It’s sometimes unusual during 2020 to discover an artists work in person, before seeing it online! I was lucky enough to have that experience with today’s featured artist Nadia Fediv @nadiafediv having seen her work at the Framing Company I trained at a few months back!
Fediv and I spoke between London and New York, chatting about artist careers, highlights, artistic families, influences and more. Psst. Fediv has some amazing advice at the end of the interview that everyone should read!
She describes her work in three words as “Humorous Hairy Fun”, and it’s easy to see why. Each piece makes you smile: prickly black hairs standing out from the poppy paint backgrounds in often nostalgic, summer scenes!
Describing the most iconic and significant aspect of her work, she says:
“I would have to say the hairy legs wearing sock and sandals. It's actually a staple in a Ukrainian household to wear тапочки which means slippers in Ukrainian. If you don’t wear them you will be reminded that you will get the worst cold of your life. It was a staple in my wardrobe and wore everyday as a kid.”
NADIA IT IS SO EXCITING TO INTERVIEW YOU AFTER SEEING YOUR WORKS IN THE FLESH WHEN WORKING AS A FRAMER! TELL ME, Where are you answering these questions from?
I wish in New York City but I am answering these lovely questions in my childhood home till things get slowly better.
How would you describe your work in three words?
Humorous Hairy Fun
AND NADIA How did you get to where you are now?
It’s been incredible. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many like minded artists. I feel so loved and supported. I took a lot of risks to get where I am in my career. I feel like that will never stop and I’ll be always striving for more. I lived in a small city fifteen minutes away from Chicago. I lived in the same home almost all my life. So the thought of change and my parents seeing me move far away from home was hard. But what was even harder was telling them that I wanted to be a painter. They had a hard time accepting the idea. I knew all my life even as a kid my love and fascination for art. But I felt so lost as I grew older cause I knew the certain major I was studying was only to make my family happy. But I never took into consideration my own happiness. I had a lot of people in my life at the time who scared me away from opportunities projecting their own insecurities on me. This was the tipping point of all my anxiety and knew that I couldn't continue living life for others just to please them.
Where did you grow up? What did you study Nadia?
I was born in Chicago and then moved to Park Ridge, IL which is a small city near Chicago. Park Ridge had a lot of life back then. I grew up in a neighborhood with 7 other boys. I instantly became a tom boy and would try to beat them in any sport. They didn't think a girl could swing a bat just as good as them but I proved them wrong. During the summer, you could never get us inside. We would climb trees, build forts, play basketball, hide and seek and eat ice cream on the driveway with dirt and grass all over our legs.
I studied psychology for over 3 years until I decided to switch my major to Fine Arts and transferred to School of Visual Arts in New York City.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight of my career would have to be the group show I did recently with Plastic Murs called “System Failure”. Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic right now I would love to visit Spain next year and personally give a hug and my thanks to the gallery for being so heartwarming.
What would you say is the most significant aspect of your art? And how did this come about?
I would have to say the hairy legs wearing sock and sandals. It's actually a staple in a Ukrainian household to wear тапочки which means slippers in Ukrainian. If you don’t wear them you will be reminded that you will get the worst cold of your life. It was a staple in my wardrobe and wore everyday as a kid. The hairy legs represent me. I tend to paint the leg isolated because that's how I felt growing up in my childhood. dealing with insecurities of my height which I was made fun of or constantly point out for. Constantly feeling awkward, shy, too introverted, for the world. The art I create with the hairy legs and arms are elements of random memories from my past or childhood that I’ve experienced that have left an impact in my life. I add hidden symbols or memories that are important to me. I love that only I know the real meaning behind each piece and no one can take that away from me.
WAS YOUR FAMILY INVOLVED IN THE ART WORLD?
