Andrea Solaja | Shadows of Art, Nature and War

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About Andrea Solaja

Andrea Solaja is a Croatian and Italy based artist. She was a young girl when she had to witness the horror of a war. That loot eventually developed into art to reassure her from feeling lost. 

“When I was ten, I lived in a bunker for several months while my country, Serbia, was being bombed. My sole source of relief to escape from the horrors of those days was imagining worlds and creating stories inside the light of the only candle I had. The shadows projected on the walls would turn into the shapes of the ever-changing characters of my imagination, I can see my fingers weaving evanescent details that blended with the condensation and the cold. That light shone on an outer space that was too small for a child. I had to create one to become internal, and immense. I hold my childhood and its dreams inside that small flame. I sealed the darkness I had inside with the wax and with the wick, I tied the memories of a life that was not going to be mine anymore. My art unfolds around the narration of that light. My paintings are symbionts of the game of contrasting light and dark which narrate without revealing, which drain my inner feelings on the canvas preventing the shapes from becoming obstacles.”

At dawn, Andrea sees nothing but weightless fog. She perceives contours and indefinite shapes that she is not able to define. So she gets lost, at the mercy of minuscule droplets wraping her up with no heat.
“My slow speed guides me into a space I do not fully understand, but I feel mine. I stretch my hand, and recognize my canvas, my brushes. My vision is still blurred but the memory is alive, and evokes the images I am looking for.”

Hello Andrea. When or how have you understood you wanted to become an artist?

I have always knew I was an artist since a young age.

Can you tell us more about your technique and what drives you to make art?

On my canvas I express the bond with the salvific nature of the elements by using the materials I previously collect in natural environments, as clays, limestone powder, burnt wood, and barks. Searching for pigments that convey my purpose drives me to get lost in barely ridden Karst trails and into caves where calcite becomes veins and arteries emerge from the heart of the earth. This process it is pure alchemy to me.

In my atelier I then blend the materials that I have harvested, and I arrange them on the canvas. I look for the accurate adherence, the most special consistency.

Nature is always present in my research, either as the background of the stories I have chosen to eternalize or as the main symbol.

What is the main feature that has developed in your practice?

The Karst where I get inspired, pours its colours into me, crashing against the wall I have inside. I feel chromatic landslides, hollows of thoughts that urge to break free.

I feel as if this land, so rough where the blinding white of the limestone stands out and dominates the whole environment, understands my narrative urge. There, I find the matter for my works every time. I dip my hands into the red soil, and I become one with the world. I am born again.

The heat I felt on my face while my whole body was freezing, is no longer the same . Now, it permeates me. I took off the veil. It’s me.

Which artist primarily inspires your work? And is there something else, outside visual arts, that keeps you motivated?

Artists that inspire me are Artemisia Gentileschi, Jenny Saville and Ceciy Brown. Nature is my biggest source of inspiration.

How would you like people to engage with your work?

I paint the stories that strike my chords, with which I perceive a bond.

As a tailor, I wrap my canvas around the viewer to become the story he needs to witness.

Spread the word! Do you have anything exciting on the horizon?

I’m currently working on a new series, made of cardboard and paper, inspired by the wabi sabi philosophy. 


Go here to view more of Andrea’s work.



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