Natalia Avdeeva is a familiar face on the streets of Kensington and Chelsea, often seen with a brush in hand. A determinate and charming artist, she spends most of her time outside, painting and drawing Chelsea’s streets, parks, bridges, river and iconic cityscapes. This summer over 150 of her latest works go on show at the Bankside Gallery from June 20 – July 2.
What is it about Kensington and Chelsea that inspires much of your work?
My journey in the UK began in Kensington and Chelsea, when in 2005 I decide to leave St Petersburg where I was working as a museum tour guide to pursue the arts and complete my art studies at Heatherley School of Fine Art in Chelsea. I have worked in Chelsea ever since then and now have a studio on the Kings Road.
Chelsea is one of those places that holds you or it doesn’t. And it has held me for a while. It’s the place where I had my first exhibition. It is a very bohemian area and has character which still remains. There are plenty of interesting and creative artists here and I have met some incredible people that have really inspired me.
What are your favourite places?
Sloane Square, Peter Jones, Chelsea Green and all the little streets and mews around are some of my favourite spots. Chelsea is very organic and natural and it works so well with bridges, buses and cars. The Embankment and Albert Bridge near Battersea are also beautiful. I love catching the sunrise and sunset from there.
I have a great passion for the English coastline: Isle of Scilly in Cornwall, Suffolk, Norfolk, Devon and Dorset. The Isles of Scilly is a beautifully weird place. You become absorbed into a different dimension; colours and smells are so vivid that you feel almost a part of nature itself. The coast of England features in a number of my paintings that will be showcased at my exhibition at Bankside.
Tell us about your method as a landscape artist
I like to experiment with both traditional and contemporary methods of landscape painting. It’s my own interpretation of the landscape and the experience of plein air that I carry back to the studio. I reinterpret the same scene with a different technique adding the same vibe, experience and adrenaline to create something original.
As a Russian artist, I am expected to be traditional in the way that I paint landscapes but I enjoy experimenting with non-traditional methods. I use oil paints that are quite subtle and detailed, so I am still traditional but I have been experimenting widely to create something modern and contemporary.
I have been using a print machine, which is used to create limited edition prints, together with oil and acrylic paints. The blend of these has allowed me to divert from the details and come up with something abstract. The societies I belong to would not recognise my contemporary work as landscape art, but my clients have been requesting for me to create more of these innovative paintings.
Where can we see your work?
I have a major exhibition showcasing over 150 of my work entitled “Above and Beyond”. Some of my works feature views from above, where you are able to admire the landscape, and beyond. In fact the beauty of nature is beyond limits, uncontrollable and beyond human understanding. It’s meaning that can be taken literally or in a more philosophical way.
The exhibition coming up this summer at Bankside Gallery, next to Tate Modern, is something that I am enthusiastic about because both my traditional and contemporary works will appear on the same walls. This is the first time, usually artists struggle to display works that are so different but I have managed to find a medium to connect them together. And the result is surprisingly exciting.
Interview by Monica Achieng-Ogola
Article featured of KCT, Kensington and Chelsea Today – June