This month, we are proud to feature Maja Ruznic, a talented and inspiring artist who is incredibly passionate about her work. We had the pleasure of attending her recent exhibition, seeing her paintings, and witnessing how well she was received by her audience. It was clear that she embodies the woman in control. Enjoy getting to know Maja.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Bosnia & Hercegovina in 1983 and immigrated to the United States in 1995 due to the war. I am an artist and my work deals with inherited trauma, folklore and mythology. My background and early memories of Yugoslavia deeply influence the work I create.
What inspired you to chose your career and become a painter? What continues to drive you?
I don’t think that I chose to be a painter. It’s something that was always in me. As a kid, I remember paying attention to things that most children found boring--clouds, sand, the way wet soil feels in your hands. I think one is born an artist and those who end up pursuing it later in life are lucky. I feel incredibly lucky.
How are you influenced by your Yugoslavian heritage?
I was eight years old when the war started in Bosnia and spent three years living in various refugee camps with my mother. The sense of being adrift is what I have taken from my experience of fleeing Bosnia and it is now the biggest theme in my art. Experiences leave stains on our psyche and I believe that my early childhood years are what pulls me to the ideas I like to explore through painting.
"I think one is born an artist and those who end up pursuing it later in life are lucky. I feel incredibly lucky. "
To see more of Maja's work visit her website here.
What does being a woman in control mean to you?
Being in control means having love and support in your life. I don’t think that it’s only a mindset. It takes a village to feel empowered. I’ve had wonderful mentors throughout my life and it’s because of them that I feel confident. Each of them has left a wonderful trace, a unique gift which helps me feel strong.
How have sports been part of your artistic life?
I ran track and field in high school and it's actually how I got into UC Berkeley. My dream was to be in the Olympics. Plagued by injuries however, I quickly shifted my focus to the arts. I find there to be many overlaps between being an athlete and being an artist. Both passions require a tremendous amount of focus, perseverance and confidence.
If you could say one thing to a young girl encouraging her to be a woman in control, what would you say?
Listen to your gut! I’d tell her that being emotional is not being crazy. I’d also encourage her to pay close attention to how she feels about things, people, situations and that by doing so--she will get closer to her Truth.
What are some of your favorite aspects of the LIA LARREA brand?
Wearing Lia Larrea makes me feel powerful. I love the long, sleek lines in her designs and the minimal aesthetic. There is something regal, androgynous and timeless about her clothes!
"I find there to be many overlaps between being an athlete and being an artist. Both passions require a tremendous amount of focus, perseverance and confidence."
Photography - Quincy Stamper