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Breathing & living art

7 August 2013 / by / 1 comment

Breathing & living art

Croa­t­ian sculp­tor and painter Ana Tzarev is find­ing her peace in art.

BY: Eleanor Yap

World-​renowned Croa­t­ian sculp­tor and painter Ana Tzarev loves her flow­ers and it is evi­dent in her lat­est art instal­la­tion called “Love” which was recently launched for the first time in Asia and here in Sin­ga­pore. It can be seen till Feb­ru­ary 28, 2014, at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_3669” align=“alignleft” width=“300” caption=“Ana Tzarev has launched her lat­est art instal­la­tion called “Love” for the first time in Asia and in Sin­ga­pore at the ArtScience Museum.”][/​caption]

The instal­la­tion is part of her Love & Peace Global Cam­paign, which has been launched in numer­ous cities across the world begin­ning with Lon­don on Park Lane, and includ­ing Venice for the 55th Bien­nale, Monaco, New York, Prague and Rome.

Age­less Online speaks to the 76-​year-​old about her “sec­ond career” and how art has trans­formed her life:

How many grandchildren/​children do you have and are any of them fol­low­ing in your footsteps?

I have three chil­dren and four grand­chil­dren. My grand­chil­dren are still very young, but a love of the arts does grow in my fam­ily, so it may be in their future. My sis­ter, Mil­i­jada Barada, is a won­der­ful painter in the con­tem­po­rary Croa­t­ian art scene.

You were once a suc­cess­ful fash­ion designer with your own cou­ture label and you switched to become a sculp­tor and painter as a sec­ond career at the age of 51. Was sculpt­ing and paint­ing in your blood in your early days?

I could never see my tran­si­tion from a career in fash­ion to a career in art as a ‘switch’, for the two are so closely related in my his­tory. It was noth­ing more than choos­ing to focus on the path of greater free­dom and self-​expression. Fash­ion is full of draw­ing and sculpt­ing – to take an idea and cre­ate some­thing phys­i­cal from it is itself a kind of art. But when I was in the indus­try, Paris dic­tated the trends. Cre­ative out­put was lim­ited to the style of the day. With the art I make today, noth­ing can con­tain me, and my spirit is at peace because of that.

Was it chal­leng­ing to switch? How did you slowly estab­lish yourself?

It was not a chal­lenge at all to devote myself fully to what I love to do most. I was so happy to make the choice that would give me greater free­dom. ‘Estab­lish­ing’ myself was not my intent – I just wanted to paint and sculpt what was alive in my heart, purely for myself. The num­ber of paint­ings grew and grew … and they were ask­ing to bring colour and life into gal­leries. They needed to be shared with others.

What do you usu­ally paint or sculpt? How many pieces approx­i­mately have you done?

My art cap­tures cul­tures and his­to­ries, how I have seen the world and all its won­ders. I paint flow­ers because, to me, they are the great­est sym­bol of joy. Since I treat cre­ation as my career and work at it every day, the amount of paint­ings and sculp­tures I have made num­bers in the thousands.

What have been two high­lights in your sec­ond career? Do you think by doing this work you have found what you call “your great success”?

There have been many shin­ing moments in my life as an artist. I am so proud and thank­ful that a num­ber of esteemed crit­ics of our day have placed their seal of approval on my work. Edward Lucie-​Smith, Dr Alexan­der Borovsky and Marco Tonelli, in par­tic­u­lar, have writ­ten mag­nif­i­cent words that praised my work as part of the larger his­tor­i­cal picture.

Another mem­ory I am proud to pos­sess is that of my “Exposed” exhi­bi­tion at Saatchi Gallery in Lon­don in 2012. One hun­dred thirty-​six thou­sand peo­ple came to see my art. It was an absolute hon­our and a bless­ing to give the gift of myself to so many.

I am not look­ing for any “great suc­cess” when I make my art. I only seek ful­fil­ment for my soul through cre­ation. That is what brings me satisfaction.

What advice would you give to oth­ers to keep on dream­ing and never stop learn­ing? Any other secrets to liv­ing a long and happy life?