My family background has a lot to do with my love and inspiration for art. You would never catch me without a marker or notebook in my hand. I loved drawing and painting on everything. Sorry mom for destroying all your phone books with my doodles. My great uncle who I unfortunately never got to meet was a violin maker. He was born in Ukraine and worked in a couple of shops in Germany and Poland before moving to Chicago where he opened his own shop. I remember as a kid listening to my great aunt talking about my great uncle. She even at her age was still in love with him and missed him dearly. I remember her house vividly. She would always have the radio or some of her records playing in the background. She would sit in her chair and share stories about him and expressed how happy he was in life doing what he loved. That always stuck to me. We still have a lot of his original work, sketches, and portraits hanging around our childhood home. As a kid it was hard not to be curious. My aunt is an oil painter. She loves what she does and growing up as a kid she would always give me lessons. She taught me how to use watercolor, how to mix oil paints and the basics of painting a landscape. I remember how much I loved her little studio and the smell of linseed oil when you entered the room. She was the one who pushed me to start my career in New York City. Right before I made my decision I drove to her home and we sat in her studio. She told me about her experience in the city and that you won't lose anything if you just try. In January of 2019 at the age of 21, I packed my belongings and started my career in art in New York City.
Who or what are your greatest influences, and how do these come out in your work NADIA?
My greatest influence would have to be Misaki Kawai. I am absolutely obsessed with her energy and art work. I look at them religiously and I think I’ve watched her interview with vice like 20 times.
Just having fun and not taking myself so seriously.
Nadia, what questions drive your practice? What are the focuses and themes of your work?
Honestly I don’t have one. What drives me is more of the feeling I get in my stomach and burst of happiness when I finish a piece.
A lot of the focus of my work is color. The theme would definitely have to be hair. Hair everywhere.
Can you tell us a bit about your process, and how each of your artwork comes to be?
My process usually begins in my bed listening to music and pulling up my sketch pad on photoshop. I usually go through my notes that I write down that are random thoughts and ideas. Sometimes it's hard to understand the jumble of words I write down at 3 in the morning but I try to make it work. Then I take a couple days playing around with color, placement, and shape. Usually when i'm done with my sketch I take a screenshot of it and leave the image of the sketch on my desktop for a few days. If they're still there by the end of the week I then paint.
If you could own one piece of artwork in the world, as if money or likelihood was no issue, what would it be and why?
Hmm dang I’m a libra and so indecisive so this is actually a hard one for me. I actually have a list of pieces I’d love to have but if I had to just choose one it would have to be Common Sense Jonathan Lasker 2010. I absolutely love that piece and the colors used. I love his color palette, line work and the textures.
If you could have a meal with any artist from any time:
a) what would the meal be
A vegan beyond burger with animal style fries from this amazing fast food restaurant in New York City called Marty’s V Burger. But you have to make sure to ask for extra secret sauce on the side.
b) who would it be with?
Definitely Ai WeiWei
Do you have any upcoming shows we should know about?
As far as of right now no. But you can check out my prints that are available in the meantime!
Who is your Favorite Historical female artist?
Yayoi Kusama. I would love to live in mirror room. I can really relate to a lot of the struggles she faced when first becoming an artist. She is so wise and has gone through a lot of struggles in her life. But I find her so beautiful and inspiring because no matter how tough life got for her she always turned to art.
and your Favourite current practicing female artists and their instagram handles?
Katie Stout @ummmsmile
Catherine Haggarty @catherine_haggarty
Yulia Iosilzon @yuliusprime
Maja Djordjevic @majadjordjevic_
Nina Chanel Abney @ninachanel
Marta Galindo García @martagalindogarcia
Super Future Kid @superfuturekid
Leslie Diuguid @dugoodpress
Deja Patterson @wonderfullyartistic
Driely Carter @drielycarter
Hiejin Yoo @hiejin_yoo
Emilie Stark-Menneg @emiliestarkmenneg
Sophia Vigne Welsh @sophia_vigne
Is there anything else you wanted to say?
I want to say to be your true self. Don’t waste your time and energy pleasing others who don’t show the same respect. Have fun with your work. It can be so easy to lose yourself during the process. Dance to loud music with paint all over your clothes. It’s okay to not know what you are doing, just continue to experiment. Be cautious who you choose to work with and do a little research before saying yes. I know it can be so exciting but ask yourself does that space include others? Are they including other female, lgbtqia+, black, and hispanics artists? Make sure they aren’t tokenizing their art and taking advantage of your energy. Do little things that make you happy. Don’t worry about what other people think of you. Make sure to surround yourself with people who will uplift you and will be by your side. Also don’t be afraid to make mistakes that's the only way you learn and evolve as a human being.