Our latest #mymoderncareer interview dives deep into what it is like to be a mural and installation artist. Nastia Gladushchenko took the leap from a successful Interior Architecture career to following her dreams as an artist. Nastia’s work examines the relationship between humans and the plant world. The main themes carried through all her pieces are Identity, Connection to place and an Exploration of the ways of seeing/understanding the world. Coming from a background in Interior Architecture, Nastia is sensitive to the way our environments affect our bodies and our minds. By creating multi-sensory pieces made of a mix of natural and man-made materials, she wishes to transport people to a place between a playground and a meditative space. Her previous works have been described as ethereal and dreamy.
As well as running a personal art practice, Nastia is interested in creating pieces for and with the community to allow them to access art and to experience its’ benefits in public spaces. Read more to find out all about Nastia’s career path, the biggest challenge in making the change and what inspires her beautiful work.
Hi Nastia, thank you for joining us for our #mymoderncareer interview series! Let’s get straight into it…
We would love to know how you first got into Interior Architecture and what it entails as a job/career?
I got into Interior Architecture via a series of accidents. During school, I was obsessed with making art but at the end of high school I realised architecture was a natural extension of the subjects I was good at and applied for a place at UTS. Through a mistake on my application and despite having the marks, I didn’t get in (despite many pleading phone calls) and I was instead offered a place in Interior Architecture at UNSW. I decided to try it out for a year and got hooked.
Interior Architecture focuses on the design of the interior of a building and the experience of the people within it. It encompasses joinery design, lighting design, internal planning, selection of finishes and fittings and a focus on detailing. My studies gave me the opportunity to live in The Netherlands where I became more involved with public and large-scale art. My last job in interiors was for an Interiors and Experiential design agency which was definitely the gateway drug to my art practice.
“Don’t put it off because in the future you will wish that you’d started following your dreams sooner.”
What were some typical parts of that job and what did you love the most about it?
I worked on everything from fashion shows to 2000m2 interior refurbishments and was often asked to curate art pieces for events and interiors. This curation aspect allowed me to collaborate with lots of different local artists which was fantastic but I also loved seeing the effect a wonderous space had on people.
Two years ago you decided to make a BIG change, (wo)manning up as you describe it (which we love!), to leave your career and explore your true passion as a mural and installation artist. Tell us about that journey?
I was in a role that gave me a lot of creative control of many events and interiors projects so I slowly began to lead the studio in the production of large-scale installations. I loved these projects and decided to combine my love of interior spaces, art-making and plants to build my own art practice around floral murals and installations.
“I decided to combine my love of interior spaces, art-making and plants to build my own art practice around floral murals and installations.”
What advice would you give other women who are thinking of making the change to follow their dreams?
If not now, when? This is a line that stuck in my head during the change so I guess my advice would be don’t put it off because in the future you will wish that you’d started following your dreams sooner.
Hardest thing about making the change?
Opportunities to learn and evolve and to work with like-minded humans.
How do you find inspiration for your art/work?
I love to observe people and plants. And because the focus of my work is to bring nature into urban spaces, to reconnect humans with the natural world, I am very much inspired by streetscapes and abandoned spaces.
Favourite piece or career highlight so far?
The mural I painted on the corner of Young and Oxford Streets in Paddington a little while ago is definitely a highlight. The challenges of painting a large piece like this made it unforgettable. I am also still receiving lovely messages and photographs from people who are loving walking past the piece. For me that is what public works are all about – creating inspiring experiences for people.
Thank you so much Nastia for sharing your career story so far and some of your beautiful work. For more from this super talented artist and all of the latest pieces, follow Nastia on Instagram!