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ITW – Sasa Ostoja, an animal look…

Having grown up in the middle of all kinds of animals, the Amsterdam artist Sasa Ostoja is persuaded that it is his duty to represent the animal race in his works, that he considers too little represented and respected in our world. Also venturing on other forms of arts as the music, the alliance of various arts is necessary for his creativity. Meeting with an inspired artist, in the roguish and unique style!



Hi Sasa! How did you come to be an illustrator?

Hi Olow peoples! When I finished the fine Art school in 2008 as a painter. I decided to earn some extra money to make flyers. I didn’t know anything, I just started from scratch and reinvented myself as a freelance illustrator. I had to dig deep in my imagination to create a whole new world. When i painted at the art school. I mainly made geometric abstract paintings. Just working on a piece for 2 months, like a robot. So for me this was a relief to put my thoughts paper in a quick manner. My only rule was to find the joy an excitement again what you have when you were a kid.

I was a bit fed up of all those rules about what you can and can’t do at the Art school. Luckily i had the opportunity to do some small assignments for parties, skateshops and theatre stuff. That motivated me to move on.

Youre an illustrator, a DJ, and you also do radio! Honestly, which of these activities is your favourite, and why?

I used to do everything all the same time, like a mad man! drawing in the week and dj-ing in the weekends. And every month a show at red light radio. I did that for 5 years. It was too much. Now I now focus more on my illustrations and do a radio show once in the 2 months under the name of: Sultan Botanico.

The show is a recap of all the music what im listening when i draw in that period. Because music is the thing i need when im busy. So all those elements are connected with each other. One hand washes the other.


Why do you (nearly) only ever draw animals?

I like to use the animalistic creatures for my story telling, like fables. I feel that i have more freedom to express myself when i’m not using humans in my drawings. Otherwise it can be too direct. Now i can play with interpretations and perspectives. But nowadays an animal can be a human animal or vice versa. When i shaped my visual form. One of my rules was to use the animals as a starting point. 


Do you like animals as much as you like portraying them in your illustrations?

Yes, more even than human!  i think the world is better off without any humans at all. As a youngster my mother always had dogs, cats and birds in the house. So basically i grew up with all those animals.  And feld comfortable with them. And animals are a minority, they don’t really have a voice or rights. So ill have to represent them.


You’re from Amsterdam, but if you had the choice, where in the world would you like to live?

 I really like Amsterdam, but the weather is really killing me at some point. Especially in Autumn and winter times. I’ll stay in the house and put the heater on tropical mode.

Last year i was 2 months in Brazil escaping for the cold. When its winter in Holland its summer in Brazil. If possible ill live in the winters in the Bahia (Brazil) and come back to Holland when its spring again. Comfortable weather is really a life saver.

You like playing with extremes, apparently. You even designed the cover of Volkskrant Magazine, where we can see animals in various positions from the Kama Sutra. Do you use animals to render taboo subjects more accessible and less “serious”?

Absolutely, I heard stories about parents. That they had to give their children early sexual education because of the cover. Other people found it offensive. The easy accessibility in my work i  definitely use it to exploit those matters. It’s also a learning proces for me as a person. To understand all those complex human thoughts and communication.

They way i like to learn stuff, mostly comes together with a laugh and a tear.


How would you feel if you saw someone in the street wearing one of the t-shirts you created with Olow?

That would be awesome, a walking canvas. Unfortunately i didn’t do much shirts yet. The idea that you make peoples happy with your drawings is one the main reasons to draw. So I’m happy with this collabo with Olow and we will see what the future brings.


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• Discover Sasa Ostoja’s world full of animals on his website and Instagram account !

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