Headdress Design: Miodrag Guberinic 
Photograph © Jose Espaillat

Designer Miodrag Guberinic

Headdress Design: Miodrag Guberinic 
Photograph © Jose Espaillat

It all started when James Estrin, co-founder and editor of The New York Times Lens Blog, spoke to my School of Visual Arts BFA Photography "Professional Community" class! I gave the students an assignment to create an editorial blog-post worthy of The NYTimes Lens Blog. Jose Espaillat created this amazing piece with his brilliant photographs accompanying his interview with Designer Miodrag Guberinic, whose most recent project was the development of costume crafts and prototypes of iconic helmets and shoulder pieces for Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour 2015.

Espaillat was born and raised in The Dominican Republic. He moved to New York City in 2012 and started taking photos in the summer of 2013. Following his dream, he began studies at School of Visual Arts for a BFA in Photography. In his short career, Espaillat's work has been featured online as well in print by several magazines. Selected editorials were published by GlassBook, Elegant Magazine, The Dapifer, among others.

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Jose Espaillat met with Designer Miodrag Guberinic at his studio in Brooklyn to talk about his art and the life of an artist in New York City. Guberinic grew up in Serbia and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade with a BFA in Costume and Fashion Design in 2005. He was awarded a full scholarship to Northwestern University’s Stage Design Program, and graduated with an MFA in Theater Costume Design in 2011.  Following his graduation he moved to NYC. He has worked with big names like Madonna, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Prada, among others. 

Jose Espaillat: How was it when you moved to New York City? Was it hard, was it easy?

Miodrag Guberinic: When I came to NYC for the first time as a tourist in 2004, I felt that it was the place where I belong. I knew this was the city that would give me abundance of creative work opportunities in my field and I sensed that I simply need to come back to it. So since then, I knew NY will be my home.
The first few months were challenging, but I was doing my best to be proactive about my work and I did everything I could to stay focused on my path. A few of my colleagues from Chicago had moved to NYC as well, so my first jobs were in the Theater. Additionally, I worked as a craft assistant in theater costume shops and a tailor's assistant in a few fashion companies. I only promised myself I will make my money from creative jobs and stay persistent.

Designer Miodrag Guberinic developed the costume crafts and prototypes of iconic helmets and shoulder pieces for Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour 2015! (Photo: Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Photographer Jose Espaillat shooting Model shooting Selfie

Q: How did you get those jobs?

A: Most of the jobs came through friends and friends of friends, and some came through Craigslist.

Q: After 5 years you are working for big clients. Did you ever think that you wouldn’t make it in NYC?

A: I never had a doubt. The phrase, “To make it in New York City” has a different meaning for every person who comes here. For me it means - to be able to create and to be recognized for the love I invest in my creative work - as well as to live and support myself from it. That dream became true.

Q: Do you go to art exhibitions and museums frequently?

A: I try to follow whats happening in the city as much as I can. Usually I go only to recommended exhibits. Most  of my close friends are artists and I rely on their opinions. They are pretty active in the city so they help me filter my choices when it comes to new art shows.

Headdress Design: Miodrag Guberinic 
Photograph © Jose Espaillat

Headdress Design: Miodrag Guberinic 
Photograph © Jose Espaillat

 Model: Mateusz Maga and Makeup Artist: Viktorija Bowers

Q: What’s the art event in NYC that left the biggest impression in you?

A: There were a number of costume exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that were astounding to me. If I need to select one - I would say, "Seeing Alexander McQueen" exhibition in 2011. That specific exhibition pushed me to move to NYC faster. Moreover, it had the strongest emotional, intellectual and lifelong creatively inspiring impact on me.

Q: Your drawings are very futuristic and unique. Did you always draw with that style? How do you come up with those alien ladies?

A: In my childhood I drew a lot of princesses, then in primary school I started drawing monsters. With art education and work, ladies and monsters evolved and merged into those androgynous looking beings. They just appear on the paper for me and I try to give them my full attention in one shot. I never go back to the same drawing twice - what happens in that moment, that's what it is. 

Q: Do you see yourself in NYC in the next 10 years; and if so, doing what?

A: I see myself here until the end of my life. I will always enjoy being in this city as so many beautiful moments happened and are happening for me here. I don’t recall any other place I visited that gave me a sense of belonging like NYC. I will be doing what I love at that time in my life. That's the goal.

In a city that never sleeps, Mio is an unstoppable force that is working towards greatness.

Makeup Artist: Viktorija Bowers
Model: Mateusz Maga

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