The workplace is the sacred universe of the artist. It is where the magic happens, where the gems are created. Today, let’s have a look inside the artistic mind of Ana Pusica, born in Serbia and living in Germany.
I come from a country that changed its name four times since I was born. This fact makes it evident that we are having some issues down there, which influenced my childhood a lot. My parents say I was a happy kid, even at the edge of being too annoying. Luckily that changed with rapid speed when I went to school. Oh boy, that was real hell. I think I even stopped speaking, and my quietness and discomfort came to a level on which my father begged me to take a stone and smash a school window or something! But I was a child with a plan. I would spend all my free time drawing or painting in my room. I don’t know where I got that need, because we lived in an embargo, I couldn’t see art anywhere, we didn’t have any art magazines, and I didn’t know anyone who was an artist. But I was obsessed! In fifth grade, I knew my town wasn’t contributing to my development, so at the age of 15, I went to an art high school in the north of Serbia. After finishing it, it was clear that if I wanted to turn my passion for art into my profession – and not just to have it as a hobby on the side – I needed to leave the country. Cruel but true. I waited for two years to get a tourist visa for Germany so that I could take part in the entrance exam at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich. That year my professor took three students, and I was one of them. Studying art was a long time dream that turned out to be better than I expected.
Career and education
Sometime after I got my diploma at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, my former class professor said to me: “Ana, I am stunned that you are still so productive!” I couldn’t understand – what are people thinking? That after more than eleven years of studying art, I was joking? Art is not just being creative, having the talent to make something out of nothing. It’s a full commitment. It is a life where you struggle much more with the question of “sense” than in any other profession. No boss is telling you what is to be done every day. And if you think that this is the cool thing: you don’t know how much strength it takes to put yourself in order, every morning, every minute. And all that in full uncertainty of what will happen and what is smart to do. What is important to me in this life is to continue working with my full strength while doing it with a happy heart.
Many times I talked about the moment when I could finally travel and be able to enter the prominent museums and galleries. To have a possibility to see art, in reality, read endlessly about it and interact with it. I was 25 when I saw for the first time Tizian, Velázquez, Cézanne, Mondrian! I can learn very fast from just looking and observing. That’s why visiting exhibitions is significant for my working process. First, I need to understand, analyse why I am painting something, and what connotation that has in terms of the historical and cultural context. Only after that comes the question: “how can I communicate and express that?”
Styles, technique and materials
I consider myself very brave. My courage allows me to have an “all or nothing at all”-mentality. The idea of big in every way is burning in my stomach. People or even colleagues are frequently asking me what I am going to do with all the paintings I am producing. Or how I imagine making a living with the decision to focus on formats not smaller than three meters. I always say to myself: if I have a wall big enough to paint them, somewhere, there will be a wall big enough to hang them.
With my latest sequence of work “Persian Orange” I started a project of painting just one format all year long. I chose it to be 300 cm high and 190 cm wide. Pure exhibitionism! Brave, unprofitable and mind-opening. The title “Persian Orange” comes from a specific colour tone, which every picture of this series contains. This particular series has put me in a different state of mind. Working on a few large paintings at the same time opened up my energy flow, and this year I did my best works so far.
The fact is that money has nothing to do with it. You can notice that if you follow my work and you can feel it when you talk with me. I give you a certain feeling of trust. And trust is always right. The sizes of my paintings are enormous. And at first sight, these formats seem to be unprofitable. No chance that they fit above your sofa. With my colour palette and dimensions of the canvas, indeed, I am reducing my public right away from the beginning—the same with galleries. Let me tell you how I think: I want the most significant possible canvas I can fit in the room where I work, and on that canvas, I like the most prominent likely figure to fit on. I don’t care about the rest. Because I believe in my work so strong, when it comes to selling the question of being practical in art or the price is not the topic.
Let me tell you a bit more about my latest series “Persian Orange”. They are a group of self-portraits presented in pulsing pink, flashing yellow and with dripping colour effects. I started the series in 2020, and it contains ten large-scale paintings in the format 300 x 190 cm and 20 works in the format 60 x 50 cm. The process of repeating the same motive several times has something almost spiritual and seductive. Working on multiple paintings at the same time frees you from all the unnecessary factors that are interrupting the act of painting to become more instinctive and intuitive. When you are repeating one motive over and over again, the reason is transforming into energy, and it is changing its meaning. My sequence of work always starts with a careful selection of the photo that I use as a basis. This time, however, I changed my routine and made a few selfies shortly before hitting the canvas with colour. You can see immediately that the works were created in “one breath” out of pure emotion.
Beliefs and lifestyle
It’s about doing it. It’s about the action! In my work, I choose to communicate with colour, and the process of applying pigment on the canvas is my subject. What comes out as a product of the process is art, but the attitude behind the action is telling the story. The story itself is reflecting the poetry of my inner world, which is a mixture of memories, ideas, and quotations from my favourite authors. Paintings are not more than an expression of my subjectivity.
I am somebody who struggles a lot with keeping my ego quiet. There is the need I have to impress with what I am doing. Whenever somebody asks me about the purpose, or why I choose art or why I paint, I answer: “because I can!” If we look at art as a documentation of energy, then the truth is very selfish and straightforward. The vital need to extend my existence is pushing me forward.
I got the satisfaction of the commitment to colours. Coffee. Space. Hot baths. Clean bedsheets. Sun. Rain. Snow. Pure wood. Stone. Bright grey. Books. Cy Twombly. Christopher Wool. Sean Scally. Green tea. By 9:00 latest I am in the studio. Then I sit there for a good hour and right after that, I am hitting the colour on the canvas. I have a lunch break with my husband and continue to work until 17:00, 18:00. When I have good days in the studio, I like to read after work or do some sport. But when I haven’t a very productive one, I am watching TV in bed. I don’t know about you, but I think it is fucking awesome! I am thinking of myself being incredibly privileged. You see, I never had an issue with what I want to do in life or how I want to live. I feel deep compassion for people who are confronted with that topic. My profession is the most important to me, and next to the artist’s struggle, it is making my life very easy somehow.
Good biographies or autobiographies are something beautiful to me as a topic. Since forever, I’ve been interested in figures that made a massive impact on our lives and their destinies. Extraordinary achievements in any field are claiming my attention. I like to read about that or watch it on a big screen. And if it is something that moves me, I can think about that always.
Munich is my home. I belong here. One of the greatest decisions I made is moving here. It’s amazing how people accepted me, as Bavaria has an image of being extremely hard to fit in. Mostly it is not even your decision, it is just a fact that they don’t want you, hahaha. Being an artist is a very cool thing when it comes to “it doesn’t matter where you are coming from and what you did before”, but very uncool when it comes to paying the bills.’