- For me, division is multiplication, speaks for the portal Tourist stories Dominik Markovic, 31-year-old entrepreneur from Ulica kneza Mislava 13. Standing on the roof of the garage and looking at the first fruits of the project Amazing Zagreb, murals of the Zagreb style. -I don’t even know where to start, there’s so much to mention… I just know I wouldn’t want the emphasis to be on me, but on the project and all the wonderful people working on it, says Dominic with his head bowed, as each warm exhalation is outlined in the form of a mist.
On his 15th birthday, Dominik ended up in a correctional facility in Župančićeva. His two youngest children were taken from his mother, which was her greatest fear. The social service reacted because he had 800 absences in the seventh grade, which he eventually dropped out of. Two years after he ended up in the home, his mother passed away. He was angry at home, at the system, he stopped listening to anyone. He left home when he wanted, so the police searched for him. At the age of 18 he left home and left mechanical engineering school in the third grade, although he had good grades.
Now he talks about two projects that are part of the program of the brand he creates: Behind the building i Paint Here. The first is intended to beautify the lives of the citizens in this dilapidated, gray city; to adapt rotten, old yards and draw attention to Zagreb in terms of tourism. Paint Here is a project of educational intent with which they want to raise awareness of the public and highlight the problem of vandalism over the facades, or to paint the facades.
The Amazing Zagreb brand could also be presented as a movement for a better, more beautiful and more successful city, which will have a positive impact on tourism in the city, and probably in the whole of Croatia. Dominik says he wants to bring all the artists together in one place, on a digital platform, what would be called centralization. Here and there he inserts a more serious word to show his maturity to entrepreneurship, as if people would not otherwise believe him. - We want to enable tourists to get authentic products, but also our artists, alternative artists, all those who perform something with their hands and make art from it, says Dominik, whose primary activity is tourism.
Artists Kismo, Focus te AtekOne they are the first cartoonists to get involved in the project, and the second year there were already a dozen of them. The plan is to paint or revive about a hundred yards in thematic ways in which they would represent our counties, culture, history, people, but also world brands such as Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Transformers…
Painting the yard involves, in some cases, setting up scaffolding that needs a building permit, the smell of sprays in a decent radius, and a slightly louder murmur and music. For such a thing, the consent of the tenant representative is required. - There were a lot of obstacles, the police called us, they threatened me, everything. But I have a pure vision, an honest vision and an honest heart. I want to do something for this city and something for these people. So nothing can, could not prevent, to do what we are, says Dominic.
Only a few years ago, Dominik worked in a roastery, waited in many cafes, and finally, in 2013, in Novalja, which changed his life for the better. He meets Benjamin Croft through a common colleague. - I didn't know who Ben was and how he would affect me, then I was without high school and without a front tooth. I had kidney stones, disc herniation, gastritis and I vomited every now and then, says Dominic, who had no parents, and could not rely on his older brothers, who also survived, because he was indebted to both them and the state.
Benjamin was left by a girl at the time after many years of relationship, and it was Dominic who listened to him, just as Benjamin did for him. Although Benjamin was a successful man, for some reason, he did not have flip flops. He was barefoot for five days, and the island was full of glass. When he noticed this, Dominic took him to a nearby stall and bought him flip-flops, even though he was not in a financial position to buy personal belongings for others. -For me, division is multiplication.
That act marked their further relationship.
- My wish was to repay the debts and buy apartments for the brothers. Ben told me that for something like that, I have to fix myself first, says Dominic, who by then had devised many different business concepts, writing down business ideas, but none financially feasible or long-term. He didn’t know the basic concepts, though they were as simple as that target group.
The following year, Benjamin arrived in Zagreb and began educating Dominic, and also merged him with Peter Ryding, the owner of an online coaching platform that offers access to business coaches. - After all these conversations and educations, and even at the end of Ben's wedding that lasted 9 days, 2017, I realized that I have to move higher and stronger. The wedding was attended by people from 36 countries, most of them businessmen, says Dominik, who at the end of 2017 went to a meeting at a college.
He was greeted by the director, listened to his story and wish and told him that it takes three programs: project management, digital marketing and PR. - It sounded good until I heard the price. Then something in me died and I thought about what I'm doing here, says Dominic with his hands in his pockets and his gaze fixed on the pebble he was rolling lightly on the floor with his sneaker. - Still, I got a huge discount and he told me that my schooling starts tomorrow. I couldn't believe it.
He graduated from a high business academy and then had to start his own business renting electric scooters. - But the yard was very dilapidated and I thought I could not start that story in such a place and environment. I wanted to revive that yard, to bring a little love, color. And so something that is called today may have begun to emerge Amazing Zagreb, says Dominic.
Two years ago, he brought together artists who were willing to come and without compensation, thematically paint the facade of the house in which he lives. - I said that I don't have money, but that I can return it to them through PR, says Dominic, and it suddenly becomes clearer why he wants the emphasis to be on the project.
What was supposed to be just a beautifully decorated yard that would attract people to rent electric scooters, became the beginning of a whole new story. It sprouted early last year Hendrix Bridge, HNK, Cibona Tower, Matoš, Zagreb Clock, Arena… In that backyard, everyone is welcome. Frequent guests are also alternative musicians, so you have to pick up a guitar, whether you know how to play or not. You are expected to sing, even though you only know the chorus of the song. At least that's how it can be heard in the yard at Kneza Mislava 13. - The goal is to unite people, us little people, who together could contribute to change, says Dominik.
And it’s a formula that’s so simple, yet so powerful and effective. Through such projects, Zagreb gets urban content, and Amazing Zagreb is certainly a platform that enriches the tourist offer of the Croatian metropolis and puts it on the map of European cities that nurture urban culture and attract artists and consumers of urban content. Win win for everyone. This is a project that needs to be supported, and investing in such content can pay off many times over.