Nazrinka Musayeva is a multidisciplinary artist based in Baku, Azerbaijan. She often recycles non-traditional materials to create larger-than-life installations both in public and private spaces. Here, Nazrinka discusses her passion for creating something out of nothing and why her unorthodox practice is so important to her.
Q: How did art first enter your life?
Nazrinka: I have always been fond of art since childhood; my sister and I would spend our time painting or making gifts for our loved ones. As a supporter of our then hobbies, our mom put us in a drawing group. We were there for a month, and then when our work was not selected for exhibitions, we became upset and abandoned the group altogether. Since then, we haven't visited an art studio, but the craving for art remained. I wove bracelets, sewed soft toys and apparel for dolls, and then one day, my parents decided that art should become my direction in life, especially since I was not particularly good at school. All subjects, except Russian, literature, and drawing, were difficult for me, but from the first time I painted for other people, nothing else seemed to interest me.
After graduating from school, I entered the Academy of Arts in decorative and applied arts. There, I met many artistic styles and discovered different types of tapestry weaving. At the same time, I was engaged in modeling, graphics, and design. I tried out many of my own strengths in the arts, tested my capabilities, and was driven by my addiction to art. At one point, I even left fine arts and became fascinated by photography. I shot everything and learned about photography through reading and the internet. However, after a year of photography, my interest in it cooled down. I realized that it was not for me. Now, I don't even take a camera around with me, and if I need to take a photo of something, I just use the camera on my phone.
When did you stat using non-traditional materials in your work?
The first experience for me was during the preparation of an exhibition by YARAT. The theme of the exhibition called for me to show the connection of contemporary art with the past. My work took the form of a giant binocular that was made up of 400 smaller binoculars. Through the function of approximation-distance, the piece allowed you to both look at the past and into the future. It was my first acquaintance with metal. I didn’t really understand what wire rod was, nor what welding was. However, the result was definitely worth it.
Video art was no less interesting for me. I love animals and decided to show the attitude of people towards them. The work turned out to be psychedelic. The video consisted of a child, a successful person with a girl, and a poacher. They were spinning to specific music on three chairs and in the background was a cage with a little bear cub, which I filmed at the zoo. By the way, I really do not like zoos nor circuses, and when I go there, I experience stress and only come to my senses after a very long time. In all these works, the theme is somehow addressed to animals, because I am very concerned about their fate when in the hands of people.
How did plastic bags start appearing in your works?
In my country, an international project called “From Waste to Art” was somehow conducted, which made it necessary to create work from garbage and showcase it in exhibitions. I decided to turn to street art, as this is the closest thing to me. I used ordinary plastic bags as a material. I collected them all from acquaintances, relatives, and friends; sometimes I had to look for packages in the right colors on the streets. I created a job that I called "Second-Art." Plastic bags are materials that harm a lot of animals, and the idea for this particular kind of art was born out of this thought. The result was unexpected even for me, because for the first time, I used such unexpected yet simple materials. I used only bags, glue, and a stapler.
What are your plans for the near future?
I dream of a personal exhibition and am already persistently preparing for it. In addition to the old works, I am going to make new paintings made of packages. I'm very superstitious so I won't go into too many details, but I will say this: If everything works out, then you might see my exhibition next Spring.
Thanks for sharing, Nazrinka! We appreciate your commitment to your craft! ◆
You can find more of Nazrinka's work on her Tumblr.
Shayla Glover is a fine arts photographer who focuses on themes of abstraction and manipulation. She will be exhibiting some of her work later this year at Millepiani Gallery in Rome. Here, Shayla discusses the creative process behind some of her most meaningful photography series.
Worlds Within Worlds
I used this project to look at the landscape around us in a new and unusual way. Within my work, I like to create new ways of seeing the world around us so this project encompasses this. The spherical shapes represent this idea of there being unusual and other worlds within our own, just by adjusting our views.
Mum & Me
I shot this series on a medium format camera, which was the first time I had taken one out to a location. So this was a process of me learning as I went. The series itself looks at the relationship between my mum and myself, and how it has changed or stayed the same since she had recently just moved to a new town. It also became more about the relationship between photographer and model/sitter because, as I said, I had never shot with medium format on location before.
