I start from the bottom

People usually imagine an artist as a person whose appearance already reveals that he lives out of his head and loves the bohemian lifestyle. A person familiar with the world of art who wears a scarf around the neck and always seems to take the high road.

My artistic life and development is just the opposite and I am enormously grateful for that. The place where I grew up was surrounded by a concrete jungle in Ostrava's largest housing estate Dubina and that made me feel like there was no other world than just the concrete. I grew up in the world full of neglected talents and life obstacles which belong to Ostrava. I grew up in the world of gambling, alcohol and hard drugs that were everywhere you could see.

My home. Ostrava-Dubina, Czech republic

At elementary school, my talent for art was recognized by the teachers, but my behaviour did not always comply with the school rules... That was the reason why I was not accepted to any art school and the bureaucracy prevailed. My education was completed by a cook-waiter certificate and thus my life started.

Sometimes, life intentionally tries to make it difficult for us and waits until we realize that it is the destiny that sets the right direction and the harmony of the show of life. In my case, the first huge obstacle that life prepared for me was a serious psychotropic state of mind, which lasted for more than three years and which was caused by a violet kind of magic mushrooms that I overdosed myself with at the age of 18. You would not want to experience this. I suffered for many years. Even now, after so many years, it is not easy for me to write about it. Anyway, I overcame it, and the golden rule says - what does not kill you makes you stronger - so in my case, the violet magic mushrooms became a gate to the world of the subconscious mind and deep understanding of my own soul. I understood that a strong depression is just a state of mind which finishes one day. You must have confidence and cannot give up the belief that it will pass. I understood that everything was really just in our mind and that the subconscious is the central repository of all what we really are. This really bitter experience was actually a huge gift which helped me to be the person who I am today.

The picture fully depicts the power of psycho depressions which I had suffered several times per week for the period of 3 years. 

The second and a very important life obstacle was a marriage with a woman ten years older than me and her thirteen-year-old son, I married her when I was 20 and it lasted for four years. Very soon I understood what life was about and I quickly threw away the rose-coloured glasses that had adorned my face.

I have experienced a period when my daily bread was heavy antidepressant and alcohol. My life was deluged by debts caused by frequent moving and very soon I felt mentally completely down. I will never forget the day when something changed inside of me and ignited the flame of new hopes and changes in my life.

The marriage was inevitably over, and I felt I had to do something because I would not survive - as a warehouse keeper earning only ten thousand Czech crowns per month. And thus my artist's journey began. Due to my hopeless situation, my subconscious lifted up the artistic talent from my heart and I started longing for the life of a street artist who paints by the seaside and lives in peace. I learned a style called spacepainting that can be seen at street artists mostly by the seaside. 

During the divorce, my life collapsed like a house from cards and my ex-wife treated me like a dog, kicked me out only with two black bags of my stuff. I found myself in a situation when, after debt repayment deductions, I only had a few thousand Czech crowns left and it was not enough to pay even a one-room flat. So I had to go back home begging for accommodation because I had nowhere to go. One day you are the head of the family who works and feeds the family and the next day, you knock at the door at your mum's and beg her for help.

After one month, I was completely down and I will never forget that day. I sat on the bed and cried for over an hour. A pool of tears appeared on the ground and I saw my life in there - a big pile of garbage, and at that moment I decided I had to fight and get out of it. At that time, I worked in heavy manufacturing, so after each work day I had to properly wash my whole body because it was so dirty. I realized I only live once and I started with physical exercises and also caring about food. My life was suddenly flooded with energy that helped me to create art again and gradually I started to live again. I believed I would handle it and live proudly again. Half a year passed and my life has taken a new turn.

Heavy manufacturing 

My painting was successful, people started to admire me and hand in hand with these facts I felt a yet unknown pride. It is said that pride comes before a fall and I can confirm the authenticity of this statement. Life gave me a huge lesson. I lost my job and the other things which happened to me were so complex and personal that it is not appropriate to publish, but I was completely down again and had no place to live. That was the period when my ego was completely knocked out and at that time I understood that it was my ego that put me down on my knees. Painting was forgotten immediately and the hopes for a better life vanished. I was dependent on the help of others. It took me more than half a year to get out of these life lessons and for the first time I understood what humility means and its importance in life.

Fortunately, I was lucky enough to get an offer to work as a chef in a pizza place. One month later, I had enough money to finally rent a one-room flat. I only had a mattress on the ground and a fridge there. Unfurnished flat for many people, but it represented a temple of calmness and gratitute to me. Every time when leaving the flat, I stayed motionlessly for a couple of minutes just watching the room. I felt grateful. I understood that gratitude is the step toward a new hope and the new hope is the step towards success. I rented a garage and started to paint again.

The Guardian eye (2009-2010)

I worked 250 hours a month at work and when I was off I was painting in the garage all the time. Almost all the money left were invested into colours and paintor's material and that is why my daily diet was composed by biscuits with milk and spaghetti with ketchup because I could not afford anything more. I can tell you honestly that I have never been happier. I created the first big painting titled The Eye of the Guardian, which I managed to sell in a gallery in Brno. I sold it very undervalued, just at the cost of my rent and food. That was the day when I promised to myself that I would never stop painting and I will make it. And what do you think? Was the destiny merciless to me? Of course it was - and very merciless. Man plans and God laughs, that is life, more and more obstacles appear.

A few more years passed and I struggled mostly with myself. I was wounded and my body got a serious illness of the small intestine that nearly killed me. I suffered from severe pain of my injured back caused by the lumbar spine deviation. After two years of struggling with my own health, I finally recovered. I won this fight thanks to many years of examining my body and educating myself in this area. The spine has been straightened, the inflammation of the intestins disappeared and many people got help with their own struggles. My past was and still is the growth medium for Zelené EGO (Green EGO) which is something like my gift to society. It is something like a tith of my life that is driven by a proud intention and which leads to a human being that is balanced and satisfied.

Life can be hard sometimes, but can also make a sign by sending someone new to cross our path. I met an amazing person who is an artist, body and soul, and who has become my master. I felt the destiny and thanks to him I discovered the world of canvas and oil-based paints. I started creating intuitive abstractions using the IMPASTO technique. I titled them The Pictures of Gratitude because of the journey I had made. I had always believed that someone would notice my art and would help me and it actually happened. A kind person noticed me and got me into an exhibition on Václavské náměstí (Wenceslas Square) where there were many prominent Czech and Slovak artists and my painting The Touch of the Wolf was, according to the curator, the absolute highlight of the exhibition...

At the beginning, I felt the collapse of my world, hopelessness and wanted to leave this world. But fortunately there is hope and a few good people in my life thanks to whom I am who I am now. 

One does not necessarily have to study and have the so-called paper in order to prove that a talent cannot be taught, but it should not be wasted. And if destiny or someone in high places builds a wall in front of us, we can only run really fastly, kick the wall to pieces and show the builders that they are wrong! 

Thank you for your time

Sebastian Vanzen