Ivana Masic Saric was born and raised in New York with roots to her family homeland in Croatia. Her mature artwork is created to heal others just as much as music is related to therapy. To her, art is music. Once you see her timeless pieces, you’ll likely have an insurmountable urge to paint because of her decorative expressionism with vivid colors and uplifting sketchings done with painting. Like kissable poetry, (done consensually, of course) peace remains the primary focus of her artwork. She has a one-of-a-kind soul with sympathy for others, participating in various humanitarian projects (for orphans in Africa, Ukraine, and Japan).
From 1996 to 2001, Ivana attended and graduated from Manhattanville College with a M. Ed (Master’s in Education), Art Teacher Education, and a B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in Business Management. She’s been added to the IMDB for her achievements in film production with the film “Affections” (in 2012 as an Art Director) and “Fatalis” (in 2012 as an actress). Ivana Masic Saric has exhibited her artwork domestically and internationally. Some places she’s exhibited are the Andrea Gallery (in Scottsdale, 2017), ‘The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery (New York City, 2017), the “Queen Art Gallery (in Cannes, 2018), and the ‘Misericordia Palace’ (Venice, 2018). To name some of Ivana’s accolades, she won the Grebstein Award (in Manhattanville College) in 1999, the “Artavita Certificate of Excellence,” The Leonardo DaVinci “Universal Artist Award” in 2018, and the “Woman’s Essence Award” in 2018.
For over 20 years, Ivana has taught Visual Arts and ever since 2001, she was an Artist and Educator, at Valhalla High School. With much training and accomplishments, she used her undying passion for creative art to teach the youth. Recently she showcased her artwork for the Contemporary Art Curator Magazine. After seeing her creative drive and bubbly personality via artwork, you may wonder how many gifted painters coexist because of her. With her art about positivity, it’s relatable, because everyone wants the feeling of acceptance, resilience, happiness, and peacefulness. Everyone wants to feel like another person loves them and Ivana is a lovable person with unforgettable artwork for everyone to remember her by.
You graduated from Manhattanville College with a Masters in Art and Education and a BFA (double major) in Business Management and Fine Art. For over 20 years, you’ve taught Visual Arts. Currently, you teach at Valhalla High School in New York. Have you ever encountered a student who paints just as well as you?
Absolutely! I have the best students on the planet. The power of expression is enduring and can be impactful. My students are talented, wise, and strong. Here is a question for you. Who else can dedicate themselves during a time of pandemic to create and learn even under unique and challenging circumstances!? I will tell you who: The artist!
When it comes to the teaching or study of painting or drawing I must say it is most important to remind young artists to have a theme or idea in mind that needs to be expressed or therefore, something that creatively comes from the heart. The benefits of studying art such as color theory techniques, history, the dynamics of tools like brushes, and other basic skills or concepts, allows images to clearly transpire and visions begin to form on the canvas or paper in ways that even surprises the artist.
“11” Acrylic on Canvas 24”36" © 2020.
Were you the teacher’s pet when you were a student in school?
I don’t think so. As a student, I was shy and very modest. Although grateful and inspired to learn, I was intimidated by the teachers.
”Archangel Michael” Acrylic on Canvas 24”x36 ©. 2020. All Rights Reserved.
Your paintings are vibrant with a mixture of dreamlike eroticism and spiritualism. I can imagine that you’re a horror buff, knowing you were the Art Director for the romance/ horror film, “Affections.” Is there in any way that you attempt to use the genre of horror to incorporate in your paintings?
“Oh, the horror!” Believe it or not, I am more of a Disney fan than a horror film buff! It’s funny that you mention that film. I actually was hesitant to take part in that project. You can ask my husband, he knows I love comedy, romance, musicals, and documentaries. But, regardless, I was helping some close talented friends and I had the greatest and most stimulating, memorable time working together creatively and collaborating on the “Affections” film along with other movies, music videos, and features. It is a remarkable experience working with other artists because you can always learn something new and create a work of art that inspires others in various ways.
“Conversations in the Rain” Acrylic on Canvas 4'x6 ©. 2020. All Rights Reserved.
You were an Art Director for “The Last Automat Press” in New York. There, you designed over 30 book covers. Has your artistic transition helped you and if so, in what ways?
“The Last Automat Press” was such a wonderful project and I was honored to take part. Each book that I design is so unique, exclusive, and has a cunning voice and overarching theme. When someone gives you permission to create a meaningful cover, then the actual visual is always remembered and justified. Just like a tattoo design, this is uniquely and strikingly imprinted. I am proud of these creative endeavors; from poetic books to rhythmical record covers to outstanding billboards and memorable tattoos because it is all about collaborating visions that bring peace or satisfaction to relay a visual message.
Are there any references that you use before painting? Do you plan what you want to paint by making sketches, jotting down notes, and/or taking pictures?
Music is one of my exquisite motivators. When I vividly paint in the moment, there is usually a specific theme or commissioned project idea that I need to complete. I sketch and plan while intentionally finding the music that stimulates the theme of the art I want to create. I sketch in fine charcoal, pastel, or pencil yet there are times that I collage photographs, or previous sketches to create a balanced composition and this encompasses my vision. But, honestly, things change once I am working on the picturesque canvas and for that I am grateful because it is always an untold graceful story that is waiting to be shown.
“Looking Out My Window” Mixed Media on Paper 18”x24 ©. 2020. All rights Reserved.
