Artist Statment

Renato in Zadar, Croatia

As a Croat of Italian descent, I was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Doboj, where I lived with my family until the beginning of the war and for a portion of the turbulent 1990s. I was a teenager with divorced parents. I experienced the disruption caused by the war firsthand. My upbringing, education, life with my immediate family, and friends were all interrupted by the profound impacts of the conflict. The war deeply affected me as I witnessed the suffering brought by senseless violence.

Due to the wartime circumstances and fears for our lives, my mother managed to send my sister and me to Croatia through a prisoner exchange, where she eventually joined us after two years. After leaving Bosnia, we moved to Zagreb, then shortly to Vinkovci, and later to Varaždin. I completed my high school education in Varaždin. However, due to the lack of prospects for our future at the time, my mother decided, after much contemplation, to move to Canada in search of a better life.

As a newcomer to Canada, not speaking English, art became a medium through which I could communicate and connect with others. Early on, I recognized the strength and resilience of people, especially the women in my life, including my mother, aunt, sister, grandmother, and my wife, who has been a tremendous source of support, assistance, and inspiration. The support these women provided during those challenging times, and even now, is something I carry with me wherever I am. These experiences have left a lasting imprint on me and shaped my perspective as an artist and as a human being.

As I began to process the trauma of personal experiences, my artworks best reflected my inner psychological state and served as a means of liberation from them and from certain negative emotions I grappled with as a teenager and later on.

Through hours spent with other prominent artists, I absorbed knowledge about processes and pushing the boundaries of various materials. My earlier works were crafted from metal and objects found in nature, reflecting my deep connection to the natural world. Over time, I started incorporating materials from everyday construction work, such as plaster, expanding foam, plywood, concrete, clay and wood, into my sculptures.

Exploring different mediums and techniques, I developed a profound respect for the beauty of life and nature. The sea, in particular, inspired me to connect more deeply with my homeland, Croatia, where I spend most of my free time each year. Through my art, I strive to capture the unique expressions in nature and human emotions that make each person so beautiful and special. I’m committed to empowering women through my work and creating pieces that inspire and uplift people worldwide.

Since 2014, I’ve been engaging in more serious work and exhibitions, such as Moss St. Paint-in, Sook Fine Arts Show, Sidney Sculpture Walk, Sculpture Splash Esquimalt, and Victoria Gallery show. My works have also been displayed in my solo gallery, Evolve, in Victoria, Canada, and the Tofino Gallery of Contemporary Art in Tofino, BC.

Recently, I’ve been exploring new possibilities in sculpture, experimenting with clay and using PLA filaments with a 3D pen to create suspended pieces that play with light and shadow. PLA is a renewable material made from fermented plant starch, like corn, cassava, or sugarcane. The sugar in these plants ferments to create lactic acid, which is then converted into polylactic acid, or PLA. This material allows me to bring my artistic vision to life in new and exciting ways, and I’m constantly inspired by its possibilities.

I’m especially grateful to all the artists in Canada and Croatia with whom I’ve established personal and other forms of contact and communication, and who have helped me improve my expression through my works.

Thank you for entering my world, joining my journey, and supporting my artistic development.

I hope you find your own joy and inspiration, just as I have through my art.