Your pieces are so ethereal and dreamy. I personally have three pieces of yours in my art collection. You are a self-taught artist. Can you please tell me how you started a career as a full-time artist?
Thank you so much! I try so hard to embody the dreamlike essence in my art and it makes me so glad that you recognize it.
As for how I began my career, I actually started off studying fashion, business and marketing. I originally wanted to be a fashion designer, but when I started attending classes I noticed how disconnected I felt from my fashion aspiration. I spent more time drawing than fulfilling any other requirements involved in my studies. I loved integrating my creativity into clothes and I often fantasize about doing editorials for my work. Over time, my passions for designing disintegrated and I decided to drop out of fashion school which freed me to fully embrace my passion for art.
By day I supported myself as a full time nanny to 4 children, and by night I spent every waking moment practicing my drawing. My initial medium was color pencils. Eventually, I felt color pencils were not able to fully capture my artistic vision so I summoned the courage to delve into oil painting. Overcoming my original fears of using the medium, gave me the opportunity to fully bring my concepts to fruition.
What has your creative journey been like to this point?
My creative journey has been a rollercoaster ride. The majority of it has been spent attempting to discover what my “style” is and what category I could see my art falling under. When I began to realize how to truly express myself in my art, I also saw that placing myself in a specific category was unnecessary. My work changes as I change, and new concepts make themselves known to me. That’s the beauty of art to me, the mystery and evolution.
What inspires you to paint? I see a common theme surrounding women and nature as your main subject matter.
I recall a quote by the late designer Alexander Mc Queen (who is my biggest inspiration and hero) from my fashion days, “I want to empower women, I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.” This resonated with me. His couture designs and runway shows were so unique. They enticed a mixture of desolate, lonely and eerie feelings which is exactly what I want to capture in my work. Whether it makes the viewer feel these emotions for the subjects in my pieces, or just simply see the beauty in being comfortable in your own skin.
The women I paint do all have similar features, ones I have been drawn to drawing since I was a child. I believe the captivating eyes and pouty lips bring an innocence to them, while the natural state they are in is a small glimpse into the journey the subject is on. It’s survival in spite of opposition. People inspire people, art inspires art, and the ones that appreciate the work I pour myself into should know that their support is a constant inspiration for me to keep doing what I love to do.
Throughout many of your pieces, I see delicate red string. Does this red string have an emotional significance for you?
Frida Kahlo was my first exposure to art when I first moved to America from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 4th grade. She painted self portraits because she was often alone, but in turn grew to know herself best. I feel deeply connected to her. Connection between people is necessary for life, and that is what the string signifies – an interconnection. We all have blood running through our veins, and hearts that have the capacity to love. This is what makes us all alike, regardless of our appearance and differences in perspective, sometimes focusing on the similarities is more important. The red string is my rendition of the importance of that connection. All my pieces embody different concepts such as patterned hair and “rippled skin” but underneath it all they are all the same, as we are all the same. When I tie the red string around the characters in my pieces it serves as a reminder to those that feel different, lost, or lonely that they are not alone. As they see my art, I also see them.
You recently released two exclusive prints with House of Roulx. Can you tell me why you chose to feature those two particular pieces?
The two pieces you are referring to were specifically painted for House of Roulx. I also took the opportunity to bring back one of my older pieces, ‘Suyin’ with chinoiserie patterned hair and another piece with a similar pattern on the lips. ‘Suyin’ was the original piece of which I created the concept of “patterned hair”, which ultimately became part of my art style. She will always have a special place in my heart.