Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Love Alive in Art: Between Form and Function, A Desire for Design

Ana's Thought: "Artist, be brave! Go and make the most of what you do best!"

Every person you encounter has his or her own idea of what can be considered art. I personally believe that art exists everywhere - to uphold constraints is to deny yourself of so much magnificence!

In recent weeks, my Love & Peace flowers have found their way into conversation with another facet of art: fashion. A number of publications, including Dolce Vita and Cosmopolitan, have used the sculptures' bright, glimmering petals as inspiration for their couture editorials. The history of fine art and high fashion has been woven together over centuries, bound by a mutual core: their fascination with beauty.

Around the world, clothing has provided man with far more than warmth and protection. It has played a key part in religious ceremonies, rituals, and performances, leading to creations as varied as can be. The pigments we use in fine art today can trace their lineage to the dyes discovered to colour fabric!

Detail from Ana Tzarev's Shinosuke (Genji Monogatari).

One of the most striking examples of art and fashion bound together can be found in Asian history. Japan's elegant, incomparable kabuki theatre is celebrated for its fantastic garments; costumes define characters and are splendid to behold. The nation's tradition of artful attire has played a great role in the expressive style of their contemporary culture, which has set the standard for cutting-edge design.

One of the most famed fashion designers was hailed for her artful work and artful life. Coco Chanel was a revolutionary in the world of couture, defying the standards of her day and reinventing notions of popular styles with innovation and grace. She freed women from the grip of corsets, opening doors to a new universe of creative potential.

Style icon and fashion revolutionary Coco Chanel.

Chanel was an inspiration to me as a young, art-minded fashion designer. Her life and legacy taught me to never let the expectations of others stifle my ideas. As I traveled the world to study the art and style of so many regions, the spark to create grew brighter within me. My career in couture paved the way for what was to come - a unique, passionate, expressive, colourful, and all-absorbing life of beauty in art.

Artists and readers, inspiration can be found in the most surprising places. Never let fear or
convention prevent you from exploring your potential - within you lies the ability to transcend, reinvent, and change the world!

Love Alive in Art: Inspiration Takes Hold of the Artist's Slumbering Heart

Ana's Thought: "To create is to give birth to your Dream."

Though the waking world is ripe with ideas waiting to be harvested, there are few places so sweetly laden with inspiration as our dreams. Such wonders spring forth to enchant our sleeping souls! The limits of the day slip off easily, and we are left to explore the infinite fascinations of the unconscious realm. Dozens of my works are inspired by dreams - I even have a collection of works named Dreaming! From peaceful reverie to jarring night terror, creative spirits throughout the ages have found themselves frequent patrons of the mind's nightly theatre.

Detail from Indigenous art at Australia's Barramundi Rock.

Among the earliest-known artists to tell stories from dreams were the Indigenous peoples of Australia. Dreaming is a foundation of their culture - their creation story, from which many of their great traditions emerged, is known to the world as Dreamtime. During this sacred era, the universe took shape by the great Creator spirit's hand and the world they came to know was born. The mythical Dreamtime is present in their most widely recognized art forms: painting and engravings on rocks, their celebrated dot paintings, and with the music and dances of their songlines. To this day, Australian indigenous art remains a stirring blend of spirituality, dreams, and nature.

Detail from Magritte's Time Transfixed.

As the science of sleep and of dreams gained acclaim in the early 20th century, the world was changed - the art world being no exception! Taking cues from the emerging psychological studies of Freud and the rise of popular science, a number of truly original artists turned to the mythical mind to find their subjects. Breton, Magritte, Dali, and many others sought to match artistic prowess with visual intrigue, creating paintings and sculptures that echoed the fantastic kingdom of dreams. The movement, known to all time as Surrealism, had a profound impact on the culture of its day and on the direction of modern art as a whole.

Detail from Ana Tzarev's La Vie en Rose.

Despite centuries of deriving our ideas from dreams, the well of inspiration is of a depth beyond measure; we shall never be left dry. The art and science of dreaming is becoming more vivid with time, as organizations like the International Association for the Study of Dreams seek to explore both the creative and concrete sides of this universal phenomenon.
Even the most resourceful, innovative creators may sometimes find themselves at a loss of where to turn. Should the waking world become obscure to you, Artist, seek clarity in your dreams - they hold insight into your creative flow and show you how effortlessly your next masterpiece can be born!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Love Alive in Art: Artists as the Body's Cartographers

Ana's Thought: "Art that has beauty and energy can heal your body and your soul."
For centuries, healing and art have been intertwined, forces of energy that exist both within and beyond us. I have long held to the belief that the creation and enjoyment of art has the power to restore. Within my own life, I turn to painting as a salve for my ills. Art is the clear communicator between our bodies and our souls.

