Interview with the artist Natalya Nova.
Natalya, you are a successful artist. Was art already your desire since ever? What were the steps of your art career?
I grew up in Orenburg, Russia in the 90s where technology was way behind and generated tremendous excitement. I remember holding my first camera at twelve years old and how magical it felt. I documented everything I saw and looking back at those videos it seems like time stood still.
At the age of nineteen I moved to New York, no parents, just me and my adventurous mind. I didn’t know yet who I wanted to be but was eager in my search.
At the age of 23 I graduated from ICP (International Center of Photography) in New York. I went to my favourite teacher with tears in my eyes saying, “I can’t believe it’s over.” He replied, “Darling, it’s only the beginning.”
Today I want to be an artist who is true to herself. I work hard and I follow my passion to create.
You are working as photographer and painter. How did it come that you choose these two?
I feel that my photography has always been a form of painting. I started actually painting a year ago after I wrote a story and was inspired to put it on a canvas.
What inspires you for your art?
I’m inspired by anything that provokes an authentic emotion.
What does it mean to you living in New York? Which advantages and disadvantages living and working there do you see compared with other cities?
New York City has always been my dream city. Everything I do is refracted through the lens of being here. I don’t think I would have been the same artist or person if I had stayed living in Orenburg.
I don’t see any disadvantages to living in New York. Its energy and diversity inspire me, but I realize it’s not for everyone. You have to be a warrior if you want to have a good life here. This city built my character and determination. I love Europe - France, Italy, but New York will always be my home.
You showed your “Self Portrait” photo series this year in Leica Gallery Soho. Tell us a bit more about this photo series.
Leicahas been the camera of choice of so many great artists. I was fortunate to be offered a three month show this year. The show consisted of images shot with the Leica Smedium format system.
My “Self-Portraits” series is a projection of my dream self. What may seem abstract to the viewer is to me a language rooted in symbolism and allegory.
Quite different are your latest pieces of art, the “Emoji Art”. What’s the story behind them?
My inspiration came from the book cover “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell. It depicts the face of Jesus made with tiny portraits of people of different races and religions. The concept of images within an image fascinated me. It showed me the subtle yet deep underlying content of the book.
I like the playfulness of the “Emoji” series, and I hope you will too.
Is there any project which you really would love to realize in the future?
Recently, I started silk-screen printing. It opened up another level of possibilities for me.
I have a few new projects that I’m working on at the moment, but I’m not yet ready to share. All I can say is that they will be completely different from what I’ve been doing so far, and I am really excited to bring them to fruition. As my dear friend once told me, “The best ideas are the ones that you actually do”.
Thank you for the interview!