In this Woman2Woman interview we talk to Ana Sneeringer, a Slovenian artist currently living in India. Having started her career in documentary journalism as a director of an environmental television station, Ana's experiences across Jordan, Russia, The USA, The Dominican Republic, The Netherlands etc., led her to express her observations & learnings in her contemporary artworks. She loves to draw and paint portraits of women with strong character and who aren't afraid to show their genuine and natural personality. In her work, she captures the emotions we experience daily. By expressing these emotions, she wants to show the world how strong humans are, especially women. Entirely self-taught, Ana finds liberation in employing free will and speaking from her heart, unconfined by a learned discipline.
Can you tell us a bit of your journey into the world of art? Why were you drawn to it, and how it all started?
Sometimes we have to try several professions to identify the path that we take at the end. When I lived in Slovenia, I worked in media as a producer and TV host. After six or seven years in media, I jumped into running an environmental TV station, which I left few years after to follow my life purpose worldwide. Did I know I will become an artist one day? I didn't. At least I didn't realize until I came to India and decided that art will be my profession. In the years between my TV profession and artist profession, my husband and I founded a nonprofit organization in the USA. I've kind of naturally and totally out of intensions started painting. My first painting, which is now at my collector's house, was an abstract canvas painting made in The Dominican Republic. I've painted my feelings out and left it leaning on the wall in my house when this particular collector came by chance to meet at my house and fell in love with it and bought it. I sold it literary for a cup of coffee. Since I didn't have any bigger paintings in my house, I needed a new one, so I painted another one. I still have it as part of my collection. I get many inquiries for it, but I don't have the heart to sell it. It had been an extended time since I've fallen by following my heart into abstract painting. That was somewhere around ten years ago. The love for painting continued, and my art carrier evolved to the point where I surrender myself in this beautiful world of colours and imagination. Now I paint female portraits with attitude as a personal expression towards events that pivot in my life.
Who are you today, and what is different from ten years ago?
All in all, I am still pretty much the same person when it comes to human emotional things. I care for the same things as I did ten years ago. Twelve years ago, I started living this life I live today, where I move every 3-4 years to a new country, and by leaping into this 'nomad' life, I did notice an expansion of love and respect towards the different cultures and religions. For the last decade, I am experiencing motherhood and a life of a wife while I am still as true to myself as I was ten years ago. I would say I grew up understanding better and accepting the differences between human beings, especially the male and female world.
What was the best personal and/or professional advice you have ever been given?
Personal: "To be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain."
Professional: "Keep on going even when you feel like stopping."
From a creative standpoint, what or who has been your most significant influence?
I find inspiration in people. I love talking to people and asking questions. I love real-life stories from all walks of life. The way my family and I live our lives get so much more inspirational. I can't pinpoint a particular person who had been my influence, but for sure, I am paying a lot more attention to the female population because I connect better with the female world on so many levels. All these connections make me listen to myself better. All the women I've made any connection with made a versatile trigger in my personal growth. They were such life teachers. I guess all the stories I've heard through my life shaped me the most - what I call being an influence for me.
Where or what is your happy place? How do you find peace? Has this changed during the years?
My happy place is my home. I feel safe and free of any reins in it. And in my house, I have an even more comfortable place, which is my studio. Finding true peace is going to my art studio on the third level in my house. Sometimes I sit there and stare in the paintings without any intentional thinking, which calms me down and gives me the next push to keep moving. If I do have a chance to be somewhere close to the water, then that is another escape place for finding one within myself.
How important is a connection with nature for you? How do you nurture this connection?
I love nature so much that it hurts to even think of it at this moment. I am currently residing in one of the biggest cities in India, Hyderabad, where we don't know what nature is. The city and all around it is a concrete jungle. It had been intense 3.5 years of life where we have so little connection with nature. There are no parks close by that you could freely walk into. You have to schedule early morning visits to the parks to enter them since it closes after 9 am due to hot weather and wildlife in parks. Now, if you have time and there is no world pandemic at the moment, you could drive out of the city to seek nature. India has some magical landscapes and seasides, which are not accessible daily to us living in big cities.
How do you start your day?
I wake up and try to drink my coffee alone, but most of the time, my kids are jumping right after me out of their beds, so rarely do I drink it alone. And it's ok. Soon I'll be looking for those days to come back because they are growing up so quickly. So it's a bit hectic and playful.
How do you take care of your body, mind, and soul?
With music, a good book, swimming, playing tennis and doing yoga.
How do you take care of your skin?
I had so many years of trouble with my skin. I had some severe dry patches on my skin if I used any type of cream. When I arrived in India, someone suggested a cream of 11 different herbs. It saved me from all the troubles I had. I love this natural ayurvedic miracle cream.
Do you have any daily, weekly, or monthly rituals?
Not really. I am sluggish to think about everything I need to do to have my rituals fluent every day. I love going with the flow and just let things develop as they have to. So no, I do not have any rituals at the moment.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Coffee and Peach Danish dessert.
What advice would you give yourself at the age of 16?
To keep believing in yourself and work towards being a better person. It will benefit you. Being better yourself makes you respect yourself and take care of yourself instead of waiting for someone to do that for you because there will never be one who will do those things for you.
Is there any book you love and would recommend people to read?
I love psychology in any sense. I love to read how the human mind works. A lot of psychological thoughts go into my artworks too. I recently read a book, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, a psychological thriller, which left me thinking for weeks. Another good one was Maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb.
Can you share one piece of wisdom with our community, something that you have gained in your life, something that will encourage women reading this to grow, find their inner strength and confidence?
Keep believing and trusting your inner gut. Don't be afraid to approach your dreams. The road to achieving those dreams is twined and complex and challenging but so satisfying. When you feel that you have to go after something, you go, leap and work towards that something and don't forget to stand up for yourself and never let yourself be treated differently than how you want it.
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