The human body is a fantastic creation in itself, undoubtedly the first subject of man's art and one of its most enduring. There are so many unique aspects of the physical body, twists and turns to be endlessly explored. It is separate but linked to the cerebral and spiritual, the realm from which the desire to create originates. These intersections played a great role in my Dreaming series, paintings in which figures test the boundaries of reality in their movements and positions.
Detail from Thomas Eakins' The Agnew Clinic.

As with all natural sciences, art has provided a lens of discovery through which understanding of health and medicine has grown. Through detailed studies of anatomy made by skilled draughtsmen, mankind gained insight into the workings of life. As scientists led explorations through the lovely universe hidden within us all, the artist's fascination grew with depicting the journey: Rembrandt and Thomas Eakins each created striking works from their observations of anatomy lessons, capturing the very moment that knowledge of the body was shared.

The great men whose works moved the world of medicine forward have been praised through the art of the ages. Countless artists from Rubens to Girodet have depicted Hippocrates, the Father of Western Medicine famed for his revolutionary philosophy of pathology. Albert Edelfelt painted a magnificent portrait of Louis Pasteur, whose invaluable efforts led to the reduction and eradication of several diseases. In creating such masterpieces, artists express their love and appreciation for flourishing innovation.

Detail from Damien Hirst's Anatomy of an Angel.

The art world's curiosity about the workings of the body persists to this day. Damien Hirst has incorporated anatomy into several sculptural works, from a towering, vibrant study of organ systems in bronze (Hymn) to the juncture of physical and spiritual, modern and classical (Anatomy of an Angel). Over thousands of years, our sense of wonder about the ways of the body has only grown - and as long as we find new questions to ask, our art will seek the answers!

Love Alive in Art: The Artist's Ardor Springs from Nature

Ana's Thought: "Let Nature, in her wisdom, be your teacher."
"I love humanity, which has been a constant delight to me during all my seventy-seven years of life; and I love flowers, trees, animals, and all the works of Nature as they pass before us in time and space. What a joy life is when you have made a close working partnership with Nature, helping her to produce for the benefit of mankind new forms, colors, and perfumes in flowers which were never known before..." - Luther Burbank

In my younger days, I savored each drop of my education - every lesson was a shining gift to be unwrapped, and my mind was eager to take them in. I still recall with such clarity the day my class learned about Luther Burbank, a pioneer of agriculture and a true reveler in Nature's glory. The stories of his experiments and great success, driven by fascination with the workings of the world, resonated deeply within me.
Vivid illustrations accompanied the lesson, dazzling us with a kingdom of flowers and fruits. It was in that moment I first discovered the bridge between Art and biology, instilling in me the belief that both fields work together to expand human understanding. The seeds of inspiration were planted in my heart, and as years passed I grew into the role of an artist guided by Nature. My body of work is a testament to the ceaseless wonders we find when Nature and Art come together.
Detail from John Constable's Malvern Hall in Warwickshire.

The pages of history gleam with examples of biology and Art becoming one. As recently highlighted by the Financial Times, the tradition of landscape painting transformed into scientific exercise in the 18th century. Figures like John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner came to understand that, within Art, Nature was far more essential than mere background for dramatic scenes - narratives could be found within shifting skies, wild seas, and eroding stones. By taking a closer look at their surroundings, these scientist-artists developed a depth of feeling in their work that had never been reached before.

Drawings of Darwin's famous finches

Visual Art communicates clearly when words may confound. Darwin's incredible discovery in the Galapagos Islands - the key that unlocked great secrets of evolution - was granted strength by the work of his crew's draughtsmen. The depictions of the species and locales they explored transported scholars and laymen alike into a new plane of understanding. Hooke's brilliant illustrations showed mystery unfolding in fine detail, with cells changing from invisible, uncertain objects to something far more tangible. When scientists wish to make their ideas concrete, they find their answers in Art.
Through the language of Art and a common love of natural beauty, all people can share the revelations of science. With your curiosity and your talent to guide you, what will be your legacy for our time?