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Inside Steven Alan

A Moment With . . . Ana Kras

  • We caught up with multi-disciplinary artist and designer Ana Kraš about her work, life in New York, and favorite spots back home in Belgrade. She also shared her recipe for Serbian cabbage.

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    Since leaving your hometown of Belgrade six years ago, you’ve lived in a few different cities, including LA, and now New York.  Do you make it back to Serbia often?
    I lived in a few places so far and loved each one in a very different way. I miss Belgrade a lot and I go often, 3-4 times a year. I try to spend two months a year there. I don’t think one gets to feel that gentleness and ease at any place other than home. Or maybe I am very sentimental when it comes to my family and close friends, and the familiarities.

    You work in several different mediums, from furniture design to illustration, photography to video. What are you currently working on?
    I am working on a few new furniture pieces at the moment, a book of photographs, some new sculptures and drawings.

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    We find your analog photography really refreshing — there’s something almost nostalgic about looking at an unprocessed film photo these days. What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
    I am happy that you enjoy my photographs. To me they are documentations of things around me that I love to keep because they make me emotional in one way or another. I love to photograph everything. Maybe my favorite is to photograph people I am drawn to, at the moments when they are not aware of me photographing them.

    You have a great sense of color. Do you work out the color combinations for your bob bon lamps beforehand or do they sort of happen as you go along?
    Thank you. I love colors and I’ve always loved colors that were not considered matching and pretty. Even in elementary school I would wear black and navy, and pink and red, and would have friends tell me those shouldn’t be worn together. I never understood any rules when it comes to colors and fashion, I don’t think there could be wrongs in those fields. There’s no plan behind my color choices, it’s very spontaneous, instinctual. I think a lot of people are scared to mix colors and I don’t know where all that fear came from. In nature colors live so happily together.

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    Which furniture designers do you most admire?
    I don’t have a favorite furniture designer. I like different pieces from different designers, but I myself don’t even have any design pieces at home. I prefer simple vintage things, archetypes of chairs, tables. My favorite armchair is by Niko Kralj. He is a designer from former Yugoslavia.

    With so many projects, we imagine you spend a lot of time in the studio. What do you do to take a break from your work?
    I spend a lot of time in my studio, but I do like to work at home, too. I like to split my work time between studio and home, so I don’t feel I spend way too much time at one place. I don’t do much when I am not working. I cook, I eat, I have my friends over. I don’t go much to movies, not even galleries and events, and I don’t go out almost ever.  I am very homey, I like to just check out and be in my own microcosm. Sorry, this is a very boring answer. I would like to start getting interested in sports. I think it’s high time I introduce that to my life.

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    What are some of your favorite spots in Belgrade?
    I love to eat grilled meat at Orac, the lovely garden in the basement of a very Communist building. I adore the way the sun breaks in through the trees. Having a walk or a bicycle ride underneath the bridges along Sava River. It looks very rough and beautiful . New Belgrade, some amazing Brutalist architecture. Museum of Contemporary Arts building and the fields around it. Eating burek with yogurt on a bench on a warm night, going to Kalenic Market to get the most delicious tomatoes, soft cow cheese, apricots, and figs. I just love so many things there that I don’t have here.

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    What do you like to cook?
    I like to make Serbian cabbage with pepper and pasta flakes. I like to make my special morning jars, vegetable soups and spinach.

    Could you share your recipe for Serbian cabbage?

    Ingredients:
    - Egg homemade pasta (there is a special Serbian pasta that grandmas make for it called flekice, that has the shape of little squares. Since I haven’t found it in NYC, I usually buy fresh wide tagliatelle and cut them so they look like squares)
    - 1 head of cabbage
    - 1 onion (but not necessary — I often make it without onion)
    - Vegetable oil
    - Salt
    - Black pepper
    - Dry bay leaf if you like

    1. Cut the cabbage into small pieces. avoid the hardest “heart” parts – they are better for salads. Put some salt on the cabbage so it gets softer and releases some water.
    2. In a pot (I usually use one that is wide but not too deep), sautee onion in the oil until it gets soft and almost melting but not very golden (add the dry bay leaf if you desire).
    3. Add cabbage, and sautee it on a medium low temperature until it shrinks a lot and gets all soft and start smelling nice.
    4. Add a bit of salt to taste and A LOT of fresh ground pepper (I like to put in so much so the entire dish looks freckled).
    5. Pasta is cooked separately, and when the cabbage is ready and soft, add the pasta and mix them together. Cook for a few more minutes. Taste it and add more pepper or salt if you desire, and serve.

    *Feel free to add cubes of bacon with onion and make a delicious non-vegetarian variation.

    Many thanks to Ana!

    This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 at 3:32 pm and is filed under Food, Friends of Steven Alan, Photos. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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