Illustration is thriving, at least in commercial terms, and the timing is not co-incidental – illustration speaks the language of the visual generation Z. But another question is how to stand out from the crowd of artists and works, flowing through the internet artistic environment. "I think people recognise my girls, the way I draw their faces. But I am probably most recognisable due to my patterns; I have noticed that other people have started drawing similar illustrations, but they use more vivid colours than I do," explains Alja Horvat, a very young, a bit reserved girl, who, with her entrepreneurial streak, managed to use Instagram to gain a strong, growing number of followers from all around the world.
The Maribor-born girl is about to graduate in graphic design at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering. Two years ago, she started drawing simply because she liked to draw and "because my boyfriend presented me with an old graphic tablet," Alja likes to stress in almost every interview. Her women with luxuriant hair, prominent eyes and lips and abstract body contours are almost always portrayed amidst lush greenery and animals, a style resembling the great Frida Kahlo, while her play with patterns resembles South American art. But this was actually never her goal, claims Alja, smiling slightly when I mention the similarity. "When I was searching for my style, I wanted to find a certain colour palette, through which people would observe me, but in the end you realise that this is nonsense. Shapes and the way you draw something are more important."