Born in 1964 in Belgrade, Serbia, Deana Nastic studied art at the University of Belgrade, where she was first introduced to German expressionism—a look and tone which has greatly informed her work to this day. After pursuing a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, and showing her work at Belgrade’s Cvieta Zazoric Museum, Nastic, a passionate painter, moved to Athens, Greece in 1991, where she presented her first solo exhibition at the Iris Gallery and lectured at South Eastern College. The following year, she moved to Toronto, Canada, where she taught art at the Art Gallery of Ontario and continued her painting in oils and watercolours for the next two decades. During that period, she presented a solo exhibition of her work at Toronto’s Lonsdale Gallery.
In 2012, Nastic became fascinated with the art of photography and began experimenting. She saw this as an extension of her work in watercolours, enraptured by the fluidity she was able to express in this new medium.
After working diligently for 4 years, studying various photographic techniques and developing her own signature approach and style, Nastic presented a solo exhibition of her work, entitled “Invisible Brush” in 2016 at the Izzy Gallery in Toronto. The following year, she participated in Project X-Posed, a collaborative effort dubbed The Disruptor Series, which was presented to commemorate the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA’s) fifth anniversary.
Art is the air that I breathe. I grew up in an artistic family, surrounded by the work my father collected, going to museums, and gleaning inspiration from the figurative style of masters like Modigliani and Giacometti. But the way people emotionally connect with art is what really moves me: I was reduced to tears the first time I saw Van Gogh’s self-portrait in Paris. It was one of those “Aha!” moments for me—when I knew I wanted to be an artist myself.
Experimenting with different media and a variety of techniques throughout my education was a true luxury. I pushed my own perimeters and exposed myself to as much as possible. Now, looking back at my evolution, there’s a great feeling of satisfaction because of my eclectic journey. I’m happy that I was always able to trust the process of experimentation and simply go with the flow. In recent years, my passion, dogged determination, and relentless hard work have resulted in my own signature style. I credit the lure of photography for seducing my spirit of spontaneity and allowing it to really shine. Playing with the untold possibilities of that brilliant medium has taken my work to a whole other level. And now, it feels like I’ve only just begun. I find the potential exhilarating.
I hope the sense of bold drama and sensuality inherent in my work continues to connect with people on deeply personal levels. Art is ultimately about expression and communication: Scaling the landscape of the human condition and capturing our many moods are proving to be my most precious and rewarding pastime.