In an artist’s arsenal, they are equipped with a myriad of tools that can be used to create their artwork. From the type brush to the painting style, picking one over the other can have an impact on the final piece of work. For Russian artist Natalia Denisko, her focus is on colours, which she personally believes is the best way of communicating her message to her viewers. Through abstract painting and using different hues, she hopes to resonate with others on a deeper level when they take a plunge into her consciousness and perceives the world. To Natalia, each shade or tint holds a key that unlocks our spiritual door; and her art seeks to be that conduit of this psychological disposition.
Ahead is an interview with Natalia where she shares more about her creative process and what she hopes her viewers can feel as they interact with the artworks.
You were born in Russia where you studied, you then lived in Shanghai where you learned Chinese and you are now based in Singapore. Tell us about your background and where your creative journey began?
No matter how trite it may sound, I paint from a very young age. As a child, I always wanted educational drawing books as presents as I was constantly drawing. Having graduated from a State art school for children, I knew I wanted to become a designer and that informed my decision to enter an art department at the Academy of Economics and Law. It was common to hear that the creative profession does not make a good career and that I am better off working in a company.
Therefore, I went to Shanghai to study Chinese and got a job in a Chinese company to work as an assistant project director. Although this work was prestigious and I was making progress, the work made me very unhappy. Serendipitously, I came across the life story of Kandinsky, who changed his career in adulthood, I was inspired and promised myself to do the same. I decided to follow my heart and became an artist. After moving to Singapore, I started painting once again. After completing many art courses at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and Lasalle, I realised that art is like air to me. I graduated from NAFA, and during my studies I already received orders from interested buyers and invitations to conduct abstraction lessons. Without a doubt, art is my journey — a lifelong journey. I believe: “Art is not a thing, it’s the way”.
Your colour palette composed of vivid pink, blue, red and green hues with touches of gold. What role does colour play in your work?
In my work, colour is the basis for everything. I always been attracted by the ability of colour to influence the human psyche, to convey certain feelings, emotions, and spiritual experiences. Colours can strongly influence a person’s thoughts, feelings, and consciousness, and because colours can have many meanings, each person perceives colour differently. Using different intensities and combinations of colours allows the viewer to plunge into my consciousness and perception of the world.
My paintings have a deep symbolic message that everyone can understand. The colour, the plot, and the scale of the painting are vivid and viewers immerse entirely in the picture itself — into my spiritual world.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Inspirations for my artworks come naturally to me as I think about certain emotions. Prior to painting, I try to be in touch with my feelings using mediation, music, meeting people, reading books. I am a strong believer that the process of creating an artwork needs to flow from my heart and never stem from the feeling of “I must”.
Does Yoga play an important part in your life and art?
I can say that practicing yoga gave me knowledge and understanding of human nature, consciousness and subconsciousness. I have become more creative and open minded, which led me to the idea that art is not a “thing” but the “way” — a medium not only for expressing oneself but to inspire and heal the viewers with colours.
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
In today’s modern world, especially megacities which are full of stress and dreariness, people need to have creative and meaningful ways of expressing their emotions and feelings, to heal themselves, their souls, and to avoid the negative effects of stress. I hope my art can rejuvenate the soul where the viewer can have a positive, calm and kind-hearted mood.
What is the role the artist plays in the society?
Artist is a mir
The artist introduces the viewer to a new world, opens up a new dimension; in which a person rethinks himself, his actions, his past, experiences new sensations, feelings, finds new colours, smells, sounds, and rhythms of life. As a result of rethinking the past, spiritual purification and transformation occurs, which, as a rule, affects the development of a person, awakens his interest in everything new, makes him hardened. This helps him build his personal life and relationships with people further, finds his place in life; blending harmoniously into a complex and changing world.
The artistic method of cognition, that is, the ability to perceive the world in images and freely operate with them, obeying the laws of harmony, as Albert Einstein believed, plays a colossal role not only in art, but also in scientific creativity.
The five words that best describe your art?
Vivid, abstract, expressive, inspiring, healing
Tell us about your major projects and highlights across 2021?
My current project is the charity sale exhibition for the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF) at EATcetera restaurant. The goal is to transform negative thoughts and emotions into positive and blissful ones with new art experience and charity support and you can learn more about it here.
I am looking forward to the Art Fair Singapore 2021, Art Fair Sydney 2022. I also conduct online lesson on abstract gold leaf painting with materials delivered to participants. Workshops can be booked through my website. The goal of my intuitive abstract art teaching is to help people to relax, to enjoy and stress release. I try to show them that anyone can paint and be yourself while enjoying the process.
Where can we see some of you work online, are these for sale ?
You have a passion for abstract art Russian master Wassili Kandinski (1866-1944), why is that?
In the work of Kandinsky, colours did not perform only a descriptive function, but carried their own symbolic meaning. He wrote without object, expressing the spiritual principle in this, he freed spirituality from objectivity. He is not only a talented artist, but also a writer and scientist. His paintings sound like music.
Another thing, Kandinski was already a talented lawyer with a great carrier at the age of 30 then he decided to make a very brave decision and gave up science to study art, opposite of his first profession. Kandinski can be a great example for many talents, who want to change their major to arts, but have a lot of fears. It’s never late to start to do what you love and everyone has a chance to succeed.
Your favourite museum in Singapore ?
Art Science museum is my favourite in Singapore, such an amazing and inspiring place.
So far, your most vivid memory of life in Asia?
Life in Asia is already vivid and memorable so it is very hard to pinpoint one memory. I can say Asia is very bright, colourful and Asians taught me a lot about loving life and I would like to stay here and appreciate it even more.
If you were to name one mentor who has inspired you in your life and path as an artist, who would that be?
My mentor is myself and my conscience. Human is a unique animal and everything we have inside of ourselves just need to be unlocked and to do so, we have to be brave enough to be honest with ourselves. And this is one of the goals of my art — to help people find this key.
To view more of Natalia’s artworks, head over to her Instagram: @nataliadeniskoart