Artist Speaks

I created The Smile Office idea in my early 20's while living and researching and making art in NYC.

One day at Lincoln Centre Library,  I was thinking about what my phd would be about - and I began to write it.  It was a simple idea which unfolded itself as I asked myself some questions.

What is A Culture of Now?

What would a culture of presence feel like?  How would we live if we were conscious creators of our earthly reality? What could the journey be to uncover this possibility? And so on - I just wondered about it... and let the answers  write themselves. 

As i lived through my later 20's,  my 30's and nearing the end of my 40's - one day I found this writing and as I revisited it, I realized I had lived my phd -  The questions I asked actually unfolded in the journey of my life and my wonderings and musing of possibilities manifested in actual life events.  My life became a testament - a living phd.

And thus, The Smile Office is Living Art.

- fine artist, visionary creator, innovator - Darinka Blagaj.


The Art of Darinka Blagaj

"Artmaking for me is a journey. Like all of us, I can share what I am. In my work you encounter timelessness, life force energy, an experience of oneness, an engaging of spirit & nature. My gift is to use the languages of colour, line, shadow, form and through intention within the spontaneous moment share awareness & consciousness through them. My desire is to live, work and play for the love and expansion of life, within a win win paradigm. 

Creating moves through me, this flow is a language of its own - it is me - I open the channel wide and I let love flow! My works appear in various media:  paintings, drawings, performance art, installation art, poetry, and music & vocal works - live and on video. Sometimes I will just paint one painting in the flow that I am in - another may appear may years later in that same flow, I do not work in series, I work in the moment of living.

The first imagery that came through me was figurative - “goddess” energy - anthropomorphic themes, dream states, totem animals, mythical characters. A new twist on Goddess frequency began to energy - i was not copying imagery of old - it was a "now" source that I tapped into.- they were about 10' -12' tall. I was always running out of space on the papers I was using taping one next to another. I had no idea at first how big they were.  I was not working from the stayed concept of a figure “posing”, I could feel and express energies that I could feel and sense from the larger make-up of each human being sitting in front of me. Away from the intellectual and technical approach to artmaking, I feel guided when birthing a multi-dimensional being on a 2-D surface - tapping into a new context for form, a quantum understanding and expression of parallel realities and the essence of life and living/beingness.

Vibrant colour palette My use of colour is multifold: It is an intuitive communication. Sometimes the colours are an auric representation of energy, like the "energy" around someone in their aura, sometimes it is like a soul signature - like in a Spirit Portrait (figurative and non-figurative). At other times, I use colour for shadow and light to express both definitive surfaces & spaces as well as multiple dimensions where things are see-through and not of this 3-D world. 

Colour is consciousness - Expressing colour as Elemental energies and the colour qualities of music (Art Breath Series), or certain themes and concepts - like "stillness', "peace", "gratitude" are expressed in their pure forms as colour, as I feel them while creating. 

I do not impose colour on anything - I feel the colour that is flowing within that which I am painting or drawing in the moment I am engaging. The way I relate to colour and express colour is a completely personal vocabulary signature and this colour frequency expression is at the core of many of my works.  

My works open a now dialogue of presence, a sensitivity for the coherent nature of being and an inclusion of our greatness. We are all imagineers of our cosmic stories." 

Darinka Blagaj is an intuitive, who works specifically within presence and spontaneity - focused with the people present at each event. An innovator, developer and facilitator of a rising consciousness- that of the awakened divine human. - a path she has been on since the age of 5 when she had her first awakening and near death experience in Austria. 

Darinka is a performance artist, free form musician and life long ecstatic dancer, beginning contact improv dance 30 years ago in Toronto. Her performances work with intention and include spontaneous vocal work, over-toning and dance/movement along with energywork in sacred space. Live performances have been presented along with her many exhibitions. 

Darinka has hosted numerous awakening and participatory events, retreats and exhibitions over the past 25 years.

Darinka lives by example, creates daily, loves life and the wonder of being.  