Your paintings are romantically revealing of the male and female anatomy. They introduce harmonious vulnerability and a sense of peace. Does the process of creating ever get you lonely?
Actually, it does quite the opposite. I am lonely without art. The creative process nurtures me and allows me to reach a state of balance in multi-dimensional ways.
According to destig.com, when asked, “What is unique about your work,” you talked about your work being a connection to music and expression to what music looks like. You’ve mentioned listening to different types of music. It’s as though you’re trying to create your own version of synesthesia. When you’re painting, how do you choose which song you’ll paint? Do you envision musical notes in your head?
I believe that the study of art allows a person to appreciate, learn, connect or listen to something that is created. This experience exudes a feeling, an emotion, or a memory. Personally, music or sound has power and links to my mood and furthermore, the colors I paint help to express that vision as a whole. When I paint, I don’t envision musical notes in my head, but I do feel emotions that connect to colors and sounds that I want to express. Perhaps it’s because I also enjoy playing music on the guitar and piano or singing, but when I can feel the right vibe through the music then I can paint harmonious fluid forms that satisfy me artistically and aesthetically. For example, I hear Jay-Z when I look at an abstract non-objective piece I created. I can hear Mozart when I look at a Rodin inspired anatomy drawing. I can hear Gilmour, Ludvig, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jeff Buckley, Ozzy, Mary J. Blige, Piaf, Howlin’ Wolf... I can hear Pantera, Depeche Mode, Oliver Dragojevic, etc… the list goes on. But mostly, while I create, I also make sure to be centered and inspired and music helps me stay connected to my creative task.
In your painting called, “Conversations in the Rain,” from a distance, it looks like a charcoal piece and close up, it looks like an acrylic piece. Is this done intentionally?
Actually, yes! My first version of this unique painting was done in charcoal and watercolor on paper. I woke up in the middle of the night to depict a dream and the closest art materials I had were charcoal and paper. Later in the morning I added poetic details and loose watercolor based on the faint muted pastel tonal values I thought represented the original vibe of the painting. A couple years later, I was asked to paint a commission piece and that sketch was in my portfolio. An owner of a Cafe in Queens, called Valentino’s, asked me to paint it to fit his wall. The acrylic painting on canvas is 6 feet wide and it is one of my favorite pieces because you never know how a dream can come true.
"Meditation" with the caption Acrylic on Canvas 24”x36 ©. 2020. All Rights Reserved.
From looking at your picturesque painting called “11,” do the two couples amorously holding each other’s hands represent the number the number 11? Sort of like 1+1, even though it doesn’t equal 11, but you teach other subjects like history, science, and math. Some people say 1+1=3. Or does “11” represent the spiritual side to the painted sketch?
I am fascinated by science, history, and nature. I enjoy exploring and reading about the relationship of numbers, discoveries, and scientific explorations by folks such as Tesla, Einstein or even Da Vinci’s studies. However, I will be honest, “11” is an original, heartfelt painting that just came to me while playing with colors and trying out the various ways that gloss medium gel mixed with acrylic paint, watercolor, and water on the rough surface of the canvas panel. The colors and textures eventually created shapes that to me looked like two human forms standing side by side. So, I exaggerated and developed those forms. When I felt the painting was complete, I stood back and thought, we are like numbers, standing side by side. One and one, each equal. 11. But stronger together. Synchronistic.
As an artist, you’re honest with who you are when you create. You seek the theme of peace in your work and actually carry yourself as a peaceful person. You’ve gotten involved with humanitarian projects for orphans in Africa, Ukraine, and Japan. You don’t mind collaborating with different artists, which shows that you aren’t always trying to take control. Were you always so enthusiastic with the theme of peace in your artwork?
This may sound cliche, but peace finds me when I find inspiration. Inspiration is key in life and when I create original art or when I teach art, I feel peace. It is my passion and I am grateful that I am an artist. There is no question that it takes courage to create, but that untold answer is what sparks and ignites life.
There may be moments now when the artist is struggling even more than ever before, but artists hold wisdom because creativity is everywhere. The creative mind links to new and unseen ways. The future is yet untold but the artist is the one who is daydreaming and already enjoying the vision that is going to bring truth.
“Olive Tree” with the caption ‘Watercolor on Paper 14”x18.’ ©. 2020. All Rights Reserved.
Are there any projects that you’re currently working on or plan on creating?
My hope is to continue to create art that brings joy, peace and a sense of hope. I am open to new endeavors. Life is so unpredictable and we need to be strong and stay united. By sharing our artful stories we don’t necessarily share every detail. No one knows everyone’s struggles, but we do open our hearts for a moment and that's also how I share a part of myself; by sharing my art. My hope is to continue to create art that brings others love and a bit of light in the moment of life.
If you want to contact Ivana Masic and/ or keep updated with her on social media, here’s her information:
Saric, Ivana Masic. Ivanamasic. “Ivana Masic Saric.” http://www.ivanamasic.com. 2021.
Saric, Ivana Masic. Twitter. “Ivana Masic Saric.” https://twitter.com/ivanamasic1. 2021.
Masic, Ivana. Facebook. “Ivana Masic- Artist.” https://www.facebook.com/ivanamasicartist/. 24, Jan. 2021.
Destig. “Saric, Ivana Masic. “Ivana Masic Saric.” https://www.destig.com/ivana-masic-saric-interview.html. 2016.