~ Painting is freedom ~

A girl with downy flapped cap, that “must have” detail of the generation inherited from the pile of values, ideals and all together “heavenly chases” of her own parents and “close relatives”, appeared before time to the appointed meeting. She was sitting at the chair squirming as if she were at the dentist’s. She was speeding up the beginning of the conversation, which was a possible indicator that she would be a little pushed to speak, because it seemed that she had been one of those who liked “to push fast to the end”. Music that slowly overcame our hosts cozy autumn saloon, tucked up with the fragrances of early coming autumn, dimmed light of delicately placed lamps, as if it were that necessary associate to relax a young woman in the lack of time. However, she pulled her cap even more to her flaming eyes.
Who is Suzana actually? It was a kind of beginning.
- From the earliest days that I remember, I was doing only the things that I was feeling, not accepting to do anything I didn’t like. Painting is something that was making me complete, that I liked. It is my freedom. Since at the age of four I started drawing and very soon my first horse in natural size appeared on the wall of my room. It is still there, always waits for me when I visit my house in Vranje, beautiful, miraculous, the one, because it is alive all the time. Fifteen years later I stopped work.
On the question: “why” she decisively responds “why is too personal question”. On the repeated question, she more willingly answers that she would never paint just for painting “it is completely spontaneous in my case”. I never know when I would paint. Simply I do not force myself , escaping from “personal”. Not before the insinuation that arts are before all possibly personal matter, Suzana Stojanović accepts. “I stopped instinctively, as I instinctively paint. The circumstances were like I felt that Ihad tostop and with that I protected somehow both painting and myself. I was suffering, but frankly my paintings were suffering too, deep down in myself, but when I returned thirteen years ago I think that it had to be like that somehow. It was a period of my maturing, a period of new perceptions. The things I see now, I could not see then, possibly I was not able to see them”.
Was that creative silence, collecting and “storing on one safe place” perception?
- I knew thatitwill happen one day again, that is why I kept silent, I collected, took care of that, although the return to painting could happen even after thirty years, or in any other unspecific period. However, I kept all palettes and a few unfinished works.
The period of silence ceases after thirteen years and preserved passion of nineteen years old girl starts to pour out. You, as a young woman started “once again”. Did something specific happen then?
- It is complex, and that sort of my silence is a new beginning. Both of them started from me, nothing from the outer world did motivate me. All was only in me. Love moves me, belief that in this world there is something more supreme, somethingclose personal”. I did not go into painting for money or fame; I paint because I like to do that. I cannot explain that, it is my world; I do not know at all how does the moment of going into painting and getting into that beautiful world looks like. Indeed, while I think when I do my drawing, I recall of that, but at the moment I have palette in my hands, everything stops and color occupies me and carries me away.
Your works belong to modern, high realism or hyperrealism. There are big disputes and very much divided thoughts on these “movements”?
- My thinking about any sort of realism, no matter which degree you give to it, is not going into details, for example, horse portrait or human portrait. It is important to represent real space, real creature-person and real part of a day. It is realism for me: all lights, shadows, reality in richness of endless lights play; it is always connected to my mood, moment when I see something in some way and how it all looks likein my head”. While I paint I do not stick to some principles, I paint how I feel. Painting is freedom. People feel that. It is love, the artist’s soul. It is something more than painting itself; it is asubjectof observation. If it is not “alive”, people can feel that, I do not know how myself, but one painting is more than a painting, it is life and freedom.
Freedom, as a universal postulate of humanity, is one high and hard objective, frequently something that cannot be realized in many spheres of creation and life. How do you reach it?
- Freedom is the courage to be what you are. To work and to do the things you truly desire to do, is very hard, but if you are ready to try, it might succeed. I do not put up with force, I work only the things I like, in which I believe and I do not have prototypes; I do not use only special palette paints, special preparations, special brushes (one of the colleagues with Academy once stopped and ecstatically said “original Van Dyke brown”, I asked him to show me that in the painting, and then I showed him the tube of ourhome madepalette paint. He did not believe!). I buy material from many producers and it is not important to me whether they are highly ranked or not, since everything is in my fingers and my head. I buy preparations mostly in bookstores, sometimes I make them myself, but I do not make a fuss about it. It does not deal with any kind of philosophy, or paints, preparations but it deals with courage itself. For a good painting it is necessary to have something more than courage alone. It is condensed and unconscious; I am conscious when I start my painting and when I sign it, everything in-between is total power of the painting over me. The process of creation is completely irrational; sometimes I create work from a single drawing, sometimes only with fingers and colors, but I do not decide upon that consciously.
Why a horse?
- They intrude somehow themselves, not with their beauty, it is possibly the last that forced me to paint them, but with their looks in the eyes, carried for centuries, as if they were collected in their glance. They simply haunt me. In their first phase, as a little girl, I painted horses too, although rarely, I draw and paint people most of all, and now, I do only horses. I will wait for some time the moment when I will recognize in people the people again, if they awake in them. Horses aretheir own”, nobody possesses them, and people are very wrong, because horses are one unceasing net of our existence. People are not consequent, free, courageous, while horses are all these things. I will soon get very myown horse”, but no one will posses anyone in that situation. I am looking forward to its coming, ourtalksand sugar cubes with which we make them happy. It will come soon, but for now it is a secret, although it will be his nameSecret”.
▪ Interview: Miraculous world or necessary sugar cube (journalist Ružica Z.N. Stojković, “Danas”, an independent daily newspaper of record, published in Belgrade, Serbia)