Every day we interact with a piece that holds memories and value to us, each containing its own history because of the labor, care and time, loaded on each medium, IRREVERSIBLE Art Monaco 2015 holds a unique level of intention and weight, an intimate declaration that explore togetherness and attachment. I truly believe in the work of these artists, and the important role they play widening means to a cultural exchange enriching our lives profoundly.
Natalya Kochak was born in New York into a large half Ukranian family. Her father is a Scientist and her mother is a Journalist and mother of five children. She graduated with my BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005 and currently resides in Miami. In 2010, she received a residency with the Red Gate Gallery in Beijing and in 2011 traveled to Berlin for a 3 month residency with Takt Kunstprojektraum. She also raised money through Kickstarter to teach art in Uganda for 2 months. While there I worked on my own projects and created a community mural with my students.
The Family of Man In Watercolor To date, this body of work is composed of two distinct series, The Bruised Fruit and A Temporal Slice. While both series embody themes particular to themselves, they both reflect the interrelationships of man, and in this sense they are one.
Who are you and what do you do?
Natalya Kochak: My name is Natalya Kochak. I am a painter, printmaker, and mixed media artist working primarily with the figure or concept of human expression and identity.
NB: Can you tell us about The Bruised Fruit Series?
Natalya Kochak: The people in the ‘Bruised Fruit’ paintings are fragile, but tough. They are beautiful, but their beauty is intimately bound to their travails. Each has a multitude of stories to tell, stories of fatigue, struggle, love, joy, disappointment, and sometimes a life’s worth of hard times.
NB: Why do you do what you do?
Natalya Kochak: I moved around a lot as a teenager and in my adult life to drastically different places, New York to Kansas, Kansas to Alabama, Alabama to Chicago, Chicago to Austin, TX, and then eventually to Miami. In between I spent time in Africa, Berlin, and China. In spending so much time in such different places I found myself becoming a spectator of each culture. The similarities and differences between each person I met and place. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become less of an observer and more involved in the life around me but I am still intrigued by what makes a person tick, what causes them to be or how they react to social or political situations.
NB: How do you work?
Natalya Kochak: I use many different techniques, epoxy, mixed media, and mono printing techniques. The work I am showing in Art Monaco as part of Irreversible Projects was created by using a mono printing technique or painting on plexi and then transferring it to Mylar, which is a plastic. In the printing process I move the glass around to create my desired look and then sometimes go back in with oil paint. This process is a mixture of painting and printmaking. I use this technique to get multiple images. In doing this I can further my ideas of how identity is affected by outward influences. In a way the multiple images and the printmaking symbolize mass production.
NB: What’s integral to your work as an artist?
Natalya Kochak: That the work stirs emotions and thoughts in the viewer.
NB: What role as an artist do you have in society?
Natalya Kochak: By painting faces and people over and over again I’m recording the subtlety and variety of human experience and personality for the larger community.
NB: What has been a ultimate work experience?
Natalya Kochak:I have had wonderful experiences doing artist residencies. I’ve gotten to go to exotic places to make art. In Berlin I had a solo gallery show and made great artist friends. In China, I experienced a completely different culture. In Uganda, I taught art to local kids at a children’s summer camp and made Ugandan friends I still know today. Next to art, traveling is my favorite thing to do.
NB: How has your practice change over time?
Natalya Kochak: I have always been very experimental with my work. I try tons of different media, film, oil, watercolor, all different things. I continue to do that today, but I did have a period where I didn’t do figurative. In high school I did a summer program at the Kansas City Art Institute and started ripping paper up, collaging it and drawing figures on it with chalk and ink. They were very expressionistic and primal. I feel like my work now has a lot in common with that earlier work.
NB: What art do you most identify with? why?
Natalya Kochak: I identify with the German Expressionists, Egon Shiele, Gustav Klimt, and Oskar Kokoshka. I also identify with more contemporary female artists such as, Kiki Smith, Marlene Dumas, and Cecily Brown. All Contemporary Figurative artists. These artists just resonate with me. There use of paint or sculpture in the case of Kiki Smith and how you can see so much of human expression in their work. As a female artist I also identify with the contemporary issues of feminism and feminist art.
NB: What work do you most enjoying doing?
Natalya Kochak: Painting. There is a freedom in painting expressionistically. It will always be my favorite thing to do. I really enjoy painting anything, it doesn’t matter what it is, if it is walls on a decorative painting job or my own figurative work.
NB: Did you ever feel like giving up?
Natalya Kochak: I have felt it, but never have and never will.
NB: What’s the best thing about being an artist?
Natalya Kochak: Freedom to have my own schedule. I do work long hours in the studio and go almost every day, but it’s always nice to not have to! I am my own boss.
NB: What’s the worst thing about being an artist?
Natalya Kochak: The work never ends. NEVER! I am always looking for a new opportunity or painting or writing. I also am always looking for work with my Decorative Painting business, which I consider to also be an art form. And even when I’m not working directly on it, I am still thinking about it. It’s not like a 9-5 where you go home and forget about work. It’s a business.
NB: Is there a greater purpose to your artwork?
Natalya Kochak: This is a difficult question. It’s hard to say a painting or object can have a greater purpose or change anything, but what I hope my artwork does is make the viewer feel more connected to there experiences and feelings about themselves and others. I hope that it resonates with them and makes them think about more then just that moment.
NB: Before and after IRREVERSIBLE PROJECTS can you share about your experience?
Natalya Kochak: I have just begun working with Irreversible Projects so I don’t have a lot of experiences yet, but I can say I have enjoyed it immensely and I am getting more and more opportunities because of the work I am doing with Noor.
NB: if you had a chance to change anything in the art world industry what would you change?
Natalya Kochak: It is too much of a business, run by business people. Who don’t always care much about the art, but if they can sell it easily. I wish there were more opportunities like Irreversible Magazine where unknown artists can be seen in the right circles.