For me, inspiration is primarily a desire to share something. And we can talk about many things because throughout our life we study […]
Natalie Kayurova is a twenty-seven-year-old artist from Kamchatka–a 1,250-kilometre-long peninsula in the Russian Far East, also known as an “artist from the far corners of the Earth.” Here, she grew up among brown bears, breathtaking nature, and fiery volcanoes. While studying painting, she worked with traditional materials like oils, pastels, and sketching pencils. The games industry came into Natalie’s life right alongside computer graphics, which is when her existing approach met with CG, making something completely new. She’s got seven years’ worth of experience in this field now. She told us:
Since our work is mostly sedentary, I like to run and ride a bike because I don’t want to ossify at all. I try to live in the daytime, but the most productive part of my work is usually at three in the morning, so I have to say goodbye to healthy sleep.
Natalie’s art is a mix of flowing, organic forms, and an almost esoteric atmosphere, like that of the calm in Lovecraft’s tales or a newly-opened deck of tarot cards. Her pieces of undiscovered mystery evoke questions and thoughts, making us stop in time while we search for the answers.
Her landscapes allow her place of birth to shine through in her work, and her VR experiments show us that she’s always willing to try new things if they can push her work to new heights. We hope that you enjoy this exclusive as much as we did.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself, what was leading you to art?
Well, let’s start simple – my name is Natalie and I am an artist. I think the main point that brought me to art is my childhood, namely the place where I was born – Kamchatka. This is a small peninsula in the far east of Russia, of truly incredible beauty. And one of the existing stereotypes about life in Russia is clearly expressed there – sometimes bears walked the streets. While I was a child, there were no impulses to draw, a view from a window with raging colours of nature, wild animals, and a bottomless sky overhead was enough. But, around 2005, my family and I moved to St. Petersburg, and here my path of becoming an artist began.
I was greeted by a completely different world, powerful architecture, a fast pace of life, everything was confused in my head and there was an impulse because of the concrete around, the one suggesting to bring the colours that surrounded me in childhood. I began to draw small sketches of nature, and I enjoyed this activity. I became more consciously interested in painting, viewing various reproductions and art books and the realization that a person can express feelings and thoughts not only in words but also by form and colour suggested to me the vector of further development.
“I will speak through pictures.” – the stars aligned.
“Dr.Protzlaw and his patients”
Where does your inspiration come from, and how do you keep yourself motivated?
For me, inspiration is primarily a desire to share something. And we can talk about many things because throughout our life we study, read different books, travel, or stand in line for coffee – all of this finds a response, a reaction within us that we want to share. So it is with me – sometimes a simple walk with music can cause such a storm of visual images, making my hands reach for my brushes without my consent. Motivation can be too sentimental, but I will say it as it is – pictures can guide, give some a kind of emotional charge, contain a story that can affect a person and I want to believe that my paintings can please someone, brighten up their stay on our planet.
Even if it isn’t so, this occupation makes me happy, which is also not bad.
Do you believe it is necessary to attend a school and study art in today’s day and age, or would you recommend learning by oneself instead?
I can say that basic knowledge is very important, so yes – we can study everything on our own, especially now that information has become as accessible as possible. But it is difficult to see your mistakes in the beginning. If there are more experienced artists whose paintings you like nearby, and they are ready to help with advice and point out weak points – this will help you to skill-up quickly.
I was studying for three years to be an art teacher at the art faculty of St. Petersburg Herzen University and attended academic drawing courses before entering. This gave me a more accurate understanding of the learning process, from simple to complex, how colour, perspective, and anatomy works. This is the foundation that will help to express ideas clearly through pictures.
How did you go about finding a personal style?
Oh, this is a very difficult topic. Sometimes I revise my paintings, and it seems that they were all painted by different people.
Some details go from picture to picture, but somehow it’s all unconscious and random. Probably depends on the mood and feelings. I really like geometry, rigid shapes and at the same time, I like plasticity, smoothness. This style can imagine as a large brutalist building with an Art Nouveau facade. Yeah, sounds interesting but I wouldn’t live there.