The words of Rud­yard Kipling in the poem “If — “ have remained with me for decades: ‘If you can fill the unfor­giv­ing minute/​With 60 sec­onds’ worth of dis­tance run/​Yours is the Earth and every­thing that’s in it …’ Your dreams are a pre­cious gift, but noth­ing will come of them unless you try to make them into reality.

You must strive to keep learn­ing all through your life – make a point of learn­ing some­thing new every day! It is never too late to start. If you do not con­tinue to build your knowl­edge, you will risk los­ing it!

If you didn’t paint or sculpt, what would you have done?

I would have been a writer. My life is too full of sto­ries to keep them locked inside – many fan­tas­tic expe­ri­ences and unusual coin­ci­dences. If I were not cap­tur­ing scenes from my life with visual art, I would be paint­ing pic­tures with words.

Besides your sec­ond career, what else keeps you busy? Tell me more about Ana’s Chil­dren and your hopes for your ini­tia­tive. (The global ini­tia­tive was started when she was 74 and it sup­ports the edu­ca­tion and empow­er­ment of more than 10,000 under­priv­i­leged girls in devel­op­ing countries).

I have a great gar­den to tend! The many vari­eties and colours I find there give me end­less inspi­ra­tion. I’ve cared for flow­ers all my life, start­ing with my child­hood dur­ing the war. They are my sanc­tu­ary. Aside from paint­ing, noth­ing else brings me such com­plete hap­pi­ness and peace.

Ana’s Chil­dren was born out of the desire to offer girls every oppor­tu­nity to suc­ceed and reach their full poten­tial. I grew up in a time and place where edu­ca­tion for girls was not a pri­or­ity, and so I know very well what it is like to have to strug­gle to reach that crit­i­cal path of knowl­edge. Edu­ca­tion holds the key to all the doors of suc­cess in the world, and it is my hope that Ana’s Chil­dren will give girls who have been pre­vented from achiev­ing their dreams safe pas­sage into higher learn­ing. It is only a mat­ter of time until girls will pos­sess equal free­dom to find their share of the world – and it is my dream that Ana’s Chil­dren will bring that day closer to us.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_3668” align=“alignright” width=“200” caption=“Ana would have been a writer if she had not painted or sculpted.”][/​caption]

Can you give us a win­dow of your typ­i­cal day?

I hold myself to a rather reg­i­mented sched­ule. I rise each day at 6.30am, make tea for my hus­band and myself, have break­fast while watch­ing the news, and always set myself to paint by 8am sharp. I take short breaks to have cof­fee and read the news­pa­per, and will be at work right until 5pm. After I fin­ish paint­ing for the day, I will take a walk and a swim before hav­ing a light din­ner. In this way, I stay active for the health of my body and my spirit. At night, I read and check the news, and I am always in bed by 10pm so that I am refreshed and ready to do it all again. To face Kipling’s ‘unfor­giv­ing minute’, I do my best to fill every moment!

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

If I could, I would stop age­ing so that I could keep paint­ing forever.

Do you still do any work in fashion?

The fash­ion in my life is now in sup­port of my art. For the Love & Peace Cam­paign, we are design­ing shirts, hand­bags and jew­ellery so that fans and sup­port­ers can take the flow­ers’ mes­sage with them wher­ever they go.

What are three things that are on top of your bucket list?

I do not believe in lists. If there is some­thing that I want or need to do, I just do it! Time is too pre­cious and fleet­ing to waste by say­ing ‘what if … ?’

Let’s talk about your Love & Peace Global Cam­paign. What does this cam­paign mean to you and how do you hope to leave an impact?

The Love & Peace Cam­paign is uniquely spe­cial to me because it was built out of a strong and pure mes­sage, stronger than any I have ever expressed through my art before. My vision for the cam­paign is to unify all peo­ple of the world by the uni­ver­sal beauty of flow­ers and the incred­i­ble power of art. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is nec­es­sary to cre­ate ben­e­fi­cial change for the world, and flow­ers speak the word­less lan­guage of true hap­pi­ness, some­thing shared and appre­ci­ated by peo­ple of all lands.

