Svjetlan Junaković was born in Zagreb in 1961. Due to an interest in the different modes of artistic expression, he chose to study at the renowned Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, where he graduated in 1985. Since then has been working as a freelance painter, sculptor, illustrator, and graphic designer. In order to attend to his various activities as a lecturer in illustration at the Academy of Arts in Zagreb and at the International School in Sarmede/Treviso, he commutes between Croatia and Italy.
At the outset of his career, Svjetlan Junaković mainly produced classic illustrations for various publishers, including »Kroko Kanal« (2003, t: Kroko Channel). In recent years, however, he has be gun to attract attention through his extraordinary book designs. His portrait book »Gran libros de los retratos de animales« (2006; Eng. »The Great Book of Animal Portraits«, 2007) was met with wide acclaim. The collection and adaptation of twenty-six orld-famous portraits from the early Renaissance to the early nineteenth century plays consciously with the universal fame of the pictures. By replacing the human figures with animals, the illustrator alters the observer’s view and, through subtle humour, develops new angles and perspectives on familiar subjects. The original painting is indirectly presented via the commentaries on each page. The challenge is to re-discover hidden nuances of meaning and context behind the familiar, canonical and occasionally stereotypical perceptions of the content of the painting. His children’s book »Moj put« (2007, t: My Way) is also remarkable, with its multilayered illustrative concept and collage-like combinations of various drawing techniques and materials. The book is cocnerned with everyday paths, journeys great and small and the experiences of shoes and their owners.
As well as having presented his works in solo and group exhibitions, Svjetlan Junaković has won many international prizes, including, in 2001, the »Gold Badge« of the Biennial of Illustration in Bratislava (BIB). In 2008 he was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen-Award by the Croatian IBBY section. His children’s book »Gran libros de los retratos de animales« won both the Bologna- Razzia Award in the fiction category and the Premio Andersen for best picture book in 2008. Svjetlan Junaković lives with his family in Zagreb.
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