by K.M. Pickard
February 1st was a bitter cold and colorless day in Chesterfield, Missouri. Only a few cars dotted the parking lot of the Chesterfield Mall this early in the morning, so travel time into the mall was fairly short. This was a good thing on such a windy day. And as I got inside and past the early shoppers and mall walkers, I saw light and bright colors ahead. It was the studio of Vesna Delevska. I was meeting Vesna for coffee and a long overdue chat.
I first met Vesna Delevska about 4 years earlier at the Midwest Salute to the Arts festival in Fairview Heights, IL. It was immediately clear that I was meeting someone special.
We were part of a group of artists asked to demonstrate our craft at the annual festival. Being new to this type of event, I was a little tentative about what to expect. Those feelings faded quickly when I saw the infectious smile and beautiful art of Vesna. She was applying acrylic paint with smooth and deliberate strokes to a bare wooden door panel. The panel stood upright just outside of our Str8Up Magazine demonstration tent. I was supposed to begin setting up my display area, but that was delayed as I was pulled in, watching her coax a summer sunset from the wooden panel. The warm tones of the sunset appeared in only minutes as Vesna works quite quickly and with a passion that shows just how much she loves what she does.
Over the course of the 3-day event, Vesna, Jake Bishop (a terrific young artist and now co-publisher of this magazine) and I became friends and cohorts. And although our paths didn’t cross nearly enough, we three stayed in touch and I followed their progress with both envy and happiness for them.
So, back to earlier last month, Vesna and I sat down to catch up, drink coffee and eat.
KP) Tell me about how you got started in art:
Vesna) “I showed interest in painting when I was about 7 or 8. I was born in Skopje, Macedonia and I remember watching my father create art. It had a huge influence on me. I was also very attracted to looking at the old masters’ work, especially paintings.
My parents encouraged my interest in art.
I remember that my 8th grade teacher started sending me to art competitions. So, at the age of 14, I enrolled and was accepted into the School for Applied Arts in Skopje.”
Vesna explained that the school system in Macedonia is somewhat different than ours. A student wishing to go into a specific field of study or trade, such as the arts, needs to apply and be accepted at an earlier age.
Vesna) “Later on in high school, I enjoyed visiting the centuries-old Macedonian monasteries and churches. I remember looking at the frescoes, mosaics and wood carvings. They had a big impact on me and my desire to learn more. I studied oil painting in Macedonia.”
Vesna always had a desire to come to the US. She told me that she wanted to continue her education here, to grow and learn new things, to experience a new culture here. And so she did. She continued her education here in America, eventually settling happily in St Louis.
KP) What do you call your style of art?
Vesna) “Oh, I don’t know exactly, Live Art” (?)
I think it’s important to understand how Vesna works and performs. Besides her gallery and commission work, Vesna often paints (performs) in public gatherings and events. She is hired or commissioned to paint during these events and generally starts and finishes large paintings during this time.
(see list below and her website for upcoming events)
And she is almost always accompanied by terrific local musicians, guitarists, pianists, harpists, etc. who also perform as she works. This makes for a really unique and enjoyable combination, to the delight of all in attendance. Not to be left unnoticed is the effect music has on Vesna. She is fed by it and fueled from it. Music is a vital part of the creative process for her. She listens to music as a regular part of her day.
KP) Do you do or have you done other styles or types of art?
Vesna) “Well styles, yes, Realism, Abstract and a mix between the two that I have developed over time. As for types, Mural painting, decorative painting on ceramics and furniture. I paint mainly in acrylics now but started painting with oils in Macedonia.”
KP) What inspires your work?
Vesna) “My main inspiration is the need to experience something beyond what we ‘know’. I’m also inspired by nature and, of course, music.”
KP) So what have you been focusing on over the past 10 years?
Vesna) “Over the past 10 years I have done many murals, painted at numerous Live Events, commission work and in 2015, I opened my Gallery in Chesterfield Mall!”
And a beautiful gallery it is too! Visitors will find it full of light, life and blooms of color everywhere.
KP) Tell me more about your gallery.
Vesna) “It is my studio where I paint and teach lessons daily. I also do commission work here and have occasional live music and painting events.”
KP) Are you currently working on a commission?
Vesna) “Yes, the current one is of playful dolphins for an organization in Florida. I’ve never painted dolphins before.”
It can be seen at Facebook.com/MarineMammal/Responders/
It is a 48” x 36” painting to be auctioned as well as coffee mugs for their gift shop.
KP) They look amazing!
Vesna) “Oh, thank you.”
KP) And tell me about your lessons.
Vesna) “I enjoy giving lessons. I teach private painting lessons in my studio for kids and adults at any level of experience. I’ve started with young people from age 7 all the way to 80.”
KP) Future plans?
Vesna) “To keep creating and expanding!”
KP) So what are you most proud of, Vesna Delevska?
Vesna) “The determination in doing Everything with Love! You must give your heart 100% everyday!”
KP) What’s your advice to young artists?
Vesna) “Follow your dreams!”
KP) And lastly, your advise on marketing art?
Do yourself a favor and make her acquaintance, whether it’s for lessons, an event you want to make special, a commissioned piece, to view her artwork or to see her performing out. They will all make you smile.
Editor’s Note: Vesna will be at Midwest Salute To The Arts again this year – Everett Moody Park at Longacre, Fairview Heights IL, August 23, 24 & 25, at the Gesso Magazine Demonstration Tent. Writer & artist K.M. Pickard will be there, too!
Vesna Art Gallery
Where: 88 Chesterfield Ctr., Chesterfield MO 63017
Hours: Can vary, please check the web site
Lesson info: Can be found and booked on her web site
Upcoming events: A complete list of upcoming events is updated also on her site. under “EVENTS”