It is my dream that by bring­ing these joy­ful flower sculp­tures to pub­lic spaces across the world, we will begin an inter­cul­tural dia­logue to forge a path toward peace. Art and nature will become the bridge between nations, and con­ver­sa­tion will become the build­ing blocks of a brighter future.

Finally, can you please fin­ish this sen­tence: Grow­ing old … ?

… is grow­ing wise, tol­er­ant, under­stand­ing and lov­ing. Never let fear stand in the way of pas­sion, because pas­sion is what becomes your soul’s sustenance.



Croatian sculptor and painter Ana Tzarev is finding her peace in art.

BY: Eleanor Yap

World-renowned Croatian sculptor and painter Ana Tzarev loves her flowers and it is evident in her latest art installation called “Love” which was recently launched for the first time in Asia and here in Singapore. It can be seen till February 28, 2014, at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands.

Ana Tzarev has launched her latest art installation called “Love” for the first time in Asia and in Singapore at the ArtScience Museum.

The installation is part of her Love & Peace Global Campaign, which has been launched in numerous cities across the world beginning with London on Park Lane, and including Venice for the 55th Biennale, Monaco, New York, Prague and Rome.

Ageless Online speaks to the 76-year-old about her “second career” and how art has transformed her life:

 

How many grandchildren/children do you have and are any of them following in your footsteps?

I have three children and four grandchildren. My grandchildren are still very young, but a love of the arts does grow in my family, so it may be in their future. My sister, Milijada Barada, is a wonderful painter in the contemporary Croatian art scene.

 

You were once a successful fashion designer with your own couture label and you switched to become a sculptor and painter as a second career at the age of 51. Was sculpting and painting in your blood in your early days?

I could never see my transition from a career in fashion to a career in art as a ‘switch’, for the two are so closely related in my history. It was nothing more than choosing to focus on the path of greater freedom and self-expression. Fashion is full of drawing and sculpting – to take an idea and create something physical from it is itself a kind of art. But when I was in the industry, Paris dictated the trends. Creative output was limited to the style of the day. With the art I make today, nothing can contain me, and my spirit is at peace because of that.

 

Was it challenging to switch? How did you slowly establish yourself?

It was not a challenge at all to devote myself fully to what I love to do most. I was so happy to make the choice that would give me greater freedom. ‘Establishing’ myself was not my intent – I just wanted to paint and sculpt what was alive in my heart, purely for myself. The number of paintings grew and grew … and they were asking to bring colour and life into galleries. They needed to be shared with others.

 

What do you usually paint or sculpt? How many pieces approximately have you done?

My art captures cultures and histories, how I have seen the world and all its wonders. I paint flowers because, to me, they are the greatest symbol of joy. Since I treat creation as my career and work at it every day, the amount of paintings and sculptures I have made numbers in the thousands.

 

What have been two highlights in your second career? Do you think by doing this work you have found what you call “your great success”?

There have been many shining moments in my life as an artist. I am so proud and thankful that a number of esteemed critics of our day have placed their seal of approval on my work. Edward Lucie-Smith, Dr Alexander Borovsky and Marco Tonelli, in particular, have written magnificent words that praised my work as part of the larger historical picture.

Another memory I am proud to possess is that of my “Exposed” exhibition at Saatchi Gallery in London in 2012. One hundred thirty-six thousand people came to see my art. It was an absolute honour and a blessing to give the gift of myself to so many.

I am not looking for any “great success” when I make my art. I only seek fulfilment for my soul through creation. That is what brings me satisfaction.

 

What advice would you give to others to keep on dreaming and never stop learning? Any other secrets to living a long and happy life?

The words of Rudyard Kipling in the poem “If—“ have remained with me for decades: ‘If you can fill the unforgiving minute/With 60 seconds’ worth of distance run/Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it …’ Your dreams are a precious gift, but nothing will come of them unless you try to make them into reality.

