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Tomislav Turkalj: my painting - oil on canvas
Tomislav Turkalj: my painting - pencil
Tomislav Turkalj: my painting - water color on ceramic
Tomislav Turkalj: my painting - water color
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"You cannot come into existence if you are not, nor cease to exist if you are”, says a Greek proverb.
    There are different options through which one perceives happiness. One of them is creativity, the beauty woven in time, captured moment, image of serenity and harmony. From his early age, he started searching for beauty and joy, and while searching for a way how to show and present them to others, Tomislav Turkalj discovered the art of painting. Or better yet, it found him. He possessed multiple talents: he could write, paint and photograph better than others. Better than the generation he grew up in. This has given him a lot of joy and a lot of pain. To be different in any field, to be better, is hard to forgive. And today, when he is a painter and journalist who enjoys golden autumn to his career, it is evident it was worth paying such a high price, and to take the difficult path.
    Patiently learning from many, yet an autodidact, he had, among others, one undisputed master - nature. Since he grew up in Bihac, a place which gave the grandeur of forms and colors to its landscapes, and since the River Una was generously shaping the scenery of magnificent beauty, he had a rich source of inspiration. It was enough to observe and perceive. So he drew numerous paintings where the colors, sceneries and landscapes the artist conquered undertone, using a genuine way of painting to make it accessible and beautiful to others. His paintings are a testimony about their artist who has the need to sincerely and devotedly present his impressions and experience. The language of symbols and associations in Turkalj’s work is not composed of puzzles, but of a desire to make the beauty last and travel through his paintings as it flows along the river and time.
    In this magical world of art he entered advisedly, since canvases and colors are his destiny. Throughout his life he has been in love with life and in love with what he notices and desires. He refines his environment with the skill of his hands, with patience and gentleness, as well as with an unmistakable sense to grasp the brighter side of reality. Working patiently for months his fingers create that the most amazing plants sprout, while he nurtures them with the kindness of his being, as well as he cherishes friendships and good vibrations. From his first attempts, until recently painted canvases, his artistic style is clear and defined, his moves firm, and his plans and proportions met. Capturing the actual landscapes, urban areas and people, he opted for realism characterized by a beautiful note of melancholy and romance.
    The landscapes he painted are not postcards, but emotions. They are a proof of the joy and pain of artistic creation. Perhaps because these canvases carry so much emotion as if they cannot bear frames or framing, but aspire to have their content spilled in the vacuum and panoramas they belong to. Every painting carries its own story, and every story speaks a universal language. It can rightly be said that this artist’s art pieces are for the wider public, meant for everyone. But under the condition that the one who grasps them knows what the joy is, and can recognize and accept it. That is a nicer, a better side of living. Maybe that is precisely the secret hidden in the paintings of Tomislav Turkalj, the captured moments that evoke everyone’s memories about the time covered with nostalgia, the time when beauty was seen in paintings.
              Emina Ciric, Art historian
    Poetry of his childhood and the beauty of our spiritual heritage Tomislav Turkalj strived to revive through the expressive power of his art.
     Big influence on the uprising and establishment of his arts profile had the comics of Andrija Maurović and Žark Beker, and especially the purity of Jules Radilović's drawings, wich helped him to develop the ability of percieving details. Later, enchanted by the work of old masters in Renaissance Leonardo Da Vinci, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Direr and others, he was adopting their ways of making art (paintings, drawings, modulation).
   Although he is autodidact, with practice and studying of anatomy and the structure of materials, now in his paintings (technique of oil painting) Tomislav Turkalj thrives to perfect his colorit and purity of colours on solid drawing with clearly delimited shapes and areas, sometimes completely ignoring the background to strongly emphasize the first plan. When making landscapes, he dives into the depth of matter, which can be clearly seen in the interpretation of river Una motives.
   Like a Renaissance card arisen in a noble arts archaeology, in Turkalj's work we can also see animalistic motivs, such as a painting with man and bear, or a painting that shows us the highlighted anatomy of Bosnian horse.Paintings of memories we see in a girl on a  swing, and with strong emotional enthisuasm he reflects the magical beauty of river Una, by which he grew up.
   For his motives Turkalj takes the beautiful side of life and tradition, so it never fades away. He demonstrates us those moments through smiling faces of girls and boys from which emerges purity, youth and beauty. The «Ašik» painting awakens memories of our alleys and the time when life was more beautiful and filled with more romance and love.
   Turkalj also brings us back into childhood and our tradition with his paintings, enlivening the essence of Bosnia, flavour of chestnut, dry maize, which can be seen in a painting of making brandy («Destilerija») that Turkalj uses to represent the traditional ritual of Bosnian man.
   His paintings are, in fact, the paintings of memories, paintings of seen, of past and present, everything that he apsorbed with great emotions from the atmosphere, so he is actually the true painter of everyday life. Simply said, Tomislav Turkalj is a visual artist.
   In his earliest drawings with pencil, the theme and spiritual structure of content are perfectly outlined, and it undoubtedly tells us that drawing is exactly the fundamental substrate of Turkalj's art.
   In his artistic creation the symbolism is also immanent, which is seen in painting «Moj grad» ("My city" oil painting, 2005.). The frontal side of the sarcophagus with emblem of Bihać dominates in the painting, and in front of it sits a young, wistful girl. With these two symbols Tomislav Turkalj told us a story of the historical and cultural heritage of Bihać and his youth.
    Only three years later Tomislav Turkalj engaged in the reconstruction of devastated replica of sacred monument, mausoleum of Croatian leaders in Bihać, the same one that he painted in oil when representing «his city». Because of his good knowledge of drawing and anatomy, Turkalj decides to try working with stone «bihacit», so he started the demanding job – reconstruction of drawings and replica of sarcophagus with nine reliefs. The ability to percieve and interpret details was crucial to start working with «bihacit», and he manages to make a fascinating replica of the terrain of Bihać sarcophagus, which is , as monument, set in the old part of town, near the church tower of St. Ante of Padua. For Tomislav, carving in stone represented drawing, where the pen was replaced by chisel.
   Tomislav Turkalj's art, his whole artistic creativity, represents flawless artistic unit, and contains many values that provide him special and universal character and significance.
   That satisfaction of creating, that we can feel in Turkalj's art, is like a guiding star that invites us to embrace that same satifaction and bring it into our own lives.
   Those feelings and excitation can only be provided by a true art.
               Doc. Ahmet Ibukić – Ami, academic artist

     … Expose arts of Tomislav Turkalj, but also whole his art creati, presents splending art entity and contents many other values, which gave him special and universal character and significance. 
    Many observers of his art, those who in deep penetrating achieve creative relationship, will feel for sure hers nobleness and eminence, they will feel artists serious artism, his wit, his originality and especially deepness of his feelings. We would draw attention to the individual selection, to those works, which are devote to the human, human face, that is portrait, who in some of details sink in “arts anecdote”, but who for sure, have deepness of character.
     By the way, Turkaljs interest for portraits, show his personal courage, knowledge and trust in him self, but also well known statement that man was always favorite, but not easy subject of artists elaboration as “emotional and psychological” imperative, and also as administrative domination in nature, and finally as “something” that interests all artists, but also watchers (people), because they discover something special, common and eternally in portrait art.
    Easiest sad, Turkaljs artist is telling us “per directum” , that art isn’t some individual, transcendental creation, abstract, and long away art, he is telling us that it is act of artist, who has created it for him self, but also for other people, or as it have sad great French, philosopher Romano Ingarden, “ … that what rise, truly art above usual artism, are ideas, artist emotions and his talent …”
               Prof. dr Kresimir IZAKOVIC