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"Pristine, intense, delicate, alluring, clear, precise, classical. Firmly grounded, but also – through the magic which is given to great illustrators – vibrant,”
– Walter Fochesato

Education

2011

Awarded the title of Assistant Professor of Painting by the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

1981–1983

Postgraduate study in Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia

1976–1981

Studied Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Awards

1981
Prešern Award for students, Ljubljana, Slovenia
1993
Hinko Smrekar Award at the 1st Slovenian Biennial of Illustration in Slovenia
1999
Trojlistok Grand Prix of the Children’s Jury at the Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava, Slovakia
2001
Award of Excellence at the BEIJ01 – Biennial of European Illustration in Japan
2002
First Prize for illustration at the 5th Slovenian Biennial of Illustration in Slovenia
2005
Award of Excellence for being selected in the Emperor’s New Illustrations, Bologna Book Fair, Italy / Certificate of Merit for being selected for the 47th Annual Exhibition at the SI New York, USA
2006
Certificate of Merit for being selected for the 48th Annual Exhibition at the SI New York, USA / First Prize for illustration at the 6th Slovenian Biennial of Illustration in Slovenia / Award for the most beautiful book at the Slovenian Book Fair, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2007
Levstik Award for Illustration, Ljubljana, Slovenia / Certificate of Merit for being selected for the 49th Annual Exhibition at the SI New York, USA / Golden Apple at the Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava 2007, Bratislava, Slovakia
2008
International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honour List, Denmark / Italija, Bologna, Award of Excellence, Bologna Book Fair, Italy / Hinko Smrekar Award at the 8th Slovenian Biennial of Illustration, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2010
Hinko Smrekar Award at the 9th Slovenian Biennial of Illustration, Ljubljana, Slovenia / Merit at the 3×3 Magazine International Professional Show, New York, USA / Grand Prix at the 3rd Croatian Biennal of Illustration, Zagreb, Croatia / The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nomination, Stockholm, Sweden
2011
Getting Inside The Outsider”, House of Illustration and The Folio Society’s Inaugural Book Illustration Competition finalist, London, UK / The White Ravens for the book The Emperor and the Rose, Internationale Jugendbibliothek München, Germany
2012
Merit /3×3 Illustration ProShow No.9/ 3×3 The Magazine of Contemporary llustration, New York, USA / Hans Christian Andersen Award nomination, Denmark
2013
Prešern Fund Award, Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2014
Hans Christian Andersen Award nomination, Mexico City, Mexico

The View Is Much Clearer From the Sidelines

After I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, where I studied Painting, I was left with the student award, a yearning for love and acceptance, and empty pockets. All that I could afford without a job at that time were small collections of poems, which became my great love. At the time, I did not fully understand just how much words and spending time in the company of poets and writers meant to me. I was making paintings from paper that no one bought. But I did not know anything about selling myself. It was not something we learnt about during socialism. What was important was the working class – painters were just stowaways in the system. After I completed my studies, I wondered where all my colleagues from the time of study had disappeared to. In order to at least try and understand people and society in which I had found myself, I surreptitiously began to attend lectures on the sociology of culture. To actually understand myself, I needed the next twenty years to study my emotions: fears, anger, sadness, purpose – which I have not finished to this day. Poet Boris A. Novak commissioned my first illustrations for the Kurirček magazine. From then on, I just illustrated and illustrated. I will never be able to count all the hours that I have spent at my desk under the light of a lamp. The doors will open to those who knock; everything comes to those who wait. Slowly the lines and colours took their place, thoughts and emotions gained purpose, and everything started to form a coherent whole: the love for words that I got from my mother, who worked for the biggest Slovenian press and publishing house Delo, knew how to describe life in such an amusing and beautiful way, and always brought home magazines, books and papers, and the love for drawing, creating and materials that was definitely formed in my father’s sculpture studio, where I loved to spend time, and finally the love for inventions and problem solving, which I probably got from both of them. I found my place under the sun, somewhere between words and lines, poetry and colour, where I can talk about my discoveries on this long path, about myself, the people and the world, through my drawings and illustrations. And this is how I can communicate with people. But I still prefer the sidelines, because the view is much clearer from there.

Biography

Alenka Sottler was born in Ljubljana on October 24, 1958. Her father was a sculptor, a student of the prominent Croatian sculptor Augustinčić and her mother worked for Slovenia's leading newspaper and printing company Delo. Alenka received her first informal training in drawing and sculpture in her father's studio. Alenka has a deep love and understanding of literature and she is at her finest when interpreting it in her work. She has worked as a freelance illustrator for some of the best Slovenian and foreign publishers and magazines, including Mladinska knjiga, the country’s largest publisher, and Nova Revija, the leading publisher of philosophy, literature, poetry, and essays. An important part of her output is devoted to fairy tales, both modern (e.g. Oscar Wilde) and classic (World Fairytales, Brothers Grimm). In recent years, she has mainly illustrated poetry and produced engravings and works on paper inspired by literature and poetry. Apart from her ilustrations in magazines and covers for publications, Alenka Sottler has illustrated more than 50 books.
Alenka Sottler has received numerous national and foreign merits and awards, including the Grand Prix in Zagreb, the 3x3 International Illustration Show Merit twice, the Prešeren Fund Award, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nomination, two nominations for Hans Christian Andersen, was a London Illustrations Competetition finalist and and was recently awarded the Gold Medal at the Annual Exhibition at the Society of Illustrators in New York.
She lives and works in Ljubljana as a freelance illustrator and is a member of the NY Society of Illustrators.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