You must strive to keep learning all through your life – make a point of learning something new every day! It is never too late to start. If you do not continue to build your knowledge, you will risk losing it!

 

If you didn’t paint or sculpt, what would you have done?

I would have been a writer. My life is too full of stories to keep them locked inside – many fantastic experiences and unusual coincidences. If I were not capturing scenes from my life with visual art, I would be painting pictures with words.

 

Besides your second career, what else keeps you busy? Tell me more about Ana’s Children and your hopes for your initiative. (The global initiative was started when she was 74 and it supports the education and empowerment of more than 10,000 underprivileged girls in developing countries).

I have a great garden to tend! The many varieties and colours I find there give me endless inspiration. I’ve cared for flowers all my life, starting with my childhood during the war. They are my sanctuary. Aside from painting, nothing else brings me such complete happiness and peace.

Ana’s Children was born out of the desire to offer girls every opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential. I grew up in a time and place where education for girls was not a priority, and so I know very well what it is like to have to struggle to reach that critical path of knowledge. Education holds the key to all the doors of success in the world, and it is my hope that Ana’s Children will give girls who have been prevented from achieving their dreams safe passage into higher learning. It is only a matter of time until girls will possess equal freedom to find their share of the world – and it is my dream that Ana’s Children will bring that day closer to us.

 

Ana would have been a writer if she had not painted or sculpted.

Can you give us a window of your typical day?

I hold myself to a rather regimented schedule. I rise each day at 6.30am, make tea for my husband and myself, have breakfast while watching the news, and always set myself to paint by 8am sharp. I take short breaks to have coffee and read the newspaper, and will be at work right until 5pm. After I finish painting for the day, I will take a walk and a swim before having a light dinner. In this way, I stay active for the health of my body and my spirit. At night, I read and check the news, and I am always in bed by 10pm so that I am refreshed and ready to do it all again. To face Kipling’s ‘unforgiving minute’, I do my best to fill every moment!

 

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

If I could, I would stop ageing so that I could keep painting forever.

 

Do you still do any work in fashion?

The fashion in my life is now in support of my art. For the Love & Peace Campaign, we are designing shirts, handbags and jewellery so that fans and supporters can take the flowers’ message with them wherever they go.

 

What are three things that are on top of your bucket list?

I do not believe in lists. If there is something that I want or need to do, I just do it! Time is too precious and fleeting to waste by saying ‘what if … ?’

 

Let’s talk about your Love & Peace Global Campaign. What does this campaign mean to you and how do you hope to leave an impact?

The Love & Peace Campaign is uniquely special to me because it was built out of a strong and pure message, stronger than any I have ever expressed through my art before. My vision for the campaign is to unify all people of the world by the universal beauty of flowers and the incredible power of art. Communication is necessary to create beneficial change for the world, and flowers speak the wordless language of true happiness, something shared and appreciated by people of all lands.

It is my dream that by bringing these joyful flower sculptures to public spaces across the world, we will begin an intercultural dialogue to forge a path toward peace. Art and nature will become the bridge between nations, and conversation will become the building blocks of a brighter future.

 

Finally, can you please finish this sentence: Growing old … ?

… is growing wise, tolerant, understanding and loving. Never let fear stand in the way of passion, because passion is what becomes your soul’s sustenance.

 


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1 Comment

  1. agelessadmin agelessadmin says:

    This message is from a reader, Yap Beng Huat: “Helpful, wise and inspiring words from a truly creative artist. Ana’s message is excellent advice to old folks like me who are on the threshold of dementia. I love art but have put away my brushes a few years ago as I seemed to have lost my enthusiasm. Ana’s encouraging message to me is that one can still be creative in other fields of activity like gardening, writing, besides other related fields of art.

    One of the activities I still enjoy is gardening. My garden is full of plants but they grow in disarray. I suddenly thought it would be interesting to design a landscape that is aesthetic and put in more colourful plants, while discarding many of the similar type of plants. Also in the fine arts, I can try out abstract art and collage.

    I shall not miss Ana’s exhibition and I would like to thank her for sharing her ideas which will help me sustain my passion in art.”

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