Layers of Self

Text. Lily Fürstenow

In the vibrant world of abstract painting, artists conjure realms of boundless energy and imagination. Danica Ruzic’s paintings pulsate with a kaleidoscope of fresh, vibrant colors, often infused with neon tones that electrify the senses and ignite the soul. Each stroke of the brush becomes a dance of light and color, imbuing the canvas with an vitality that defies boundaries and conventions.

At the heart of her abstract compositions lies a sense of unrestrained freedom and spontaneity. Patches and blobs of pigment scatter across the canvas splashing joyously against the backdrop of the void. These bold gestures capture the essence of life itself, celebrating the chaos and unpredictability of existence with fearless abandon.

Yet amidst the riotous cacophony of color, there exists a sense of purpose and intentionality. Meaningful words, carefully chosen and inscribed onto the surface of the canvas, add depth and resonance to the visual tapestry. These words serve as guideposts for the viewer, inviting them to ponder the deeper truths and mysteries hidden within the abstract forms.

In some works, silhouettes of magical fantasy beings emerge from the swirling chaos, their ethereal forms dancing across the medial surface like wisps of smoke. These mystical beings, with their otherworldly presence, infuse the paintings with a sense of wonder and enchantment, transporting the viewer to realms beyond the bounds of reality. In other works concrete objects are painted over the abstract backgrounds casting dark shadows onto the colourful backdrop. These objects emerge as three-dimentional as if hovering above the painted surfaces, so that the viewer asks herself if the objects are painted  or just objects applied to the surface. This effect of trompe-l’oeil makes Danica Ruzic’s works very special as far as her ways of analysing vision and visuality are concrned.

The juxtaposition of disparate elements—neon colors and meaningful words, patches of pigment and silhouettes of beings—creates a visual symphony that resonates with both the mind and the spirit. Each painting becomes a journey of exploration and discovery, inviting the viewer to lose themselves in the depths of the artist’s imagination.

In the end, these abstract paintings serve as portals to worlds unknown, where vibrant colors and fantastical creatures reign supreme. They remind us of the boundless potential of the human imagination, and the transformative power of art to uplift, inspire, and transcend.

About the artist

I was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and have often faced the challenge of fitting in and finding my place in new surroundings. Due to the circumstances in 90s Croatia, my family and I moved a lot. My primary school experience alone was spread out over 3 different countries and 4 different student cohorts. Through all this change, the two constants in my life were my family and expressing myself through art.  After completing my master´s degree in psychology in Zagreb, I made the choice to move again and have been living in Berlin for the past 5 years with my partner and our dog. I work full-time in IT as a Product Owner and juggle my day-job with my passion of making art. 

Living in lockdown

The 2020 pandemic and „stay at home“ environment pushed me to find a new way of coping with my emotions and anxiety (in addition to baking lots of banana bread). I spent most of the lockdown doodling away my negative thoughts & discovered urban sketching as a window to the world and an escape from the confines of my apartment. 

Why Layers? 

My art journey is closely connected to my mental wellbeing journey and the process of learning more about what makes me – me. With all the moving around and having to adjust to constantly changing surroundings, I never quite felt that I fit in, and I was continuously looking for my place in the world. For a long time, I equated blending in with being accepted.

I am currently on a journey to reclaim myself and reacquaint myself with all the parts of me that I disowned to “blend in”, be “liked”, be “accomplished”. I use canvas as a base for self-exploration and the creative process as a way of connecting to my emotions and teaching myself the importance of staying true to myself, no matter how much my environment changes. 

Why art? 

I create art as a means of self-expression and in doing so hope to inspire and empower others to proudly live their truth. I invite you to join me in a celebration of art as a means for not only self-expression but also self-discovery. With my art, I aim to motivate others to join me on this journey and re-evaluate how we as a society value blending in as opposed to showing our deeper layers and being accepted for who we truly are. 

I want to show that by challenging our internalized perfectionism and need to people-please, we can discover our true values and redefine what success means to us. 

As the world continues changing, let´s celebrate the beauty and intricacy of the concept of „Self“ and the rewards that come from being vulnerable enough to share our true selves with the world.  


  • “Layers of Self”, August 2023, Galerie Erster Erster, Berlin


  • Work List
  • Deconstructed Sunset; mixed media on paper;  2023
  • Deconstructed; acrylic ink on paper; 2022
  • Creation; mixed media on canvas, 30x40cm; 2023
  • Exploring Darkness; mixed media on canvas, 30x40cm; 2022
  • Frostbite; mixed media on canvas; 18x24cm; 2023
  • Searching; mixed media; 2 canvases each 20x20cm; 2022
  • Fall of the wall; mixed media on canvas; 30x40cm; 2023
  • Remember to dream; mixed media on canvas; 29x29cm; 2023
  • Slay; mixed media on paper;  2023
  • Take Flight; acrylics on paper;  2023


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