' out; Sing again"
We are interested to know what inspired you to choose this style of graphic art, and what is your unique signature?
It is hard to explain, but there is no ideation process before starting. I open my computer, play some music and begin. Every time I create a new piece, I have no idea what will be the result, as if my hand is led by something or someone. The whole process is like a meditation to me. You know how in meditation, your focus goes on your breathing, and your mind is free of thoughts. It feels the same. The focus is on the line I am drawing, and my mind feels free. I like to comprehend it as a download from the universe. I always found a human face and shape fascinating, and for me, it is an inspiration.
You will see that most of my artworks are pieces that look like portraits of fantasy beings. I see it as the spirit of a person, as energy part of every one of us that we cant see with the naked eye. In different cultures and philosophies, they call it other names: Life energy, Prana, Qi, Ki, Spirit... God. It is that energy flow that circulates in us cached in one still image. Names are usually inspired by different cultures, mythologies, and fantasy stories. They all exist in my imagination.
Often I get a question from people: “Have you tried a plant medicine" such as Ayahuasca. So far, I haven't. They told me they saw my art in many of their experiences in similar ceremonies.
Can you talk us through the process of creating one artwork? What materials and methods do you use to achieve a final look?
All my art is digital. I work on my tablet and pen using Procreate app or Photoshop on my computer. The advantage of the digital process is that you can work from anywhere without carrying your equipment. It's just your tablet and you.
My artwork is very detailed, and it takes countless hours to finish one piece, even though every artwork is a mirror of the left-right. While you draw on the right side of the board, the software creates the mirror effect on the left. All pieces are the same size, 7084x7084px or 60x60cm in 300 px resolution. It allows buyers to print the art in sizes up to 100x100cm.
There are a lot of spiritual and Greek mythology references in your artwork description. How is this connected to your personal beliefs and aspirations as an artist?
Yes, I find the inspiration for names in different cultures and mythologies. As I explained earlier, I see it as a person's spirit. I consider myself not a religious but a spiritual person. God is in all of us, and we are all creators.
I like to keep my mind open and read and learn about different religions, philosophies, and cultures. They all have a message and lesson we can learn from. Documentaries on Gaia TV are a great source of an alternative approach to history, science, and medicine. Recently I discovered Traditional Chinese medicine and the philosophy of Dao. Meridians in the body where Qi flows resonates with my art. I found the core of this philosophy, which teaches that we are one with nature, profound. My recent health issues led me to Chinese medicine and acupuncture, and next month, I am starting my studies in this field.
They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
"The artwork is a portrait of The New World, reborn, and full of life. Gaia is blooming and emitting new vibrant energy of this planet we call home. She is sending a message of love and unity. In Greek mythology, Gaia is the personification of the Earth and one of the Greek primordial deities."
What does it take to be good at illustration? Do you think you have achieved everything you want with your style and techniques?
There isn't a rule to being a good illustrator? It just takes will and passion for expressing your soul. Since we are all creators, we are all artists as well. There is a space for every style, medium, and idea to become an art. I think I found my style and technique. It reflects the core of my art, and I am happy with the results. The only thing I wish for is more free time to create. For now, with the full-time job, it is hard to dedicate more time to my art. I dream that one day my craft will become my full-time occupation. Then, I wouldn't call it a job, hehe.
What's next for Markho?
Who knows...I like to keep it open. My art will always be a part of me. Maybe it will change; perhaps it will evolve. I am not the same person I was 5 or 10 years ago, so my art also changed. The Artscene is in the process of evolution with new technologies such as NFT. I believe this will help an artist by protecting their art and allowing them to make a living out of it. My NFTs are on Rarable (always keep up with technology and trends, maybe you will sell your art as Beeple for $69 million).
How do you think the world of psychedelic art will change in the future?
I am a believer that any form of art is changing the future. The world may not recognize psychedelic art enough in the art scene nowadays but I think its time is yet to come. Alternative cultures and a way of living that promotes different values than the capitalist world we live in are giving me hope that our planet is changing step by step.
You can call it awakening or new age, but the important thing is that we all contribute to a better world. As the lifestyle changes, the art will change, and we will see more psychedelic art in the mainstream media.
What advice would you give to our readers to pursue a career as a visual artist?
Follow your gut, and speak for yourself. For now, it doesn't have to be a career. It can start as a hobby. Do it to Express no to Impress! It always finds a way to the right audience when it comes from the soul.
Digital paintings by Marko Slavkovic
To explore more of Markho's artworks, click here and visit his official web page.