Featured Artist: Ivana Starcevic
Please introduce yourself and describe your background.
I was born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia and moved to New Mexico in 1989. While enjoying a 20-year career as the Creative Director for a Fortune 500 company focused on technology/innovation in customized training and digital communications, I remained connected to the art world through work as a rescue animal photographer and photo contributor to Getty/iStock. I earned a BFA in Ceramics and the Studio Art and an MFA in Mixed Media from the Academy of Applied Arts University in Belgrade and completed postgraduate work in printmaking at the University of New Mexico. My work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and my pieces are held in both public and private collections. In 2021, the City of Albuquerque purchased one of my large paintings for its “Art in Public Spaces” program.
What is your earliest memory of creating art?
I had a passion for art starting at a very young age. With a few crayons, pen and ink, and some limited watercolors, I would spend hours at the kitchen table drawing and painting. For me, art is a way of life and I have been lucky to earn a living from it.
Describe your primary medium and why you’ve chosen it for your artwork.
Currently, my main focus is on paintings and the landscape interpreted through the language of abstraction. My entire career has been defined by experimentation, which has been my forte.
What other media have you used?
I consider myself a multifaceted artist and, in my long artistic history, have experimented with combinations of disparate yet complementary art mediums and various genres as well as different forms of technological research. I let intuition guide me toward disciplines and techniques including ceramics, photography, printmaking, sculpture and painting. Regardless of the medium, my goal in art making is not to imitate reality but to inspire viewers to wear different types of lenses.
Describe your artwork in 10 words or less.
Large canvas, vibrant colors and spontaneous brushwork with elaborate mark-making.
What inspires your work?
I always start with a subject, often the landscape, whether it is the view from my backyard or faded memories of Europe where I grew up. I have long sought to capture “the spirit of place” in my artwork, finding inspiration in nature, the breathtaking views of the Sandia Mountains, botanicals and the ever-changing colors of the sky. The wild and enchanting natural beauty of New Mexico is a powerful visual stimulation that continually finds its way onto my canvases. Landscapes are dynamic physical and spiritual reminders of our view of the complex material world and its significance in our lives.
If you could spend the day with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I don’t think I can choose just one. Some of the artists I admire most are Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe. Both were fearless, flamboyant and powerful personalities who created their own dreamlike worlds full of symbolism. I would love to sit down with these two and sip margaritas while listening to their personal stories about what it meant to be women during their times in history. I would get fashion advice from both and later watch them paint. What a treat that would be. I am also an admirer of Fauvism so, naturally, I would love to spend a day with Matisse in Paris—my favorite artist in one of my favorite places—just watching him work in his studio.
Do you show your work commercially? If so, where?
My work is available at Ghostwolf Gallery, through group/solo exhibits and online at https://www.ivanastudio.com.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
My husband and I have a pack of five wonderful dogs…but I think everyone who knows us knows that.
What advice would you offer younger artists just beginning their art careers?
Practice and work hard, but remember that art is fun so just create what you like and don't be too critical of yourself! Keep at it, love it and enjoy it. Join art associations and start networking. Forging strong relationships is the key to building a great business and succeeding as an artist.