Vanessa Beaderstadt-Crepulja is an experimental artist who works with a variety of mediums to achieve an unusual and exciting look to her work.
Working on stretched and unstretched canvas, her typical mediums include oil, acrylic, and watercolor. She also incorporates mixed media into her more traditional work to create a unique and modern effect. Her success in the past few years has granted multiple awards, stipends, and recognitions.
Vanessa was kind enough to talk to us about her artwork and life in Chicago.
Hi Vanessa! What brought you to Chicago? Are you originally from Chicago? If so, what kept you here? If not, why did you relocate and where from?
I was born and raised in the suburbs. When I was 18 I relocated to Florida to study Visual Arts and Psychology at Eckerd College, a small liberal arts college. During those years I really found myself as an artist. A little while after I graduated I came back to Chicago for the great opportunities and adventures it offers. A huge part of my inspiration comes from curiosity and the need for adventure. Changing locations, and therefore your everyday experiences, is a great resource for inspiration.
In order to fully experience a city like Chicago you have to swallow as much experience as you can and let it reside within you until it fully digests. You must let it hibernate in order to call that place your home.
However, it is also important to maintain the momentum of adventure. Especially for myself as an artist, what most inspires me is the wonderment of what is beyond my own experiences, and the need to take in as many new adventures as I can. So after two years in the city, I have become hungry again. I can wholeheartedly say that nothing in particular keeps me in the city. Each morning I wake up and think that it could possibly be my last, and thus begin a new adventure.
If you had to describe your work to a blind person, how would you do it?
I would describe my work as modern expressionism, with a focus on figurative nudes. My work involves a lot of color, and is painted with an intrinsic emotional fluidity. I like soft lines counteracted by harsh ones, dark shadows overwhelmed by vibrant highlighted contrasts, and detailed fragments opposed by vague impressions. Any piece of my work is only complete after the emotion that initially created it has completely left my system and has been transferred onto the canvas.
Of the mediums in which you create, what medium do you prefer and why?
My favorite medium is oil on canvas. Not only does it create the most beautiful effects, but it facilitates completely different reactions, depending on what stage it is at in the drying process. So many times I hear artists complain that it is a difficult medium. It is a challenge trying to discover the true nature of it, and it takes a lot of patience. In my opinion, it takes years of working with oil paint in order to truly understand it. Once you establish a knowledge of it, beautiful things can be done.
What was the first moment when you realized you are capable of making an art career for yourself?
I struggle with this idea every day. There is a fine line between a successful artist and a starving artist, and many that I know have found creative ways to make a living as well as have time to pursue their personal art career. I have yet to find a niche for myself. As many great men say, ‘In order to be successful you must do something you love.’ Painting is the one thing I am truly passionate about. I would suffer greatly as a human if it weren’t for this artistic outlet.
Where do you draw your inspiration? - Pun slightly intended!
My inspiration comes from all sorts of unconnected events. Most of it comes from something beautiful in nature, like the leaves changing color or the sound of Lake Michigan’s waves crashing. But sometimes it is something simple like a song, an intimate conversation, or a memory. For me, inspiration is immediately translated into a color, and from there comes a line, and then a subject. My subject never turns out to be what was originally intended. The subject you have to find during the process.
What is one milestone you have set for your career that you have yet to achieve?
There are so many things I want to achieve that I have yet to even get a taste of. Success is an ever changing process, with an indefinite amount of goals and milestones. Each success is just a stepping stone for another greater success, and so on and so forth.
What is your favorite work of art by another artist and why?
"The Old Guitarist" by Pablo Picasso. My elementary school had a print of it in one of the hallways. The color, lines, and subject matter evoked an intense emotional response from me, even at such a young age. I remember staring at it. When I would visit the Art Institute and see the original I was, and still am, completely fascinated. To this day, every time I go to the Art Institute I have to force myself to step away from that painting. I get an unfinished feeling if I don’t analyze each corner and every brush stroke, viewing it as if for the first time. My strange devotion to the painting led me to an even greater fascination with Picasso.