Hi and welcome back to another week on the Chrissie Murphy Designs Blog. It seems like forever since we last had an Artist Interview! It’s been a while hey. Well I’ve been working behind the scenes, drafting some new questions, reaching out to artists. Today I am excited to share this Artist Interview with Anica Gabrovec, CZT with you. Anica is also the artist behind Zen Linea. Her work is stunning, instantly recognisable and I am honoured to have her join us on the blog this week. Let’s get into her Artist Interview.
Welcome Anica, tell me a bit about your background and how you got into Zentangle Art?
To sum it up I’d say that I was an artistic soul who was trapped in the finance field for too many years. I remember that I liked to draw when I was a kid and I always doodled something during the phone calls and meetings. My first strong interest in an art form came some 15 years ago, when I started making wire jewelry. At that time I learned the skills using Eni Oken’s awesome wire-wrapping tutorials. This infatuation lasted several years but finally my office job prevailed as I held some demanding and responsible positions which did not leave enough time or energy for creation.
Four years ago I got a strong urge to paint or draw, only I did not know where to start. By some magical coincidence, I looked up Eni again and saw that she was engaged in an art form that was basically what I’d call a structured doodling. Soon after I discovered Zentangle, I was hooked.
First I used it as a kind of tool for stress relief but it became so much more to me. I can honestly say that Zantangle was instrumental in changes that happened in my life as less than four years later, after working for 20 years mostly in corporate finance, I finally got the courage to make a career change and start my own creative business which will hopefully bloom in the upcoming months.
Where are you located and what sorts of things in your area inspire your work?
I’ve lived in Croatia my whole life. I was born in the capital, Zagreb, where I lived for almost 30 years and worked until recently. Fourteen years ago, we decided to move to a small beautiful city near Zagreb, which has a perfect balance between nature and urban qualities.
The tranquility of Samobor is certainly an inspiration and living and working there became a dream come true. I try to find peace and inspiration by simplifying my life and finding a better overall life balance. Traveling, listening to music, seeing live shows and looking at all the beautiful creations online, mainly on Instagram, are also huge sources of inspiration.
You have developed a unique style to your work, who or what would you say has been your greatest influence?
We are surrounded by so many great artists that it’s difficult to point to one greatest influence. I guess that my style is a result of looking up to many wonderful art works and trying to amplify what I loved best in my own creations.
What I regularly do and believe it’s instrumental for developing my own style is looking at my old drawings, choosing fragments that I like and drawing them again, working further at the details I love about them.
Apart from the already mentioned incredibly talented artist Eni Oken, who I’m grateful to for introducing me to Zentangle, my favorite tanglers would probably be Maria Thomas, Sylvia Liao, Natalie Plechkova and Kae Yoshino.
I’m thankful to them but also to all other tanglers I interact with online almost on daily basis for all the inspiration and support. I found that the Zentangle community is incredibly welcoming and generous, which is also a result of the virtues that the founders are promoting through their work.
Order vs Chaos as an artist. Which area do you thrive in?
Coming from the finance and accounting field, I feel that I really love order, numbers, structure. But on the other hand I was always a free spirit, a true liberal and I looked for freedom outside of my job, in travels, music, art…
I believe that the key is in finding the right balance, but as a perfectionist and detail lover when it comes to work, I guess that I’m personally more inclined to order. The fact that I chose a structured method to explore art, instead of for example painting abstract pieces, also affirms that.
Tell us about your most favourite zentangle moment?
I love the creative process, solitude and tranquility of art making and almost every time I take time to draw is a celebration of it. But if I had to choose my favorite Zentangle related moment, it would be going to Providence to become a Certified Zentangle Teacher.
Meeting people with same interests, connected by the love for drawing, was a really special event. I look forward to future meetings with tanglers and hope for many interactions with kindred spirits, both virtual and online. I’m a big believer in sharing gift and talent and, perhaps because I feel that the tangling community gave so much to me, I try to share as much as possible with my followers and fellow artists.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a Zentangle artist?
It has to be a simple yet most effective method to calm and focus – just remember that you can always come back to your breath. Focus only on your next line, draw it with intention and when you feel uneasy or distressed, just come back to your breath. Take a deep breath and repeat the process. As simple as that, it is the key advice I ever got.
What’s your Favourite tool when it comes to zentangling?
I fell in love with the Micron PN pen, which stands for plastic nib. Tanglers usually prefer 01 tip, which is a standard tool for Zentangle line work, but I love bolder lines. Maybe it’s because I usually choose to draw bigger patterns or because I have a heavy hand, but the sturdier PN is my pen of choice.
Apart from that, I love white accents on colored background. White pens and pencils are the tools that can make every drawing shine.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I plan to make much more art in future. Having just established my own small creative business, I plan to come back to jewelry making and continue drawing. Hopefully I’ll launch some online courses and offer products with my designs. But I’ll continue to share drawings and videos and enjoy the interaction with the online community.
And lastly, tell us where we can find you…
Due to the specific job I’ve had at the time when I started drawing and posting my work online, I chose not to use my name and opted for the alias, Zen Linea. It was only after I decided to pursue a creative career, resigned from my position and became a CZT, that I started using my name outside the closed Facebook groups. But I really got to love the alias so I named my business Zen Linea and you will be able to find me online and on social media under that name.
And that’s a wrap on my Artist Interview with Anica Gabrovec, CZT
Anica’s story has captivated me since I heard it. I’m always encouraged by stories that talk about someone walking in their purpose. When you look at Anica’s tangles, you are left with no doubt that this is someone who’s gifted creatively. I love reading how she’s aligned her life to walk fully in her gifting. And as a result, we, the everyday man, are blessed by her work as she continues to produce and inspire. How awesome is that!!
The Right Tools
The other part of Anica’s Interview I loved is her declaration that the Micron PN is her tool of choice. It’s not everyone’s tool of choice, but it’s hers.
Heading into an art supply store these days is an experience. The picture above is of Oxslades, an Art Supply store near me. Heading into Oxslades is amazing, there’s art tools everywhere! And if you’re after a Fineliner you’re spoilt for choice.
It’s why I love to hear about Artists who find tools they fall in love with, a tool that goes on to become one of their favourites. Favourite tools always have a story behind them, a reason why they’ve become what they’ve become.
Often it’s because of a struggle or some type of challenging condition. The artist knows what they want to do, but for whatever reason, one of their tools just doesn’t quite marry up and they can’t produce art the way they truly desire. Eventually when they’re finally happy with what they’re producing, the right tools have been found.
But when that tool becomes a favourite…
The right tool is one thing, but when it goes on to become a fave, I’m truly intrigued. Why? Because then it’s usually because the artist is consistently producing work they’re generally pleased with. And when an Artist or Tangler is doing this, their own style will be presenting itself fairly clearly to the consumer.
It’s here, in this space that we truly start to appreciate their gifting. And it’s here, in this space that we’re inspired and encouraged. We love what they’re doing.
Where are you positioned?
Where are you positioned when it comes to choosing the right tools? Are you still searching or have you found the tools you love? My heart is one that hopes. I’m hoping you find the right tools, just like Anica has. And I’m hoping they become your faves.
Me and the rest of the world are hanging out to see what you (and only you) can produce. We are waiting in anticipation of what you have to share, how you and only you can speak through it. I pray you’re encouraged by Anica’s story, just like I have been.
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Until next time, listen to your heart and sharpen your coloured pencils. A masterpiece awaits!
Bless you my friend