Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A Gift to Last a Lifetime

Ana's Thought: "Make each day a Great Appointment with Destiny."
Of all the offerings man can give, there is none greater than the gift of joy. In my art and in my actions, I aspire to create positivity and send it throughout the world, where it may find its way to hearts in need. It is for this reason that I am so proud to announce my latest outreach operation, Ana's Children.
Young students admire Ana Tzarev's art at her Children's Workshop in Santralistanbul.

Ana's Children was developed to support those who dedicate themselves to bettering the world for our youths, particularly girls. The program's first action is to offer a $1 million grant to Pratham, whose exceptional work in providing and protecting education in India is unparalleled. Through this donation, 10,000 young girls will be afforded the chance to grow strong and blossom into their greatest potential through guaranteed access to higher learning.
The cause of providing a safe path to education for girls in need is one that resonates with me deeply, as that same struggle is present in my own life story. It shaped me in powerful ways. Growing up in a land fractured by war and touched by oppression, I was told that seeking schooling was a waste because I was a girl. When all seemed shrouded in a dark veil and opposition rose before me, I held fast to hope and trusted in my own worth, working as hard as I could to achieve my dreams.
Within the spirit of every child lives a bright spark - the glimmer of promise hinting at potential we could hardly begin to imagine. If nurtured by tender hands and sheltered from life's harsh winds, this spark will ignite their hearts with the flames of passion. Only then can they become instruments of true greatness.
When we find goodness at work in this vast and complex world, we must not bottle it up and hide it away - it is a treasure of far greater value when it is shared. For those of us who have been graced with the good fortune to chase after our desires, it is so important that we return that same goodness to the world. Through Ana's Children, I share my life's blessings with those who are longing for their moment to shine. By supporting girls and women worldwide, I know the brightness in their hearts will blaze on as beacons of hope, illuminating a brilliant future for all people.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Art Blooms in a Changing World

Ana's Thought: "Artist, your greatest success will come through your greatest difficulties."
This past week, I was delighted to unveil the latest branch of my growing Love & Peace Campaign: a mobile app designed to connect people with art - and with each other - in a brand new way.
The Love & Peace app encourages art lovers in locations around the world to exchange their experiences, united by their personal interactions with these vibrant flower sculptures. They may discover a Love & Peace poppy blooming in London, Prague, Venice, Singapore, or New York, catching their eye as they go about their day. Those who stop to take a picture, send a message to their loved ones, or jot down their thoughts are the ones who are truly writing the story of Love & Peace. I feel as though I have given the world a book with a thousand blank pages, and each Love & Peace Campaign participant is an author of its beautiful history.

In creating the flowers for Love & Peace, I have been richly blessed with many lessons about life as an artist in the modern age. In sharing three of these pearls of insight, I hope to offer strength and inspiration to those who aspire to create.
• The wise artist faces challenges with confidence and adapts.
Do not let yourself grow complacent, for great challenges are what keep your mind sharp and your heart eager to move. The artist is born to bring wonders into the world, and timidity will only serve to stifle your unique voice. Mistakes are part of your journey, and you will be a greater artist for overcoming them. Never surrender to fear when success beckons you on!

• The harshest words of a critic pale against even the smallest compliment. 
Let every kind word stoke the embers of your motivation. As you create - and especially when you are struggling to find the will to create - focus on the joy your work will bring to friends and strangers alike. Those who try to stop you with their words fail to realize the purity of your effort. You are a force of good in a world thirsting for your gift.

• The creator may fade, but her ideas are eternal.
Innovation can strike in any moment, at any age: you must always be vigilant for the flash of inspiration, or it will pass you by. Make the choice to live as though each moment holds your chance to shine - when the world takes notice, you will not be unprepared. Remember that each creation you offer is part of your legacy, a gift that will live for all time to delight the unborn generations.

Follow Ana Tzarev on Twitter: www.twitter.com/anatzarev

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Love Alive in Art: Moved by a World In Bloom

In this series of articles, I explore the history of love as depicted through art. The fourth installment focuses on historical and artistic examples of the love of nature.
Ana's Thought: "My Art celebrates the Beauty of this World."
In my life as an artist, I have never needed to look further than my own garden for inspiration. I could fill ten thousand canvases with the marvels our magnificent Earth so graciously gives. The very thought of such incredible Design makes my heart overflow with unparalleled joy - how blessed we are to live among its ceaseless gifts! Within Nature blooms every hue the imagination can conceive, far more colors than one could capture in a lifetime of creating.
My own Love in Bloom.

