How did your artistic journey start, Olga?
I joined a group of watercolour artists in my local village hall. At that time, I had two small babies, and this class was a much-appreciated getaway. This has turned into a new pathway for me. I applied to UHI University in Inverness for a portfolio class and later joined Moray Art School for a BA Hons degree. I have graduated last year.

How did you arrive at the theme of your work?
As an artist, I find inspiration in the intricate emotions and relationships that shape our lives. Through years of exploring various subjects and experimenting with different artistic styles, I discovered a recurring fascination with the concept of duality and the juxtaposition of movement and stillness. This theme emerged organically as I delved into exploring contrasting elements such as energy and calm, restlessness and tranquillity, and fluidity and rigidity. Ultimately, the theme of my work reflects my ongoing journey of self-expression and my desire to capture the essence of movement and stillness in a visually captivating way.

Can you walk us through your creative process?
My creative process begins with observation and inspiration, drawing from various aspects of life. After researching and sketching rough ideas, I choose the medium that aligns with my vision. During creation, I apply technical skills, experiment with textures and colours, and embrace spontaneity. Regular evaluation and adjustments refine the artwork. When it effectively conveys my intended message and resonates with my initial inspiration, I consider it complete. Each creation contributes to my growth as an artist, building upon previous experiences and lessons learned.

How has your practice changed over time?
Over time, I have realised how much we are being impacted by the events around us, and my gaze moved from my inner world and self-exploration to capturing the impact on society in general.

How do you overcome creative blocks?
I step away from my work and give it space.

Who influences you? Which other artists work do you love? 
I find influence from a diverse range of sources, including other artists whose work I deeply admire. Among them, the abstract expressionists have had a significant impact on my artistic journey. Artists such as J. Pollock, M. Rothko, V. Kandinsky, and N. Goncharova have left an indelible mark on the art world with their bold, expressive, and emotionally charged creations. The way they fearlessly pushed the boundaries of traditional artistic techniques and embraced spontaneous gestures resonates with my own artistic exploration. Their ability to convey raw emotions and create powerful visual experiences continues to inspire me. Additionally, I draw inspiration from a variety of contemporary artists who bring fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to the art scene.

What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?
My advice to artists who are just starting out is threefold.

Firstly, embrace experimentation. Explore different styles, techniques, and mediums to discover what resonates with you. Allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. The process of experimentation will help you find your artistic voice and develop a unique style.

Secondly, persist through challenges. The artistic journey is filled with ups and downs, self-doubt, and creative blocks. It’s essential to keep going even when things get tough. Embrace the learning opportunities presented by obstacles, seek inspiration from other artists, and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback or guidance when needed. Remember that setbacks are stepping stones to growth.

Lastly, trust your unique creative voice. Your perspective and experiences make your art distinct. Embrace your individuality and express yourself authentically. Don’t compare your work to others or seek validation solely from external sources. Stay true to your vision and create art that resonates with you. Your passion and authenticity will shine through in your work and attract an audience that appreciates your artistic voice.

Above all, enjoy the process of creating art. Let your creativity flow, take risks, and never stop learning. Remember that every artist starts somewhere, so embrace your journey and believe in your potential. With dedication, persistence, and a willingness to grow, you can develop your skills and make a meaningful impact with your art.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about your work or your experiences as an artist?
My work, ‘Strength in Numbers,’ is quite different from my other pieces. It was greatly influenced by the conflict in Ukraine. Being of Russian-Ukrainian heritage, this situation has been soul-destroying. With this artwork, I aim to emphasise that true strength lies in unity rather than division. By bringing people together instead of separating them into different camps, we can find the strength to overcome challenges. | @odhart

See Olga’s work at our Summer Show, running at Six Foot Gallery until 6th July 2023.

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