We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Katerina Husar Lazarova. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Katerina below.
Katerina, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Let’s jump back to the first dollar you earned as a creative? What can you share with us about how it happened?
I made my first money at a Liberty Station ArtWalk, which reopened in 2021 after a two-year break due to the pandemic. Encouraged by a newly gained Associate of Arts degree and news about UCSD admission, I felt ready to present my art to the public for the first time in the US. The jury for the ArtWalk was selecting artists, and I admit that as an emerging artist with minimal experience with such an event, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be chosen. However, my worries proved unnecessary, and the jury accepted me as an exhibitor.
On the opening day, when my husband and I prepared stands, hung pictures, displayed prints, prepared business cards, and the event was officially open to visitors, I suddenly felt that I was exhibited there along with my paintings and felt vulnerable and scared. Fortunately, my husband stood by my side, helping me all weekend. His enthusiasm and unrelenting optimism, along with the first booth visitors, dispelled my worries. Every single person who stopped by to see my art or say a few words was amazing and very supportive. And I was gradually losing uncertainty and started to engage happily in dialogue with visitors.
About 4 hours later, I sold my first original 8×8 inch image. The couple who bought it was thrilled. The woman held the picture in front of her with both hands like a small, fragile creature, and her gaze couldn’t tear away from it. Their enthusiasm filled the booth, and I knew my first sold piece had found a new loving home. It’s an uplifting experience to receive money from someone excited about my product, and the joy I had from my first sale stayed with me all weekend. Also, many friends stopped by, and almost all of them found a piece they fell in love with. Over the weekend, I sold a few more small pictures, prints, and coasters. Again, every customer had joy and admiration in their eyes for the chosen piece. My first public presentation of my work was a fantastic motivating experience. I will attend the Liberty Station ArtWalk again on August 6th and 7th in 2022. I can’t wait to meet the visitors of this event because their support and appreciation gave me energy and inspiration for the work I did over the past year.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
When I moved from the Czech Republic to San Diego 4 years ago, I left behind my studio where I taught drawing and painting techniques. I also abandoned my previous career as a graphic designer, to which I devoted 15 years after school. The reason for moving was my husband, who found a job in the US, and I decided to go on this adventure with him.
Upon arrival, I spent the first year improving my English because I had not used it since school, and initially, I had a hard time understanding it. After about a year in the US and with an evolving ability to communicate in English, I decided to join the Fine Art program at Mesa College. I thought that when I have to start again, why not at a school where I can learn more about the new culture. In addition to new knowledge and opportunities to exhibit in the school gallery with my classmates, I also gained an Associate of Arts degree. The same year I graduated from college, I was also accepted to UCSD. I just finished my first year of study at UCSD, and I’m looking forward to my last year to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art major.
Mostly, my canvases are a combination of acrylic painting and ink drawing. My art is based on personal narrative and is created by cultivating automatic line drawing into specific shapes, objects and figures. Then, thanks to many mingled layers of vibrant colors, the final pictures are transformed into an imaginative space full of organic shapes and delicate curves.
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
I think the first such thing was to leave my country, where I had lived for 38 years, and went to the US with minimal knowledge of the language but with the belief that I could find my place here. With the slogan that change is an opportunity, I hoped it would be the only step that would require my courage. But the whole journey here in the US and the path to the dream of becoming an artist is like testing one’s own abilities, courage and strength. For example, graduating from a university at a later age is definitely a challenge. I didn’t think I would ever go back to school.
When I applied to college in the US, I was embarrassed because I was almost 20 years older than most of my classmates, and I was afraid I would look stupid. However, I have never felt that this difference was an obstacle, and I am grateful to have met many talented people with the same interest and passion for the arts. Thanks to the school, I also learned to communicate better about my work and art.
I can’t say that I’m sure, even after four years, that the journey of the artist I have chosen will have a happy ending. But I know I would regret it if I didn’t at least try. Every step of the way, even though challenging, gives me invaluable experience. This path of creation brings joy and fulfillment to my life. Despite occasional doubts and obstacles, I cannot imagine a direction other than the one I am following now. I am grateful that I do not go there alone and am surrounded by exceptional people.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
Creativity practically accompanied me from the studies of graphic design through my job as a graphic designer to my later interest in drawing and painting, which resulted in opening a private studio and teaching. So, I can say that creation and creativity have always been fulfilling for me. Only the form of reward changed from time to time. It first became a source of livelihood, later a hobby, and then a mission in passing on knowledge to students.
Since I moved to the US and devoted myself exclusively to making art, this activity has become for me the ability to express myself, as well as, to some extent, a therapeutic element in my life, which has the potential to transform my thoughts, difficult to express by words or sentences. But, the most rewarding aspect of the art creation and its public presentation is what allowed me not only to know my heart but also gave me the opportunity to speak with many exceptional people during exhibitions. Although my art has my own personal narrative, these conversations opened up access to the beauty of their inner selves and stories. And it allowed me to understand better that each person is unique and inspiring.