1985
Bežigrajska Gallery 1, exhibition of paintings, Ljubljana, Slovenia 1986
Youth Hall Gallery Skopje, exhibition of paintings, Skopje, Macedonia / Youth Hall Gallery Sarajevo, exhibition of paintings, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
1987
Petek Gallery, exhibition of paintings, Ribnica, Slovenia / DSLU Gallery, exhibition of paintings, Ljubljana, Slovenia
1990
TG Gallery, exhibition of paintings, Trieste, Italy
2000
Rotovž Gallery, exhibition of illustrations, Maribor, Slovenia
2006
General Consulate of Slovenia, exhibition of illustrations, New York, USA / Embassy of Slovenia, exhibition of illustrations, Washington, USA / Galerie Nord-East, exhibition of works on paper, Strasbourg, France
2008
Tržaški tisak Bookshop, exhibition of illustrations, Trieste, Italy
2010
Bežigrajska Gallery, exhibition of illustrations, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2011
International Gallery of Portraits, exhibition of illustrations, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina / Klovićevi dvori Gallery, exhibition of illustrations, Zagreb, Croatia
2015
Etno Gallery Desetnica, exhibition in honour of Slovene poet France Prešeren, Kranj, Slovenia

Selected Group Exhibitions

1981
Town Gallery Ljubljana, winners of the Prešeren Award for students, Ljubljana, Slovenia
1985,1987,1989
Modern Gallery, Biennal of Young Artists, Rijeka, Croatia
1986
Modern Gallery Rijeka, International Biennal of Drawings, Rijeka, Croatia
1992
Modern Gallery Ljubljana, Selection from Collection of Drawings, Ljubljana, Slovenia
1994
Equrna Gallery, Turn around Women − exhibition of Slovenian women artists, Ljubljana, Slovenia
1994 – 2010
Cankarjev dom, Slovenian Biennal of Illustration, Ljubljana, Slovenia
1991 – 2009
BIB, international exhibition of originals for books for children, Bratislava, Slovakia
2001
Midoru Otaru, BEIJ’01 − International Biennale of European Illustration, Japan
2004 – 2012
Sarmede, Pallazzo Municipale, Monza, Siena, Tarvizo, Verona, Lugano, Rome, Le immagini della fantasia, international exhibition of illustrations for children, Italy and other places in Europe
2005
Museum of American Illustration, The 47th Annual Exhibition, New York, USA / Sala Borsa Library, Illustrare Andersen / Emperor’s new Illustrations, Bologna, Italy / Gallery AOP, Representations of Awe in Contemporary Imagery, exhibition of selected illustrations and photographs, London, England
2006
Museum of American Illustration, The 48th Annual Exhibition, New York, USA
Mednarodni festival sodobnih umetnosti − City of Women, exhibition of illustrations, Ljubljana, Slovenia / Galerie Nord-East, Expo de Noel 2006, exhibition of small works on paper, Paris, France
2006, 2008, 2010
Klovićevi dvori Gallery, Croatian Biennial of Illustration, Zagreb, Croatia
2007
Museum of American Illustration, The 49th Annual Exhibition, international exhibition of illustrations, New York, USA / Museo Diocesano, I colori dell Sacro − dal fuoco alla luce, 4th International Exhibition of Illustrations for Children, Padua, Italy / Gallery ZDSLU, drawings, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2008
International Exhibition of Illustration, Book Fair, Bologna, Italy / Traveling exhibition Bologna Illustrators Exhibition, Itabashi Art Museum (Tokyo), Otani Memorial Art Museum (Hiogo), Yokkaichi Municipal Museum (Mie), Ishikawa Nanano Art Museum (Ishikava), Kagoshima Museum (Kagoshima), Chosunilbo Museum (Seoul), Japan and South Korea / Exhibition of prizewinners of the 21st BIB, BIB Exhibition 2008−2009 Ashikaga Chiba City Museum of Art, Korea, Seoul, City Art Museum, Kitakyushu City Museum of Art, Urawa City Museum of Art, Japan / Klovićevi dvori Gallery, 2nd Croatian Biennal of Illustration, Zagreb, Croatia
2009
Northwestern University Library, Best of Bologna: The Edgiest Artists of 2008 International Children’s Book Fair, Chicago, USA / International traveling group exhibition of illustrations Blue Book, Iran and Japan / Museo Diocesano, I colore del sacro; Terra, 5th International Exhibition of Illustrations for Children, Padua, Italy

Selected Illustrated Books

2004
Bernhardt Lins, Willi wunscht sich einen bruder / Nicolo desidera un Fratello / Bohem press, (book was published in German and Italian language, Switzerland / World fairytales, Nova revija, Slovenia
2005
Brothers Grimm, Cinderella, Mladinska knjiga, Slovenia
2007
Andrej Brvar, Three Poems, Litera, Slovenia
2008
Svetlana Makarovič, Svetlana’s fairytales, Slovenia
2009
Grafenauer / Sottler, Visions, Nova revija, Slovenia / Luigi dal Cin, Echi d’Oceano: Fairytales from Oceania (with 10 other illustrators), Fanco Cosimo Panini, Modena, Italy
2011
Lela B. Njatin, Why Granny is Angry, Center for Slovenian Literature, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2012
Alenka Sottler, Good Morning (artist’s book), unpublished / Albert Camus, The Outsider, Mladinska knjiga, Ljubljana, Slovenia