Photo by George Whiteside

Darinka's BIO

Darinka Blagaj, was born in Croatia, lived in Austria before coming to Canada with her family as a child. She identifies herself as a Canadian artist with an international career. Firstly, a visual fine artist, who works mostly in oil and charcoal. who  "paints the future", and secondly as a performance artist, researcher and developer of The Culture of Now. 

Her professional career is full of exhibitions that were painted in the country she was visiting and living at the time: 

Early Career

An avid world traveller and painting gypsy - painting and making art and exhibitions happen onside.. Darinka explored life in Vancouver's Railway Street, NYC's Lower East Side, Mexico's Caribbean coast & Mayan lands, Guatemala's Panahachel & Lake Atitlan, Costa Rica's Montezuma, Honduras Islands of Roatan & Utila.

1985-1990 - Early career, cafe exhibitions on Queen St. West, Toronto, 

1988-1990  NYC- Lower East Side, Greenwich Village at various galleries, art centres, Cafes. Photography performance art with Ron Giii.

1987-1988  Vancouver - Railway St & Centre St in Vancouver, 

1990 -  Xalapa, Mexico  - "Al Otro Lado Del Sol", In Xalapa's stae Gallery, sponsored by the governor of the state and Marie Louise Ferrari, the Canadian Embassy, covered by channel 4 tv.

1991 - Barcelona, Spain - MRKVA,Carrot "The Roots of Culture - Wearing The Emperor's Clothes with a Nose" - sponsored by a private collector at Circulo Comtal private cultural club. Pre-Barcelona Olympics, with performance art.

1993 - Bremerhaven, Germany - The Architects show

1993 - "Sotto Voce" - Toronto, Access Art Now, Eaton Centre, artist run co-op show. With performance art, installation of the elemental: earth, air, fire, water, ether.

1993-1995  Photography performance art with Philip Winestone.

1995 - Toronto - "Orgasm - Solo Show - 10 year Retrospective" - 150 pieces of art - installation and regular performance art nights for 6 weeks.

1997 - Maui, Hawai'i - Painted a new series at The Hui Art Centre.

Mid Career

1999 - Toronto, "The Voyage is Love," Gallery Arcturus. Featuring the Chakra paintings. Turning an energetic vortex in the city through the installation of crystals within the show.

1997- 2010 Toronto - The ALEILA FESTIVAL - She is a creative comeUnity pioneer and a visionary who created The Aleila Festival - an expressive and healing arts festival retreat for 13 years, giving many artists a role as facilitators - a place to begin their own sharing work within a new platform - giving an opportunity for hundreds to experience a sacred circle and comeUnity through creative and healing art with spontaneity & presence at its core.. 

2001-2002 Peterborough New Dance, original performance art pieces - "Water Feet" & "Star".

 Plus a few small local exhibitions. 

2001 - 2007- Spirit Portraits, & Private collector commissions.

2013 - Toronto- The Smile Office - beginnings, & Spirit Portraits, Day-Retreat Playshops, gallery created, exhibits.

2014

 -  New Public Commissions - Healing Art Paintings, Private commissions - Spirit Portraits, Corporate commissions, Urban Totems, Cut-Outs Exhibitions

- Opened the Smile Office Studio in Toronto, Art Salon, Living Art Space & The Smile Office - NOWism Movement

2015 

- Toronto- The Smile Office - Culture of Now Movement.  

New Public Commissions - Healing Art Paintings, Private commissions - Spirit Portraits, Corporate commissions, Works for Hospitals and healing Centres.

2015 Summer -"Flow" - Exhibition at  Rest Nest Float Club Gallery, Yorkville Toronto 

"Wedding Dress Run" Flash Mobs - Summer 2015 in Yorkville - Performance Art, invoking Joy & Bliss, back into the lives of women who may have lost that spark of personal bliss within marriage. Street dance to village folk music adapted & composed by Tatjana Cornij on acordion. Street parades in wedding dresses in Yorkville - rejoicing!

Studio Holiday Show "Un-seen", featuring new paintings on canvas and wood.