How this all started? | 04.40AM

11:39:00 AM

If you know me only from Instagram and have never been here... well, first of all, hello.
You probably see my edits and pictures almost every day and maybe you asked yourself how, why and when I started making them, who taught me to do it, when/why I started posting them on Instagram (or something along those lines) – if you did, you're in the right place.
If you came here wondering why my username is 04.40am, you're not in the right place, but the answer awaits - click here.
Back to the point: I'm going to tell this story from the very beginning.
First thing I did was drawing. Well, maybe not really drawing, it was more like scribbling, as I was too young to even hold my pen properly. My mum was painting at the time, so her and I would spend days on the floor of our sunshine filled living room making art – or, in my case, “art“.
After years of only drawing (if you don't count making my grandma buy me coloring books every other day), my dad got Adobe Photoshop for our computer. I was maybe 10-12 and I was really excited. I started making early versions of digital collages – I would download a texture, a few photos of one of the celebrities I was obsessed with back then and I would put them together. Never without By Dunja in bottom right corner, of course (I took protection of my intellectual property seriously!). They were horrendous but I loved making them.
I really wish I saved one of those.
But I didn't.

Fast forward to year 2016 – I wanted to enroll at an art college and study graphic design, but I failed. Not once, but twice.

When I write it like this, it seems like it was not a big deal. But oh boy. It absolutely was. I cried like never before (and I've been through some shit in my life).
I wanted that so much. I envisioned myself going there, and, in my mind, I was already accepted. When the harsh reality of being below the line hit me, I felt:
a) like a failure and like I have no talent whatsoever (specially because I failed not only once but TWO times),
b) like my dreams crashed, and
c) like I'm destined to work a job I hate, living the life I hate because I'm mediocre and that's what I deserve.
I'm aware how dramatic this sounds, but it was one of my biggest failures to date (I wasn't used to them) and it hurt even more because I thought I was good at it (but clearly I wasn't good enough lol).

Note: I study Italian language and literature, and even though it's interesting and I don't regret it, I've never seen myself as a translator/professor. It was a backup plan if Plan A (graphic design) fails. And, well, it did, but studying Italian opened me some new doors that wouldn't be opened otherwise and I believe (at first I just wanted to believe, but now I truly do) this all happened for a reason.

The situation was: 1) I constantly felt the need to create (I still do).
2) What really made me start being active on Instagram – I needed validation. Even from strangers. I needed others to see me as I see myself, which is as a creative/artist. Not getting into if that's lame or not, just telling how it is.

At first i was just posting artistic-ish photos without any special effects (as I usually call the shebangs I add to my photos to make them look as you see them on my feed), just with VSCO filters.
Then I got bored of it and I wanted something more. I always want MORE of myself, but that's for another story. It was around March/April 2017, if I remember correctly. Anyway, I started experimenting with apps such as PicsArt and played with photos and layers, like I used to years ago, when I was a kid. I am completely self-taught, I didn't even watch tutorials. I just played around (even though PicsArt is super easy to use to begin with).
This was the first edit I came up with & posted.

Making it was interesting and it was different than what I saw other people posting. I made another one, and then another. Eventually I started posting just them. And two things happened:
1) I felt my creative juices flowing again and I was super motivated to always come up with something better. I was super competitive towards my past self. But above all – I started loving what I do and getting excited with every new edit (and feeling better about myself because of it).
2) People started telling me how much they love my edits – in the comments, DMs and in real life. It makes me incredibly happy when people love what I do so much that they feel the need to tell me that, even thought they don't have to. But they want to.
Fun fact: I keep the screenshots of all the wonderful messages I get in a folder on my phone. 

That encouraged me to keep doing it, other than the fact that not only that it's fun, but it's also a form of self discovery. With every photo, I dig deep into my mind to find something new, a new version of myself. Dunja who eats artistic masterpieces and drinks cities in coffee cups, Dunja with haze made of galaxies in and around her head, Dunja rocking dissolving crystals as a fashion statement... (also, do you know how good for your self-esteem is when you become an artwork? The answer is: hella)
And you see a little piece of my inner world. Or a tiny window to the colorful mess going on in my head, if you wish.
So I keep doing it.

That's the story... so far. If this was an Wikipedia article, hopefully it would only be an Early life section.
I have only just begun. And I have many, many creative things that I'm planning to do in the future.
If you decide to follow me on that journey – thank you

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  1. Absolutely inspiring. Good job, you motivated me to start something I planned a long time ago.

  2. Im so happy for you, I recently found out about you page and I love it. Great work!


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