I am but one part of a rich tradition of painters who have filled their palettes with the vibrant notes of Nature. The Great Mother Earth is a master of Art, and mankind's most skilled artists have all been students of her patient tutelage. From Van Gogh's windswept fields and Monet's serene waters to Franz Marc's jaunty creatures and Dürer's phenomenal biological studies, a profound Love of the natural world has carved the way for enduring brilliance. These works speak to all people, as the language of natural beauty is universal.

Details from works of Van Gogh and Dürer.

There is sweetness in knowing that there are always more wonderful things waiting in the world outside our walls. For every gem that we are blessed enough to find, countless others remain to be discovered. It is the Wonder of the unknown that gives us constant hope. Passion drove curious spirits like Ernest Shackleton, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Jacques Cousteau from charted terrain into the enchantment and allure of the unfamiliar. They strove not for fame or material gain, seeking instead to lose themselves in the immensity of this fantastic planet. Their Art was living fully, and their great Love was for Nature.
Detail from The South Polar Times, a collaborative illustrated periodical created by Ernest Shackleton and Edward A. Wilson.

Nature has been a guiding force for great men from all walks of life - scientists, philosophers, inventors, composers, authors, sculptors, and so many others have turned to the outside world to spark innovation. It provides for us the materials and the ideas we need not only to live, but to flourish. Ralph Waldo Emerson gained acclaim for his meditations on Transcendentalist belief, a way of thinking in which spirituality is tied directly to Nature. One of his truest quotes was, "Love of Beauty is Taste. The Creation of Beauty is Art." In all people is the power to be moved by Nature's beauty to create something greater than ourselves. May we grow to respect and Love the selfless offerings of our beautiful Earth, and be blessed with a bounty of inspiration and enjoyment of each precious day.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Love Alive in Art: Love Beneath the Banner of Patriotism

In this series of articles, international artist Ana Tzarev explores the history of love as depicted through art. The third installment focuses on representations of patriotic love.
Ana's Thought: "The Mind of a Nation is seen through its Art."
The love of one's homeland has long lived among the most moving kinds of passion. To stand up for your beliefs - freedom, justice, equality - and to defend the people and places who represent these principles is truly noble, creating a bond that little can break. But such strong conviction may come at a cost - a fact that Art throughout the ages acknowledges and reflects.
Patriotic Love has touched my life in profound ways. I grew up in the shadow of a tremendous giant, the Second World War. My childhood was cast into its darkness; it was only through persistence that I survived and was able to bloom. It was Patriotic Love that took the lives of family members and friends, those who fought in battle and those who were lost as casualties. I chose to make my Love & Peace sculptures poppies, the symbol of remembrance, to honour all who have been taken from us by the grip of war. I hope to turn the heaviness of loss into something beautiful, beacons to inspire harmony among all nations.
One of Tzarev's Love & Peace flowers, on display in Prague until 31 August 2013.

When Patriotic Love breeds a desire for selfish gain, it leads to the downfall of many great men; Caesar, Napoleon, and Alexander the Great all fell sway to its allure. It can cause the corruption of spirit seen in leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco. They would twist and distort Art to fit with their ideals, using it to produce propaganda and forbidding all that challenged their vision. In the face of such oppression, Patriotic Love shines most brightly in Art: when voices are silenced, images speak boldly.

An example of wartime propaganda juxtaposed against an anti-propaganda piece by collage artist John Heartfield.

Although Patriotic Love has given history some of its villains, it also has produced many heroes. Countless figures strove to protect what they held dear, in the true spirit of patriotism. They are the ones who are preserved in legend, captured by Art so that they may inspire generations. When I think of Patriotic Love, my mind does not focus on tragedy. I envision the strength and glory of works like Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David. There is grace to be found in such devotion - and that is something people of all lands can admire.

Detail from David's Oath of the Horatii.

Love is a force whose power is unrivaled. It is a coursing current guided by a Divine hand, and no obstacle can stop its endless flow through the Universe. Like any great power, it can be harnessed for both goodness and harmful purposes. Love is meant to unite us, not divide us. We must handle something so magnificent with respect and care. When we express feelings of Love for the countries we call home, may we also celebrate the unique treasures that each land possesses, preserving them through Art as a gift to the world.

Follow Ana Tzarev on Twitter: www.twitter.com/anatzarev