Mateja Petkovic, more commonly known as milkformycoconut, is a Serbian artist living in Munich, Germany, who is known for his new realism meets abstract figurative digital oil paintings.
Where did the name milkformycoconut come from?
The name came from a print giveaway I held on my original Instagram account, “Senior Coconut,” where people had to write #milkformycoconut for 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. Milkformycoconut then just stuck because it was a nice mixture of humor and sexual innuendo.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Once I moved to Germany, a long-term relationship I was in ended. So, I began to paint new artistic subjects that sometimes also happened to be real-life experiences.
Tell us about 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 color or color combination that can lead me to want to portray a certain mood on the canvas, whereas other times I will just see an image from a movie, from real life or from other artists I find inspiring that makes me want to reimagine it in my own way. As I go, placing the paint on the canvas, different 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 directions I want to go.
Why digital over traditional paint on canvas?
I actually don’t favor 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 a piece 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 become an artist.
My father is an artist, 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. I was drawing daily and connecting with friends who had the same interest, which led me to enroll in the only high school in Belgrade that focuses on arts and design. From there, I enrolled in the University of Applied Arts in Belgrade and majored in traditional painting. After my studies, I lived off of 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 milkformycoconut was born.
Who would you say are your biggest artistic influences?
For at least 20 years on my artistic journey, I encountered many artists who influenced my style and helped me find my own voice.