I started this project when I moved to Lymington in Hampshire, England after graduating this past July. Although my mum has lived here for almost three years now, it is still a relatively new place for me. I wanted to start a project that looks at the history (the old) and bring them into today (the new). My style of photography is abstraction and giving the subjects I photograph a "new" lease of life and to be looked at in a different way.
In this series, I am looking at the relationship between my grandparents and myself. My nan loves the garden and flowers so I thought using flowers would be a good starting point. Flowers also have meaning behind them so I thought I could relate these back to my relationships. This project came about during a time when my grandad got diagnosed with leukemia. [This project] felt like the best way to deal with the emotions I was going through. Unfortunately, my grandad passed away before I finished this series of work.
Jessica Moritz is a French-Israeli artist based in Tel Aviv. Her talents span various mediums, including painting, printing, graffiti, and sculpture, to name a few. She has been awarded the 2006 LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE Young Artists' Award and the 2008 TAKASAGO Prize. Here, Moritz dives into her creative process, highlighting what went into two women-inspired series, "Liberty Girls" and "The Other Women."
In my work, I explore the status of women through the ages and different eras, as well as their representation and relationships with all people. I use images in ads or iconic illustrations in history. I use patterns to connect visual images with characters, placing them in the same spaces. With painting, I like to explore ideas of relationships, representation, and colors. I try to suggest different perspectives and reactions to the world in which we know so well. To me, images tell stories in the same way people or patterns do. Pattern is used as a reflection of images and drawing, as if each silhouette or portrait could be the same value as others. We identify bodies as part of our common knowledge, and often times, human intimacy is removed from that. Pattern is a disguise to cover up or illuminate some other parts [of our bodies], and subsequently, pattern can use lines in other ways. Lately, I've been researching and playing around more with colors and lights. I try to use less to show more.
This series was one of the projects I did while I was in residency at Con Artist Collective in New York. I usually worked on 3 to 5 projects at the same time. As I was working on big paintings and small drawings, as well as processing different artistic mediums and the New York vibe, I started to feel that [the human] flesh was being taken for granted, relationships among people were becoming sterile, and colors around me looked faded. Today, people can easily have relationships with others without any [substantial] connections with them, and bodies have lost the speciality in their quality.
Around the same time as when I made these discoveries, I met a guy who was completely disconnected from this world. He had no color, no smell, and he was out of time. At least, that ’s what I thought at first, but of course, I was wrong. He wanted to close off all connections to this world but not with me. We got closer. As much as he let me see his world, I had to read between the lines. Everyday, I was discovering new layers, so many shadows, and so much color, all at the same time. I decided to use these feelings in my work.
Line drawings are, from a distance, what we usually have between each other. The "liberty pattern" is old-fashioned, very used, and common. You can find it on tea packaging, book covers, and also on boxes of tampons. I felt it was the right amount of universal knowledge that I could use. With the bodies I depicted, I had to research sex images that dated back since the existence of photography. Body representation has existed for so many centuries, but the pictures we have and the culture around sex are all different. My process consisted of watching porn and looking at vintage pictures of eroticism. It's so crazy the progression of nudity through time and the different uses of framing and scaling of images through the ages.
I didn’t realize that many people around me would feel uncomfortable or excited about this kind of art and process. To me, it was just a reflection of what was happening in my life and in my art. Patterns are like avatars of feelings and sensations, of intersecting light. Layers of colors stand in as memory, and bodies can be seen as abstractions and interactions among others. I intentionally shattered some lines in my work and drew new borders. This series is a representation of how I see, live, and connect with people.
"The Other Women"
This series is about some stories I had heard and read. Like everyone else, I am connected to the world through social media, talking with friends, and even taking public transportation. Some days I feel like reading a crappy vintage novel or listening to rotten gossip. I started these art pieces without knowing it would become a series. I was trying to picture them in the moment. I used vintage ads, photographs, and magazines to get this particular kind of framing in the images. As usual, I worked with layers of plain colors, drawing, and pattern; this is my "trinity" when it comes to art. Little by little, the series started growing. I have so many stories written about my drawings. Each story has some writing, sometimes a poem, that tells a little bit more about the piece.
After writing about and drawing these pieces, a thought dawned on me. Most of the women in these pictures I found looked insecure and lacking of self confidence. This is why I try to see them in just one moment, but I also try to make these women as colorful as they appear to me. A moment in your life cannot define you. Neither can a single line.
Thanks, Jessica! You've given us new perspective on our surroundings! ◆