This search for harmony of rigid and smooth forms can be clearly seen in the series of paintings “yellow mind”, where I tried to inscribe softer forms with a chaotic texture in the general geometric rhythm. And so far there is no exact language of expression, today I want to draw everything in black and gold geometry, and tomorrow I will take and draw a red circle, who knows.
Tell us about your favourite artists, classical or contemporary, and describe how they influence the work you do.
Turner, Levitan, Vrubel, Nash… It is difficult to single out a specific artist, there are many paintings that I like and they are very different in genre and mood, for example, Bacon’s painting “Portrait of Pope Innocent X” – pure expression, “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp” by Rembrandt – the picture is full of movement, due to the arrangement of characters and their poses, Levitan’s “Nenuphar” is just a joy for the eyes, a very warm and calm atmosphere.
At the time of my art formation, I watched many reproductions of different masters and thought why I like the picture, and then I noticed that somewhere a certain color works well, somewhere the composition is built harmoniously, and I tried to repeat this in my works. So I learned a little from all of these artists.
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Iinspired by “Yellow Mind” series
We’d love to know a thing or two about your personal art, so please tell us about the themes present in your work. What are some of messages you want people to find in your pieces.
My paintings are a small collection of thoughts about life, experiences, sensations, embodied in images of nature and man. There is no definite message. I just feel that our world is a beautiful, harmonious system on both cosmic and microscopic scales. Therefore, I want the pictures to be visually attractive instead of arousing rejection. Even in case of difficult themes, like in the “yellow mind” series about the cycle of life and death, I tried to convey in graceful forms, without an eerie scenes.
Interestingly enough, whatever I put into the picture can be read differently by the viewer. Sometimes while reading comments below my artworks I can see that the work is being comprehended differently.
Inspired by “Peaky Blinders”
Please walk us through your current favourite workflow from start to finish.
The process itself is like a separate theatrical performance. I am starting to draw, while I keep the image in my head, the approximate shapes and colours. First I sketch some spots on the canvas gradually adding complexity – and this is where the fun begins. With each new layer, the process begins to drag me into the depths of the unknown so that the original idea fades into the background and my hands themselves lead me the direction they want.
The picture changes several times, by about the middle of the time spent, the whole composition may totally collapse, some new details appear that I did not even think about at the beginning of the drawing. It seems this can go on forever, but it always comes to the point where I intuitively understand this is the final – there is nothing more to add, the picture has came together, and subsequent actions would only pollute it.
This is what I like most – to surrender to the process and observe what will
come out of it.
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Can you tell us a little bit about the Russian art scene? What’s the atmosphere like over there?
In Russia, we do not have artists but monsters! (In the best sense of the word). There are a lot of talented guys, incredibly trained in art techniques, drawing in different styles and work for game dev, films, books, or for own projects. I would say the atmosphere here is inspiring. I like that the guys are not afraid to bring a touch of Russian folklore, beautiful–sometimes absurd, into their work. They raise quite serious social themes in their paintings, they philosophize a lot and are also looking for themselves.
But it seems that like in any country, the atmosphere in the artistic environment also depends on society’s mood. While everything is calm, the artists are doing something detached, but in a more unstable time, you want to draw something provocative, related to the topic of the day. As it was in due time with the avant-garde.
What’s next for Natalie Kayurova?
For myself, I set several goals for the near future, like to delve into the study of anatomy, where I want to solidify fundamentals. I would also like to master 3D. A lot of interesting things can be done with a Blender, and I want to try some features in animation, creating a parallax effect to “revive” some of my paintings. I’ll be somewhat like Dr Frankenstein. (Smiles).
Visit Natalie’s ArtStation
By Vox Groovy staff writer;
All images used with permission by the artist
© Natalie Kayurova or respective copyright holders
Article in Slovak language;