Sometimes it's a colour or colour combination that can lead me to want to portray a certain mood on the canvas.
Mateja Petkovic, more commonly known as Milk for my Coconut, is a Serbian artist living in Munich, whose abstract figurative digital and oil paintings are inspired by human sexuality and sexual diversity.
Where did the name Milk for my Coconut come from?
The name came from a print giveaway that I held on my original account Senor Coconut, where people had to write #milkformycoconut within a challenge connected to that giveaway. However my original account was deleted by Instagram for not “following their guidelines“ (showing nudity) and I needed a new account name. Milk for my Coconut then just stuck because it was a nice mixture of humor and sexual innuendo.
What inspired you to create Milk for my Coconut?
Once I moved to Germany, a long-term relationship I was in, ended. So I began to paint new artistic topics, which sometimes also happened to be real-life experiences.
What's the flow of your artistic process?
Sometimes it starts with a specific idea in my head, or a specific emotion I want to portray. Sometimes it’s a colour or colour combination that can lead me to want to portray a certain mood on the canvas, wheras other times I will just see an image from a movie, from real-life, or from other artists that I find inspiring, which makes me want to re-imagine it in my own way. Along the way, placing the paint on the canvas, different new ideas and concepts may pop up and I will follow in that direction. In the end my process is never really defined by one single formula, but it’s always a mix of direction I want to go.
Why digital over traditional paint on canvas?
I actually don’t favour any medium over the other. In the past I didn’t have a studio that had enough space to put my ideas on big canvases, so digital paintings were more convenient and affordable for me at the time.
What equipment do you use to create your pieces?
For my digital pieces I use Photoshop on the PC, as well as the Procreate app on the iPad. For traditional painting I use acrylic and/or oils on canvas.
How long does one of your pieces generally take you to complete?
A digital piece can take me from one to three days, whereas a traditional piece could take me up to two weeks.
Tell us about your journey to becoming an artist.
My father is an artist himself, so from a very young age I was exposed to painting. I was hanging out at his studio a lot and was inspired to start drawing myself. I
was drawing daily and connecting with friends that had the same interest, which lead me to enroll in the only high school of Belgrade that focuses on arts and design. From there I enrolled into the University of Applied Arts in Belgrade and majored in traditional painting. After my studies I lived off painting and freelancing jobs for different international gaming/production studios on the side. After six years of doing that I decided to move to Germany and start my professional career at a video game production studio, but I wanted to continue my own personal work and discovered Instagram as a platform. This is how Milk for my Coconut was born.
Who would you say are your biggest artistic influences?
For at least 20 years on my artistic journey I encountered many artists that influenced my style and helped me find my own voice. Some examples are Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, Jenny Saville, Nicolas Samori, Egon Schiele, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Picasso, Modigliani and the list goes on.
What’s your relationship as an artist using Instagram like?
Originally I posted my works on Facebook, however the strict rules of Facebook regarding nudity, made me start using Instagram, which was more suitable for me at the time. Also Instagram was an app that was only image-based, which was perfect for me as a visual artist. In that respect Instagram helped me promote my works and find people with similar interests. My relationship with Instagram since has been one of many ups and downs. It is a constant battle to make them see that my works are fine art and not pornography or have any explicit pornographic nature, especially because it is a fine line to walk on and deal with that subject matter.
Do you ever struggle with censorship?
Constantly. Since I started dealing with that subject matter, censorship has been a hurdle, because when painting erotic topics it has always been a balancing act to express myself but at the same time not violate the terms and regulations of the platform I use. I think that the subject of human sexuality and sexual diversity should be treated as any other conversational topic.
What draws you to creating erotic images?
The beauty of the human body and the beauty of an intimate connection.
Tell us something interesting about you or something that we might not expect.
I used to do music production when I was younger. I love producing electronic music. That is something I want to continue in the future.
What are you working on right now?
Trying to find new ways to express my thoughts and ideas.
See more of Milk For My Coconut on Instagram.