We had the good fortune of connecting with Yuri Dojc and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yuri, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
My life journey brought me to my profession through a series of serendipitous occurrences. I left the former Czechoslovakia when the Russian tanks, the same ones that have been recently put back into service, rolled into Prague in 1968. Had I stayed, I would have been pushed into a menial position serving the Socialist State. Freed from that oppression, and given the choice of how to make my own way, I was able to turn my inner passion of creating into a viable and fulfilling career.
Circumstances brought me to the English countryside, to Wisbech, where I picked strawberries and gooseberries, the latter fruit would always leave my hand bloody after a day in the fields. After I mastered the English language, I emigrated to Canada. In the Great White North I happened to visit a photographic school to which they admitted me an exotic curiosity-this was a very hard school to get into but the Deam saw potential and I’m thankful to this day that he waived the requirements for me.
After graduation I freelanced, shooting a plethora of advertising campaigns around the world for a bevy of large corporations: Apple Computers, Xerox, Kodak, Panasonic and Porsche to name a few. Parallel to this I began my personal work, striving to create a social impact through the visual arts such as “North Is Freedom”, my photographic essay celebrating the descendants of freedom-seekers who escaped slavery in the United States in the years before the American Civil War, the men, women and children who fled north to freedom on the Underground Railroad and Last Folio, my quest to document the vestiges of Jewish life in Slovakia in the aftermath of the Holocaust, an exhibit that has been exhibited for two decades on three continents, 25 countries and in over 45 venues.
Art is a potent elixir that has the power to change minds, build bridges, broaden horizons and bring people together. At the moment I feel privileged to have the opportunity to pay respect to WW2 veterans over 100 years-0ld. My current project salutes centenarians who served and my hope is that people appreciate these former soldiers who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First gotta get the day going licking some liquid nitrogen enhanced scoops of ice cream at Buzzed Bull Creamery. Then of to Taliesin West for an architecture fix and then finally some gallery hopping in the Arts District with a must stop at Larsen Gallery to scope out their latest exhibits.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance by Robert Pirsig