Syntax Issue 10
Denver Syntax

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I like the way Marie Vlasic sees the world.

Or, more exactly: I like the way she cuts it out of all the possibilities around her and then brings it to life with her brush and canvas.

Walking down the street, and Vlasic has been known to stop a person to ask if they will pose for her. Who these people are, and why she selects them is a nearly a matter of the inexplicable. And for those she has painted, a sure fortune has been garnered.

Marie Vlasic works from photographs. She uses models and the still life around her. And while photographs certainly have their power – there is something even more powerful when one, like Vlasic, creates an interpretation, a painting, of those photographs. This is the picture of the human being as an artist, employing one’s creative powers on the world. This is the picture of life transformed and of the human being as a filter for that transformation.

For sure, there is an intelligence in an act of interpretation and production. More than that, there is virtue in the ability to work as a living artist. Marie Vlasic represents that kind of aptitude in all the ways worthy of admiration. For certain, every painter is a vehicle of creative power; working in the studio and producing work. But there is also another facet to this world: the painter as a business person.

For years, Vlasic worked in a multitude of arenas: as a graphic designer, a floral designer, an event planner. But always having had a strong aptitude in fine art, seven years ago – Vlasic made the transition into working as a full time artist. And it has paid-off: for the last two summers, Vlasic has been invited to show at the nation’s third largest outdoor art exhibition: The Cherry Creek Arts Festival. Every year a new blind jury judges the applicants and then, a very select few are invited. Some from around the world. Or like Vlasic, from right here in the Queen City.

Her paintings are large. They take weeks and delicate hours of her life, just to produce one. In this is the grand dilemma for the working painter – one that works like Vlasic and so many others: how do you sustain an income when your work takes so very long? There are only so many days in a year. Vlasic has answered this call by using the means around her: She sells her work online. She independently makes contacts with purchasers, with gallery owners. And she will make no bones about the fact that she is aggressive about it.

This is the picture of a human being in-motion.

A photograph captures a moment. Marie Vlasic’s work embodies this notion, of movement and conversely, of stopping time by taking a snapshot in this aged life we all live. As with any artist, one of the grand compliments lays in the fact that their work is idiosyncratically them. And Vlasic is no different: come across her work and you will certainly know it is hers.

Her color palette jostles in-between a nearly concrete spectrum. This, she says, is just what has evolved and more than that it has allowed for her to concentrate on the execution. And it is within her execution that you will find the fruits of her labor. For the resulting joy that she finds in her work is apparent. It’s etched into all the characters she brings to life. Precise and detailed, there is always an element of redemption and the soul leaping outward, off the canvas.

In our late adolescence we are all in possession of a finicky little thing that is termed “youthful optimism”. Youth is attached to this notion of optimism on account of the fact that is supposed to fade. But talk with somebody like Vlasic and you will find the notion that, if this optimism and energy fades – maybe that is not what one was destined to do. Unlike the rock n’ roll world, where rockstars are made in their earlier years, typically – the fine art world of painting is about the intersection of age and progress and ambition. Look at work like Vlasic’s and you will quickly conclude that, indeed, only a refined aptitude that comes with age could produce something this large. This arresting.

This is certainly not to say that Marie Vlasic is old. She’s not. She’s all about her rock n’ roll and, to this end, even has fronted local bands. As is evident by some of her subjects and she likes it loud, big and robust. With an edge. With some pronounced emotion. Physically, she represents this, if in no other way apart from the big silver swatch of hair that rides above her eyes as a blade, ready to slice through the thin air of life around her, cutting a piece off and capturing it on her canvas with her alluring, piercing eyes.

Stay abreast of Vlasic’s new cuts, upcoming exhibitions and work at: www.vlasicstudio.com.