Eco-artist Natalia Kapchuk on championing creativity and the causes close to her heart

What does the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?

The first 30 minutes of my mornings are dedicated to self-care and setting a positive tone for the rest of my day. I usually start by drinking a glass of lemon water to hydrate my body and flush out any toxins from my system. Then I do a quick yoga routine to stretch my muscles and calm my mind. I find that starting the day with physical activity helps me feel energized and focused. After yoga, I have a healthy breakfast, usually consisting of oats and fresh fruits, or if I’m on the go, a quick smoothie will suffice. I make sure to fuel my body with nutritious food to keep me going throughout the day. And as an eco-artist, I’m also conscious of my impact on the environment, so I try to eat seasonal
and locally sourced products, I avoid single-use plastic as much as possible.

Tell us more about the concept behind The Lost Planet series.

I’ve always been passionate about using my art to raise awareness about environmental issues and the impact that human activity has on our planet. The inspiration for my series The Lost Planet came from my growing concern about the degradation of our environment and the loss of biodiversity. I wanted to create a visual representation of the beauty of our planet and its collision with the impact that human activities are placing on it. I believe that art has the power to evoke emotions and stimulate change, and I wanted to use this power to raise awareness about the urgent need for us to protect our planet.

What eco-friendly techniques or materials have you employed in the process of creating pieces for The Lost Planet series?

I take great care in selecting my materials, blending natural elements like sand, volcanic stone, ash, crystals, fermented moss, dry flowers, tree bark, and more with industrial materials such as resin, resi-crete, paint, metal leaf, and fiberglass alternatives, expressing the interconnectedness of our world. The result in my opinion is a mesmerizing combination of textures, colours, and contrasts. In my piece Plastic Network (2019), for example, I invite observers to reexamine their actions and their impact on the world. This installation was created using single-use plastics, and The Lost Planet series as a whole, highlights the urgent need for change and is a love letter to my adoration of nature and discovery. For all who are able to attend, I welcome you to witness my latest exhibition, The Lost Planet at the architectural marvel that is the ME Dubai Hotel, designed by the late Zaha Hadid. This iconic structure will serve as a fitting backdrop to display my artworks and create a one-of-a-kind experience. The private view of the exhibition will take place on February 28, while public viewing will be open from March 1 to 28, 2023. I am confident that the combination of this stunning venue and the powerful messages instilled within my art will leave a lasting impression.

What do your artworks represent and what are you hoping for it to achieve?

My artworks represent my deep-rooted concern for the environment and my desire to raise awareness about environmental issues through my creative prowess. I know that I may often sound like a bit of a broken record, but I am a firm believer that art has the power to evoke emotions and stimulate thoughts, making it a powerful tool for creating change. My mixed media artworks highlight the pressing environmental challenges such as climate change, deforestation, plastic pollution, and wildlife extinction – the list goes on sadly, that the world is facing today. I use a blend of materials, such as recycled objects, natural fibres, and re-claimed woods and elements to reflect the harm we are causing to the planet and the need to restore it to its natural state. Through my art, I hope to inspire individuals to act toward a more sustainable future. I believe that by raising awareness and encouraging people to question their daily habits and consumption patterns, we can create a ripple effect that leads to larger-scale change. Moreover, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of my artworks goes towards environmental organizations and initiativesdear to my heart working towards a greener future. I aim to use my art not just as a means of spreading awareness but also as a sourceof funding for environmental causes that I am passionate about.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from the world around us, as I am particularly drawn to the beauty and majesty of nature, and the delicate balance between all living things. Through my work, I aim to capture the essence of the natural world and convey the message that we must all work together to protect it. Whether by the vibrant colours of a sunset, the intricacies of Earth’s flora, or the vastness of the heavens, the world around us is full of inspiration for those who seek it.

Where do you source your materials from and how challenging was it to refine this process?

