Nataliia Stryzhko

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As a part of our series about supporting business development in Texas, global fashion, art, and philanthropy projects we had the pleasure of interviewing Nataliia Stryzhko

N.S. Natalia was born in Ukraine, where she received her education and built her professional career.
She studied art at Kyiv University B. Hrinchenko, then received a Master of History of Arts at the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture, Kyiv, Ukraine. The artist’s personal exhibitions have been held both in Ukraine and abroad. She regularly participates in important international art events.
Her works are presented in many private collections as well as in the Office of the President of Ukraine.

In the winter of 2022, she was forced to flee the war with her seven-year-old son and found refuge in a small town near Vienna.

Now Natalia is a PhD student at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
The topic of her dissertation research is “Conceptual calligraphy as a phenomenon of contemporary visual art of China”

N.G. We appreciate your participation! Before we begin, our audience is curious to learn more about you. Could you please share your “backstory”, what inspired you to pursue this career, and where you stand now?

N.S. Before the war, I traveled a lot. As an artist, I have always been interested in getting to know the cultures of other countries, studying their art and being inspired by the beauty of nature. To find myself in another country as a refugee for a few months was a complete shock… And then I had to pull myself together and think about how to start a new life. My son went to school and I started learning German. Austrians are very hospitable and helped Ukrainian refugees a lot. My new friends helped me move my studio and paintings to Austria. In October, I participated in FAIR FOR ART VIENNA Kunstmesse Wien (Aula Der Wissenschaften, Vienna, Austria, 8-16.10.2022), where I found connoisseurs of my art and buyers. In the same month, I presented my project about the beauty of peaceful Ukraine “Blühende Landschaften” to the Bundeskanzleramt, Vienna, Austria, on 17.10.2022.

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Nataliia Stryzhko 17

Nataliia Stryzhko

At the Federal Chancellor of Austria. This project was painted in an impressionistic style with oil paints, where I managed to convey the states of nature and the feeling of a harmonious moment. I am happy that I was able to take my paintings out of Bucha and show in Vienna how prosperous and extremely beautiful peaceful Ukraine is.
This event attracted a lot of attention and was covered in the Austrian media, and it was a commercial success. In January 2023, I presented a new project “Travel Diary. China”, Galerie Rudolf Leeb and Hey Dim Sum Gallery Vienna, Austria 23.01.-16.04.2023

This project was presented by the Galerie Rudolf Leeb in Vienna and partially continues my previous project on contemporary Chinese calligraphy, but in it I gave myself more to the memories of my trip to China and fragments of that trip.

Thus, I gradually began to establish my professional activity in Austria. I continue to write my dissertation research on contemporary calligraphy in China at the Vienna Academy of Arts. In parallel with my exhibition activities, I was quite unexpectedly invited to conduct creative workshops for children. For me, this is both a new experience and a great challenge. However, I can proudly say that everyone was satisfied with both the process and the result. I have come to the conclusion that I am capable of much more than I think I am)). In addition, working with children, I received a lot of energy and inspiration and ideas for new projects.

N.G. Does art help you in other areas of your life?

N.S. Yes, of course, it gives me energy and strength. I don’t think about difficulties, I look for ways to overcome them, I don’t have time for worries and pessimism – I have so many ideas for new projects in my head, I dream of having enough time for everything! To do this, you need to optimize every sphere of life and organize yourself in the best possible way. Art inspires me to look for inspiration: I need to be on the move, traveling all the time. Or look through and analyze my photo archives, read books about other cultures and art.
Every trip I take changes me, opens up new horizons in cognition, and on the other hand, balances me morally and spiritually, adds to my philosophical experience. And all this is reflected in my art.

N.G. Tell us more about your clients and what they appreciate most about your artwork. 

N.S. My clients appreciate the state I recreate in my paintings. They don’t care about the material: oil or acrylic. They like my color palette, which is sometimes rich and full of open colors, and sometimes organized in gentle color transitions. They like my philosophical mood and symbolism. Each of my clients finds their own familiar places from their memories, or new meanings or inspirations – and then I am happy that I was able to add joy or a place for reflection to the viewers.

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Giardini Acrylic on canvas 120x120 1
Expectation Acrylic on canvas 120x120 1
Dreams acrylic on canvas 120x120 1
Colored Dreams of Dogs Acrylic on canvas 120x120 1

N.G. Describe the best (most meaningful) piece of art you’ve created and what was your inspiration

N.S. I love my “Tree of the Universe” from the acrylic project “The emphasize”. It is available on my website. It was inspired by a real banyan tree from a Buddhist monastery in Guangzhou, China, called the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. I spent a lot of time with this tree, in reflection, in an embrace with it. As a result, I created this vivid fantasy painting full of symbolic signs. In the process of painting it, I even had a kind of long internal dialog about life, the interconnectedness of all things. I started painting it in a much smaller size, but changed it several times until I found the perfect format – 140 by 230 cm. But everyone has different tastes, so my son, for example, likes the painting “Signs” from the “Civilization” project the most, and there is no need to look for explanations “why”, each of us feels differently and fans of my art also find something that fascinates them.

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N.G. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by emerging artists?

N.S. I think it’s a forced separation of tasks: working on creating a work of art and working with the commercial side. These are two completely different activities. Areas of activity that require completely different knowledge and experience. A beginning artist has to confirm his creative success with a commercial result. But starting out is always difficult in any field. Therefore, in a creative resume, every news item about an art event or exhibition is a lot of work. Hours of preparation, searching for inspiration and months of hard work fit into one line, and then there is the work that no one sees: applying for grants, correspondence with galleries and art critics, working on finding new sales platforms and other commercial work so that once you get the result, you can take on a new project again.

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Nataliia Stryzhko 18

N.G. How DFW Forward Program can help your business?

N.S. I prefer professionalism and believe that everyone should do their own thing, the key thing they are best at, and concentrate on it. Therefore, it is very important for me to find a partner with whom I can work and who will represent my paintings to buyers. First of all, I am interested in commercial cooperation, assistance in participating in international art fairs, and organizing personal exhibitions. In addition, I would be interested in assistance in organizing my Internet resources, organizing strategic image development and choosing places to sell my paintings.
This way I will be able to focus on what matters most to me – my art.

N.G. How do you define success as a visual artist?

N.S. For me, an artist’s success is what brings them satisfaction and joy from creativity, when they have the opportunity to create. Of course, the opinion of professionals is important, namely approval from art critics, fellow artists and public interest. Recognition from collectors is also important, when his works are bought. It is commercial success that gives you the freedom to create and feel confident, and this is very important. You need to work to achieve success: participate in group projects and regularly present your own projects. It is also important to share. I mean sharing knowledge, experience, working on your popularity and recognition. Achieving success is an ongoing project in which it is very important to find a reliable and professional partner who will work fruitfully to share this success.

N.G. Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

N.S. “An artist has a greater power of self-expression, and therefore is more responsible not only for everything said, but also for everything unsaid. I believe that with his own paintings, the artist can stop the thoughts running through the viewer’s mind, freeing the mind to be captivated by his own work.”

N.G. How can our readers follow you online?

Facebook: @nataliia.str.98

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