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Nikolina Petolas – Surreal Art


Nikolina Petolas is a Croatian based photographer and digital artist.

Petolas is fascinated by industrial and fantasy environments, and these form the backdrop of the mysterious worlds in her work. She creates her images using photography and digital techniques.
With over 10 years experience in photography with experience in portrait, still lifes, landscapes, and macro photography, Petolas is now intensely involved in creating complex, surrealistic photomontages.

Petolas feels a profound fascination with human behavior: with her work she attempts to highlight the psychological and social aspects of human identity. Petolas explores multiple personalities, dream-like landscapes and strange, surrealist dark creatures and environments. Her observations of inner conflict and what must be so for it to occur, inform her deeply psychological work. She is interested in the complexity of human emotion and this drives the narratives in her figurative, surrealist artwork.

Her work has been featured in numerous publications has participated in multiple group exhibitions across Europe.

Artist Statement

Flying fish, women that rise inside an insect lair, giants pears, monstrous creatures, the world after an apocalypse… these are the images that flicker in my mind. Although these worlds may seem strange and unreachable, they contain my hopes and dreams, of people around me, their urges and desires, of new revelations and repeating disappointments, of life with its twists and turns.

My motives are sometimes dark and gloomy and often present dreamlike ambients and strange beings.
I am inspired by my surroundings and I see potential in various everyday things and relations, people, nature, architecture, even food. I see them sometimes as fragments of my work. Most of the time they remain fragments, and sometimes they become unified into a whole and therefore start to exist as a part of my sceneries.

By using real life photographs and textures I give my work a feel of realism, although the themes are far from being realistic…

Insects, animals, skeletons, strange creatures, and self-portraits guide us through these imaginary worlds.
Mostly these are leftovers of something that once lived and had its purpose. By implementing them in my environments, those odd, and often dead things and creatures tell their own story. They start to live as part of something new and in some other form.

I create surreal worlds from real life situations. These strange worlds are the flickering imagery and symbols encoded in my experiences of life, emotions, sexuality and relationships, human behavior.

Through my art I attempt to develop my personal mythology and archetypes, to make real my visions and dreams.



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