A vast majority of my designs utilize sustainable and eco-friendly materials that I source through a variety of channels. These items include recycled plastics, reclaimed wood, other discarded materials, and more. I find immense love for upcycling and repurposing these materials, giving them new life through my art. I can admit that the process of refining my materialscan be challenging at times, but it is also incredibly rewarding. I say this because selecting materials that are safe for the environment and do not contribute to the ongoing problem of plastic pollution is important to me. This often requires me to spend time researching the materials and their sources, as well as experimenting with different techniques to create the desired effect. I also have to be mindful of the limitations of the materials and how they will hold up over time, especially since I want my art to last for generations. Despite the challenges, I believe that the work I am doing is important and has the potential to make a real impact on the world. It’s a journey that I am proud to be on and I am excited to see where it will take me next.

What have you learnt in the brand-building process and what advice would you give to those wanting to carve out their own pioneering career path?

Hmm. Great question. What I have learned throughout my career is that branding is crucial in building a successful career in the art world, or any realm for that matter. A strong and unique brand helps to differentiate you from others and establishes your credibility while setting you apart as an expert in your field. In my journey, I have learned that it’s vital to have a clear understanding of your artistic vision and to stay true to it. This will help you to develop a consistent and recognizable style that is easily identifiable with your brand. It’s also important to actively promote your work, through social media, exhibitions, and collaborations with other artists. This can help to build your network and increase exposure to your work. One of the most important things I have learned is to never stop learning and growing. This means constantly experimenting with new techniques and materials and staying up to date with the latest developments in the art world. It’s important to be open to new ideas and perspectives and to be willing to take risks and push the boundaries of your artistic practice. My advice is to be passionate and persistent. Building a successful career in the art world takes time and hard work. Focus on your art, and never be afraid to take chances or to make mistakes. Surround yourself with supportive people who believe in your vision and never stop striving to improve your craft.

How have you found social media has supported your brand growth and your advocacy?

I have found social media to be a valuable tool in supporting my brand growth and advocacy. It allows me to showcase my work, reach a wider audience, and most importantly raise
awareness about environmental issues. Social media has helped me establish a strong online presence and expand my reach through hashtags and tagging relevant individuals and organizations. Through consistent engagement and a commitment to my message, I have been able to make a real impact and reach new audiences. Throughout your career in the art space so far, are there any difficulties you’ve faced? As a female contemporary artist in the art space, I have faced several challenges throughout my career. One of the biggest difficulties has been navigating the competitive and often maledominated art world. As a woman, I have faced obstacles in terms of recognition and representation. Another challenge I have faced is balancing the business side of my art with the creative side. Running a successful art career involves a lot of administrative and financial work, and it can be difficult to find the time and energy to focus on both my art and the behind-the-scenes tasks required to run a business. That’s why I have surrounded myself with a strong team to make this process easier. I have also faced the challenge of staying true to my artistic vision while still appealing to a wider audience. It can be tempting to compromise my style or message to fit into what is currently popular or in demand, but it’s important to stay true to what I believe in and what sets my work apart.

How did you develop your signature mixed-media assemblage technique?

I developed my signature mixed-media style through a combination of experimentation, exploration, and intuition. My approach to art is rooted in a deep appreciation for the environment and a commitment to sustainable practices. This led me to experiment with using a range of materials and techniques to create unique and thought-provoking pieces that explore the relationship between humans and nature. I started incorporating different materials, such as recycled and found objects, into my work to create a more layered and textured visual experience. Over time, I honed my technique, becoming more confident in my ability to seamlessly integrate different materials and techniques into a cohesive whole. Through trial and error, I discovered the power of combining different textures and materials to create a multi-dimensional visual experience that engages the viewer on multiple levels. This led to the development of my signature mixed-media assemblage technique, which has become a defining characteristic of my work.

This is The Style Issue – what does style mean to you?

Personal style to me is about making informed and responsible decisions in how we present ourselves to the world. It is also about making conscious choices and taking a stand against the fast-paced and often unsustainable fashion industry, recognizing the impact our fashion choices place on the environment. Style transcends mere physical appearance and becomes a symbol of one’s individuality, showcasing who they are and what they stand for.

March’s – The Style Issue – 

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