Art and emotions with Deana Nastic

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Photo Credit: Vai Yu Law Photography

She cried when she was in Paris looking at Van Gogh’s self-portrait for the first time and, now as a renowned artist her work is making other people cry too.

Coming from an artistic family, Deana Nastic doesn’t understand life without art. She lives for art and art lives in her.

After her latest breath-taking exhibition at Izzy GalleryInvisible Brush‘, we couldn’t help but ask her for a second in-depth interview to learn more about her life and career. ‘Why she decided to become an artist?’ ‘Are we all capable of understanding art?’ ‘What are her dreams?’ A lot of questions were still in the air.

For Deana, we can only appreciate art as long as we know the story behind the piece, and more importantly, the process that the artist went through to get to it. That is probably the reason why her best piece of advice for young artists is not only about having the talent but also about working hard and being able to build your signature, your story.

Celia Fernandez: Where does your love for art come from?

Deana Nastic: Well, I am from an artistic family. My dad was an architect, and he loved art. He said that he would have loved to be a painter if having the chance, but he had to support a family and architecture was a more secure career to do so. Also, I was exposed to great art at home because my dad collected art and after elementary school I decided to pursue art. For me, it was a very organic and natural process the way I got into art. 

C.F.: So, there is not a specific turning point when you decided ‘okay, I want to be an artist’?

D.N.: No, there are, maybe, a few beautiful moments that pushed me such as the first time I saw Van Gogh’s self-portrait in Paris and I cried. But again, I can’t say that was the only reason why I wanted to be an artist. I went to all the museums with my dad, so I’ve always been very exposed to the artistic industry, and I’ve been educated to appreciate art since I was little. Art surrounded me, everywhere.

C.F.: Do you need to go to University in order to become a good artist?

D.N.: No! Some artist didn’t go to University and they self taught everything they knew. However, I do think it is good to have a base when it comes to techniques as well as art history. Also, when you are at school, the professors are all the time criticizing what you do and from that you learn how to get constructive feedback and keep pushing yourself to become a better artist.

C.F.: You just said that you cried when you saw that Van Gogh’s painting. Is that what art is about, for you?

D.N.: Yes, art is about emotions. Art is very emotional but to feel that emotion you also need to know the story behind the piece.

C.F.: Is that artistic sensitivity or ability to understand art something that we can learn, or is this something that we are born with?

D.N.: I think everybody feels something so, for me, it’s a matter of being exposed to the right piece.

C.F.: What artistic movement you’ve always gravitated towards or have a particular sympathy with?

D.N.: Figurative art. Modigliani was my favorite artist for a very long time, and Giacometti is still one of my favorites.

C.F.: Do you thing the digital era is turning the artistic industry into something more artificial?

D.N.: Art is still art. I think you can produce art with Photoshop, and this could turn into a fantastic masterpiece, as long as it has a story behind. 

C.F.: Now modern art is freer than ever before and sometimes it ‘s hard to come up with an interpretation of the pieces showcased in museums and art galleries. Meaning that if the art is too abstract, how can we tell if it’s good art or it is just something random that the artist came up in five minutes?

D.N.: For everybody, conceptual art is difficult to understand if you don’t know the story behind the piece. You need first to know the story, and then you’ll be able to appreciate it.

C.F.: How does the process of setting up the price of a piece of art works?

D.N.: First of all, you need to know the story behind the piece and, more importantly, the story of the artist. How did the artist get to that? You need to know the evolution from the very beginning to be able to know how valuable is that piece. You are paying for the story and the meaning behind it, not just for a canvas with a brush stroke.

C.F.: So, being able to appreciate art is all about education? Can everybody understand art as long as they know the story and have the right information about the piece and the artist?

D.N.: I believe you can educate people. It’s about being exposed to art, and going to museums and exhibitions. It is probably more challenging to spread that genuine interest towards art, but once they are exposed they will be more willing to learn more, and the more you know about something, the more you love it.

C.F.: You have showcased your work in numerous exhibitions in Europe, Canada and in the U.S. Do you find any differences in how people approach and interact with art in these places?

D.N.: Personally, I haven’t seen that much of a difference as for me art is about emotions, and that is a universal language. I was lucky enough to attract the right people wherever I was showcasing my pieces, and their reaction was unbelievable. People told me they had goose bumps when looking at some of my work, and that has happened in entirely different places and continents. University brings you the opportunity to experiment with different techniques and after that, you can decide which one you want to go for. You need to find yourself as an artist and, to do so you need to have a base and try as many techniques as possible, and from there you take off.

C.F.: Do you also have that feeling when looking at your own pieces?

D.N.: Yes, you just need some time. When you are working, you are not aware because you are focused on the process and following your instinct. After two or three weeks, you put the art on the wall and, if it’s the right piece, you feel that ‘Oh, wow!’.

C.F.: Do you think you are critical with your work? Is it difficult to be objective with something that you create yourself?

D.N.: It is very difficult. You need to take some distance to be more objective with your own work because you are the one who is creating.

C.F.: Do you ask other people’s opinion before you select your pieces for your exhibitions?

D.N.: No, I usually know when I create a good piece. I just need some time to get that perspective and make sure that it feels right to me. Sometimes, even at that moment, you don’t like it and, after a few weeks, you look at it and realize that is amazing. As an artist, my expectations of myself are very high, so I always want to do more and better and, at some point, I just need to stop and be able to identify which pieces are the right ones.

C.F.: Your style has drastically evolved since you started making art. How do you feel when you look at some of the work you did at the beginning of your career?

D.N.: It is an amazing and beautiful feeling. It is really interesting seeing how you have evolved as an artist and how the different stages of your life are projected through your work.

C.F.: Have you ever got a negative feedback from your work? How did it feel? A piece of art that you create it’s almost like your kid so, do you get offended if the response is not the one you were expecting?

D.N.: No! I’ve been very lucky and that has never happened to me. I’ve always got amazing reactions.

C.F.: When you started experimenting with photography, did you know where were you going, or you just went with the flow?

D.N.: No, I think, in general, artist they don’t know where they are going. We start at one point but the process develops on its own. It is beautiful to see how things evolve but, from the artist side, it is more about going with the flow. There is no recipe for art so you can’t plan how the process is going to evolve and work.

C.F.: Would you like to share a piece of advice for up-and-coming artists?

D.N.: It is talent and a lot of hard work. You need so much time for art because it becomes your life. You give your whole life to that, you can’t do art while talking on the phone or looking for something in the Internet. You close yourself because you have to be in your own world so you create a bubble so nobody from the outside can touch you and distract you from your creative process. And also, if you believe in yourself, you have to follow that dream and never give up. Pursue your passion and if you work hard, it will come.

C.F.: What is your dream as an artist?

D.N.: Keep making people feel emotions when looking at my art. That is the biggest dream an artist can aim for. Seeing that sparkle in their eyes is the best reward ever.