Zelko's artistic journey is a testament to the transformative power of personal experiences. Having been born and raised in former Yugoslavia, Zelko was deeply affected by the Bosnian war of the early 90s, which resulted in the loss of his childhood and the displacement of his family. These experiences have left an indelible mark on his artistic style, characterised by somber, introspective themes that convey a sense of vulnerability and control.
As an accomplished artist, Zelko has honed his craft through tireless self-teaching and experimentation. His paintings and photographs are vehicles for expressing his personal memories and innermost perspectives with a depth of emotion that resonates with viewers.
One of Zelko's signature techniques is the use of sgraffito, a process that involves scratching away the top layer of paint to reveal intricate and precise designs. By incorporating abstraction into his art, he invites viewers to explore the unknown and reflect on the open-ended narratives that shape our identities.
In his photography work, Zelko employs the 19th-century wet plate collodion process, imbuing his pieces with a timeless quality that speaks to the enduring nature of the human condition. His influences are diverse, drawing inspiration from artists such as Joel Peter Witkin and Gerhard Richter.
Now based in Australia, Zelko continues to push the boundaries of his art and exhibit his work to a global audience.
SBS News, Diversity dominates 2017 National Photographic Portrait Prize