By Jillian Risberg
Among thousands of paintings, her style is instantly recognizable. Divna Pesic looks to the universe for revelation and passionately creates works of art.
“Through Divna’s artwork, the recipient will be able to create visual sounds through which they will directly communicate with their emotions and soul,” says Ana Frangovska Stojanovska, curator of National Gallery of Macedonia.
Pesic prefers people view her paintings in person if possible, at her newly opened space, Divna Pesic Art Gallery.
“I use a lot of colors, like six — and when you see the painting it’s like 3D,” she says, adding that photos don’t do it justice. “Much more expressions and 3D effects, it’s like real.”
And the abstract expressionist’s unique technique utilizes painting with her fingers.
“I use a brush only to sign my name and a spatula,” Pesic says.
She put healing energy into creating when COVID hit and we all had to quarantine.
“I was staying home with the kids the first few months and produced so many creative paintings inspired from this whole situation,” says the artist.
People are really feeling her work.
“That’s the most important part for me,” the abstract expressionist says. “It gives you more motivation to create and I think it’s for every artist who is really doing this from the heart and not just a business.”
To get going one must figure out what you want to paint and sit with that thought.
“It can take months for you to get to that point,” Pesic says. “Then to put this on the canvas it takes a few hours of course but it is a few hours that I’m not moving from the spot.”
She launched her career as a painter (oil on canvas) at just 13-years-old and has had 20 major exhibitions at home and abroad: Skopje, New York, Miami, Paris, Washington, Dusseldorf, Ljubljana and Istanbul.
“I’m inspired by Salvador Dali; the first reason I started with oil was because of Dali,” says Pesic. “And you can feel that in my painting, the combination of color; this is coming naturally.
“Before that I was just drawing with pencils, watercolors; winning awards in my country for kids, there’s a competition — my teacher also encouraged me that I need to continue.”
Her home country (Macedonia) is landlocked, bordering with Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania and according to the artist, doesn’t have many of the things we can so easily purchase in the United States.
So her father ordered art supplies from other foreign lands.
“All colors from Turkey, from Bulgaria with some friends that he had, so this is how I started,” says the abstract expressionist.
She was a very good student in primary school and high school. From there went on to graduate from the Faculty of Philology in Skopje, Department of Macedonian and South-Slavonic Languages with American Studies. Later she finished Master of Economy science in Management and Banking.
Concurrently she was also always creating.
“All my life I’m with art,” Pesic says, calling it her passion and professional hobby.
The artist is also a Macedonian sport shooter for more than 20 years, who competed in the country’s Olympic Games (2000 and 2004). She holds 37 state records in small caliber rifle and air-rifle/female and male competitions. Twice became a champion of the Balkans and ranked among the top competitors in many European and World competitions.
“I think because I’m shooting things since six-years-old because my father was coach, it’s like all the time you need to be focused on the target, train the target, you need to be so calm and patient, and I think with the art I find the way to respect myself without so much discipline and to be more free.”
With sport shooting, Pesic says you can’t shoot whenever you want.
“I’m always teaching my kids that you never aim a gun or rifle to the person, just aiming to the target,” says the abstract expressionist, who has always painted about her life.
“About life in general, of what’s happening around me; what’s happening in the world and I always consider myself a citizen of this world,” Pesic says. “In my art, every painting has a message.”
Because her paintings are surrealist and abstract, she says one will uncover some symbols and forms in them.
The abstract expressionist placed third at the World of American Art Awards with 65 countries competing with her painting, ‘Who make the Bat Bad’ (24×30/oil on canvas).
“So you will see the bat and start to think, ‘what’s behind that,’” Pesic says.
The artist says the battle between good and evil is present within her paintings, and the works have evolved with her over the years.
“When I was 13-years-old my paintings were like skies and children’s fantasies, something naive,” Pesic says. “When you’re reaching real life you can feel that in the periods of paintings that I’ve grown up.”
She has shown her work (more than 500 paintings) all over the world and here in the states, receiving accolades from the City Loft Art Gallery in Miami, and many others.
“Veni, vidi, vici, life — when she gets a canvas and her brush out; a surrealist mirage full of color and symbolisms,” says curator/owner Hans-Juergen Klemm, of Pesic’s paintings. “For all of our personal daily life issues, love, truth, jealousy, hope, deceptions, passion… full of surprising subjects, colors, energy.”
She took first place at the American Art Awards (AAA) 2017 juried by 25 best museums and galleries across the United States and was named the best abstract expressionist in the world.
Pesic placed second among ‘33 Emerging Creative Minds You Need To Know For 2011’ by Sofi Art Magazine, USA.
One of her paintings, ‘Protecting my Pride’ is owned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and hangs at Buckingham Palace.
And Pesic’s paintings were displayed on the largest video billboards in Times Square, as a selected artist from around the world by #SeeMeTakeOver Times Square 2014.
Divna Popovska purchased her first painting from Pesic a few years ago and had a wonderful experience, calling the artist kind and helpful throughout the process.
“Since I had a vision of what I wanted my piece to look like, Divna was able to work with me to design and then ultimately create the artwork. The painting sits beautifully in my dining room and everyone in my family absolutely adores it,” says Popovska, of Pope Real Estate Investments LLC.
That piece, “Macedonian Treasure” won first place in the Abstract expressionism category at the 2019 AAA.
“I was not surprised as it is absolutely stunning and definitely deserved the title,” Popovska says. “We have purchased more artwork from her since the first piece and plan to continue purchasing in the future. Divna is an amazing artist with an eye for beautiful color combinations and you can tell that each piece is meaningful and comes from the heart.”
Pesic is not politically oriented, nor does she like politics; the artist says she is just being herself.
“I want my paintings to inspire people, to wake up good things in them. This is my aim,”
To visit the new gallery in Denville, Divna Pesic Art Gallery, which is open by appointment only, call 201-658-0651.