'Three Cups of Coffee' - An Interview with Nataliya Bagatskaya

'Three Cups of Coffee' - An Interview with Nataliya Bagatskaya

July 23, 2019

Nataliya Bagatskaya was born in 1967. Graduated secondary school in 1985. Graduated childrens art school. Graduated from Kyiv National University of Technology and Design, specializing in designer in 1993. Academy of Psychosocial Technologies St. Petersburg in 2008 Psychology of the conflict, as well as the Institute of Personality Opportunities School of Energy-Informational Development since 2004.

Ukrainian artist, Nataliya Bagatskaya at one of her recent exhibitions


What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?

My talent for painting runs in my gene pool. Unfortunately, my parents believed that the role of artist was not a profession, so my talent could not find an expression for a long time. I started to work with fashion designing, whilst painting remained in my life as an interest and hobby. After a psychological burnout, painting has become the only thing that makes sense for me. On the recommendation of my psychiatrist, I left my previous job and have become an artist.

How would you describe your own personal style?

My style is a combination of magical realism and elements of abstractionism and symbolism. However, I even have realistic artworks, for example, portraits and abstractions with a sense of realism. I find using contrasting tones appealing to my inner self-expression. But at the same time I went through a cycle of creating large-sized black and white artworks by using charcoal and pastel on canvas.

What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?

The fact that I am more of a kinesthetic than a visual learner pushed me along the artistic path. I want to convey my state of consciousness on canvas and not to express a visual correspondence of it. For example, a series of landscapes was written according to my memories and impressions from what I saw, and not of how they looked like in reality.

"Assol", Nataliya Bagatskaya, Acrylic and Oil, 120cm x 90cm, 2017


What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?

I am happy to have the freedom to do what I love - to create, to enjoy the creativity of other people, and be myself. It is an inspiring feeling of being full of ideas that can be clearly presented in my artworks. It is an incredible feeling seeing something, which from the beginning had existed only in my thoughts, come to life on the canvas.

I like life’s endless opportunity to learn, to be able to choose projects that interest me, and to be able to express myself in my personally unique way, to express my world on canvas.

I put a piece of my soul into each artwork, and in that moment all the fears and troubles disappear without a trace. It is an amazing feeling when other people can touch my heart and my soul through my paintings. I am glad that my artworks are recognized by other artists, and I can say everything I want without any censorship.

Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?

My muse is my husband. He has a good sense of harmony and he notices all the flaws and inaccuracies in my works. It is important for me that he likes my paintings. Artists include Ivan Marchuk, Peter Doig and Istvan Sandori, who are a big source of inspiration for me too.

When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?

I often use levkas on canvas, spatulas and palette-knives of different forms. For the accurate work I use thin brushes with kolinsky hair. I prefer oils based on natural pigments and some of them, such as lead and antimony, I make myself.

"Quo Vadis?...", Nataliya Bagatskaya, Oil on Canvas, 100cm x 100cm, 2018


When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?

I try to express the idea of multi-dimensionality of existence in my artworks. I like the idea that reality exists simultaneously in many variants, and a person has a chance to choose any of them.

Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?

First, I have an idea, blurry and not a very clear idea. I think about it for a while and let it go. After a certain time I come back to this idea again. This process happens to me several times until I get a clear understanding of what I want to paint and how.

Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?

My ritual is represented by three cups of coffee in the morning ...)

When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?

I work only on one piece at a time.

"Two Quinces", Nataliya Bagatskaya, Oil on Canvas, 60cm x 40cm, 2017


How has your art evolved to be where it is today?

My artistic style has been developing in a certain sequence, like evolution. This personal evolution represents what I have wanted to share with the world since a long time back. Over time, my technique has been improving, I received both life and artistic experience, which, of course, found a reflection in my paintings. I used to paint realistically before, especially portraits, but now a significant part of my works are painted in a semi-abstract manner and are a mixture of different styles.

Which of your artworks are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the portraits that I have painted of notably outstanding and famous people of Ukraine.

Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?

Yes, there are a few bright artists, who are still alive and whom I admire. They are Peter Doig and Ivan Marchuk. I meet up with Ivan Marchuk quite often, and sometimes visit their workshops.

"Chio Chio San", Nataliya Bagatskaya, Acrylic & Oil on Canvas, 2017


If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?

If even I could travel in time, I would, nevertheless, remain in the present era. I like the times I live in.

What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?

I think that the main challenge is the replacing of original paintings with prints that reduce the value of original artworks. Besides that, I think that regardless of a style, an artist should be professional and possess knowledge of how to work with a certain style.

What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?

As Buddha said everyone goes his own unique way and I don’t want to distract young talents with my own points of view ...

"St. Andrews Church, Kyiv", Nataliya Bagatskaya, Acrylic on Canvas, 2017


Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?

The style which I admire is meta-modern. Meta-modern moves, swinging between opposites (between vibrations). Meta-modern does not offer us a complete idea or concept, but offers to find it on your own, using "oscillatory motion". It does not have a fixed position. It perceives the world and culture as one common flow of knowledge, this knowledge is a part of a common truth, where each unit is important and self-sufficient.

We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?

If my artwork is not completed due to some reason, I will not return to it ... At a certain point I get the feeling that this work cannot become better, so I sign it, and my consciousness lets it go.

Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?

I believe that the responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject and topic lies with the artist. Art in general can make a person better, teach him or her something new. I hope my artworks do it too. People can speak different languages, but art unites us, regardless of language barriers.

"Travel to the Carpathians", Nataliya Bagatskaya, Oil on Canvas, 2018


What are you working on at the moment?

I am working at the moment on landscape sceneries with levkas and petal.

Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?

I like to work independently and on my own, although it does not prevent me from communicating and exchanging ideas with other artists.


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