Kriva Palanka, 7 February 2019 (MIA) – When you peek inside Nela Cvetanovska’s studio, you are instantly captivated by the love exuding from her art pieces. She creates apples, plums, pears, rose hips and even poppies, carnations and roses from piles of amorphous material.
Cvetanovska has an art degree in painting and sculpting. She has worked as an artist and a teacher for two and a half decades.
After her first job teaching high school students in Kriva Palanka, she took up a position at an elementary school. Since 2014, she has been teaching at Hristijan Todorovski-Karpoš elementary school in Rankovce.
“As in life, so in art – the kind of energy you exude is the kind of energy you will attract. I enjoy creating my art and try to incorporate positive energy into my pieces. Besides being creative, I’m also a compassionate person. Sculpting is my specialty, but in our society, you cannot make a living out of it. I’ve developed a distinctive style of sculpting, which I use to model all my pieces. I have my way of mixing materials. I blend cement, plaster, flour, wood adhesive, and other ingredients, then shape them into art pieces. My pieces represent shapes found in nature. Nature is what inspires me, as nature is the greatest artist,” Cvetanovska says.
Her artworks are impressive in their intricate details and remarkable resemblance to the objects they are modeled on. Most of them are achromatic, although she says she uses eighty shades of grey.
“My art conveys my message that the world is not as dark as it seems, that there are grey areas as well. Commissioned to create a piece, I usually insert a detail of color in it, if the buyer so desires.
“I use the money I make from selling my works to buy new materials. My pieces are displayed in many homes in Macedonia and abroad. A lot of my relatives and close friends own paintings I have made, and they love them. I don’t know how many art pieces I have created so far, and I’m not interested in having solo exhibitions. When I create my art or when I work with my students, I’m content and at peace. I’m also thankful for my three healthy children,” Cvetanovska says.
She produces about 50 to 100 art pieces annually.
Cvetanovska is a member of DLUM, the Macedonian Artists’ Association, and her pieces, taken on loan from their owners, are regularly shown at the association’s annual exhibitions.
“I give away my favorite pieces to people I like dearly, and they later lend the pieces to exhibitions organized by DLUM. In their latest show, they displayed a large diptych of mine from my sister’s collection. My niece Ljupka also collects my pieces.
“If I were in a more prosperous society, I could be making a living from my art. Unfortunately, I can’t, but I’m happy with where I am. I could have gone abroad if I’d wanted to, but I stayed here. I lead a simple life, and my daily routines here make me the person I am,” Cvetanovska says.
She has created thousands of art pieces, yet she has had only one solo exhibition. However, her art has been shown at over 100 national and international exhibitions.
“I created my first pieces from tree roots, using my father’s tools. Roots are sinewy and difficult to work with, but quite an inspiring material because if they are in contact with the earth, they create life.
“My award-winning miniature sculptures are now displayed at the DLUM gallery, placed there to represent me and my art. These sculptures are unique. They are made of metal and represent my vision of what humankind would look like in the future.
“I’ve also given the city [of Kriva Palanka] an art piece. It’s currently displayed in the music classroom of Joakim Krčovski elementary school. I’ve also made some polyester sculptures, which I plan to put on a pedestal and give to the municipality,” Cvetanovska says.
She makes art because it makes her happy, she says, and not to seek people’s approval.
Cvetanovska has been a teacher for a long time and notes that over the years her creativity has diminished. However, she tries to pass on her love for art to her students, who have won numerous art competitions.
“You cannot control your working conditions, but you can control your mood. For me, positive thoughts and positive energy are key.
“It doesn’t matter whether I teach three or 30 children, I teach them all with the same love and passion, which shows in their work. We constantly participate in and win different competitions, submitting art pieces made from old crochet tablecloths, bottle caps, and various recycled materials. That the children create art means a lot to me; it inspires me. I don’t care about praises or awards. I value only the satisfaction their work brings me,” Cvetanovska says.
Interestingly enough, after graduating from Skopje’s art high school, she applied to the Art Academy by submitting a self-portrait sculpture named “In Memoriam.”
“Some tiny details remain to be perfected, some minor touch-ups with concrete and cement, and I will be satisfied with that piece. No one can make a better sculpture of myself than I can, because no one knows me better than I know myself.
“Every human being is a work of art created by nature, and like every work of art we move from reality into abstraction,” Cvetanovska said.
Tr. by Monika Mihajlovska