Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Natalya Aikens - Pleasantville, New York

1. How do you describe yourself? I am an artist who works in textiles, fibers and recyclables. My main influence is my heritage (Russian) and the city I grew up in (St. Petersburg, Russia). My second influence are my two young daughters, they influence the way I work – 15 minutes at a time and with their light spirits always entangled in fairy tales.

2. What is your creative process? I usually start with an image in my head that will come to me as a reaction to something I am seeing or reading. Depending on the time of the day and my location, I’ll either sketch and/or make notes, or run to my studio and start pulling out supplies and materials that speak to me.

3. What's your style? My style varies with the series I am working on. It is pictorial when I am using photographs I have taken myself and altered in Photoshop for my St. Pete Stories series. It is abstract when I work on my Fantasies series. And back to Pictorial when I’m working on windows inspired by Russian fairy tales.

4. How long have you been a quilt maker/fiber artist? I have been a fiber artist for about eight years now, but have always in all my previous careers been involved with cloth. Fashion and Costume Design are still influencing the way I work.

5. Do you listen to music when you make art? Not usually as I am always listening for children's voices calling for me.

6. What do you do when you are blocked creatively? It rarely happens, but if it does, a good book, a walk or just cleaning my studio will do the trick.

7. Do you teach? I am just starting on my teaching journey, it is exciting and terrifying to me at the same time. But I’m loving it when the students ‘get’ what I am trying to say and are excited by the possibilities as am I.

8. Are there artistic endeavors that you have yet to do? Oh the list is looong... And probably not finished yet...

9. How do you balance your family life and art? In 15 minute increments!

10. What is the best part about what you do? The tactile nature of cloth is soothing, the ability to make art out of something destined for the dump is empowering!

Natalya Aikens
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