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Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.

I am Vesna Vrdoljak, 44 years old. Half Dutch, half Croatian. I am married, and I have a daughter and a son.

I am a self-taught artist, working with paper. I make collages, cutting with scissors or knife and pasting with glue. I work with old paper, magazines and books, preferably from the 1940s-1970s. I use pictures, details of pictures, blank and faded book pages, bits of book covers, postcards and other found pieces of paper. I like the look and feel of old paper with its visible structure and marks of its past.

I find my inspiration mostly in nature; mountains, the sea and rocks. When searching for material, I look for example for pictures of nature, colors of flowers and plants. I feel drawn to architectural lines and the shapes of furniture. But just as much to saturated backgrounds, colors and shadows of objects.

Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?

Before becoming an artist I have been working in different fields of art and film, doing mostly marketing.
When my daughter was a baby, I was at home a lot having time to explore my tendencies to create. Later, when taking myself more seriously as an artist, I found myself struggling to claim space and time in order to be able to create. I think, it is typically female to find it hard to stand up for oneself, especially if there is no guarantee of earning money. 

Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?

Louise Bourgeois. Her persistence to work and raise her children, while she was suffering from depression and anxiety at the same time, is to me very compelling. Bourgeois believed that ‘art is a guarantee of sanity’ and for me it feels the same.
Lou Doillon. She is rock and roll and classic at the same time. I love her style and her simple little drawings.
I very much admire Madonna who is still standing after so many years and following her own path.
Rineke Dijkstra’s honest and raw portraits of women and girls. 
Tracy Emin, her boldness and confessional artwork. 
Patti Smith, an icon.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?

Most challenging is combining motherhood with being an artist. In an ideal world I would work whenever I feel inspired but in practice, I reserve blocks of time for working. It can be frustrating if there is no inspiration during that reserved block, but on the other hand it prevents me from lingering for hours in the studio. But I do find it hard to commit to the division of the domestic and artistic.

What would you like people to notice in your artwork?

I would like people to appreciate my minimal touch. But most of all I would like them to notice my heart in the work. I have noticed that the pieces that truly carry my heart - as little or minimal they might look at first glance - are the most appreciated by the viewer. I love that.

Vesna is wearing our AITA and VANTASIC dresses.