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Insights of an Eco Artist

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In Conversation: Natalia Kapchuk

Joana Alarcão

In this interview, step into the world of Natalia Kapchuk, a Contemporary Artist, Eco-activist, and Philanthropist, where artworks become a powerful dialogue between Earth's beauty and human impact. Journey through her artistic evolution, from childhood inspirations to environmental revelations, as she crafts a visual narrative echoing the ongoing struggle between nature and humanity.

31 January 2024

Natalia Kapchuk is a Contemporary Artist, Eco-activist, and Philanthropist dually based between London, UK and Dubai, UAE. She is internationally recognized for her environmentally centered series ‘The Lost Planet’.


Natalia Kapchuk’s mixed-media artworks tap into the unbridled beauty of our planet juxtaposed to the destructive forces of human activity and the impacts they have on the environment. Adorned with natural elements and the innovations of the 21st century, the artist constructs her art pieces with the intention of highlighting the ongoing war between man and nature, often painting opposing scenes of wonder with the harsh realities of today. 


Natalia Kapchuk completed additional courses at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2017, followed by The Chelsea College of Arts in London, UK. She is an ambassador at The Parliamentary Society of Arts, Fashion, and Sports (UK), an ambassador for the Better World Fund (BWF), and a philanthropist supporting charities and organizations dedicated to humanitarian and environmental causes.

Can you elaborate on your artistic journey and how it led you to become an environmentally-centered mixed-media artist?

My appreciation and love for the arts took root from an early age. Inspired by my mother, an artist and sculptor herself, I echoed her creative talents, crafting small ceramic sculptures for sale at local art fairs. Even then, I realized that I wanted to become an artist.


Moreover, the environment has always been an important subject for me. Throughout my youth, I cherished every opportunity to venture out into nature and explore its wonders. However, as I matured, my observations within Mother Nature expanded in scope and I delved into topics and studies that shed light on the dire environmental concerns caused by human impacts, such as deforestation, plastic pollution, and the alarming consequences of global warming.


I studied in art school and completed courses at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and The Chelsea College of Arts in London to further my art education. The acquired during the art practices skills and my environmental revelations significantly influenced my outlook and my art. My mission became clear: to utilize the power of my artistic expression to depict the current environmental state of the world while instilling hope for a more promising future.


Your mixed-media works explore the juxtaposition of the unbridled beauty of our planet and the destructive forces of human activity. Can you elaborate on the inspiration behind creating your art around this theme?

The inspiration for my art comes from a deep concern about the impact of anthropic activity on the environment. I am fascinated by the incredible beauty and diversity of our planet, from its stunning landscapes to its rich and varied ecosystems. At the same time, I am deeply troubled by the destructive forces of human impacts, such as deforestation, plastic pollution, air pollution, and many more, which are threatening the very environments that inspire me.


Through my art, I seek to capture the juxtaposition of these two contrasting elements – the breathtaking beauty of nature and the damaging effects of human activity. I use mixed media to create layers and textures that reflect the complexity of this relationship. By incorporating natural materials, recycled items, and found objects into my work, I aim to convey a message about the interconnectedness of all living things and the impact of our actions on the environment.


Ultimately, my goal is to provoke thought and spark conversations about the urgent need for environmental conservation and sustainable living. I hope that by highlighting this contrast in my art, I can inspire viewers to consider their own relationship with nature and encourage them to take positive steps towards preserving and protecting our planet.



Sculpture by Natalia Kapchuk
Environmental Crisis, 2019 by Natalia Kapchuk. Image courtesy of Natalia Kapchuk.
The use of vibrant colors and uniquely selected materials in your art has a penetrating effect on the psyche, leaving observers in a state of action and self-reflection. How do you choose the specific materials for your works, and what role do you believe these choices play in conveying the messages of your art?

The selection of materials for my art is a crucial part of my creative process and plays a significant role in conveying its messages. I carefully choose materials that not only contribute to the visual impact of the artwork but also carry symbolic or metaphorical significance related to environmental themes. When choosing materials, I often consider their ecological footprint and sustainability. I strive to incorporate natural, organic, and recycled materials as much as possible. For example, I might use reclaimed wood, up-cycled plastics, and plant-based techniques and materials. Such intent reflects the global need for exercising safe alternative approaches to common yet destructive practices to thwart ecological decline. Additionally, to contrast naturally resourced and industrial materials, I utilize mediums such as tree bark, sand, stones, and fermented moss with polymers, resi-crete, gilding, metal chips, and more. I also work with fiberglass constructions, LED lighting, and digital and augmented designs.


Furthermore, the vibrant colors and unique materials I select are intended to evoke emotional responses and prompt self-reflection. Bright, lively colors can draw attention and create a sense of vitality and urgency, while the use of unconventional or repurposed materials can challenge viewers to reconsider their preconceptions about beauty and value. 


In summary, the specific materials I choose for my art are carefully selected to align with my eco-focused message. Through these varieties of materials and techniques, I hope to inspire contemplation and encourage viewers to consider their own relationship with the environment and their role in promoting sustainability.


In your artist statement, you express a vision of a world where the innate beauty of nature thrives unadulterated. How does this vision translate into your artwork, and what emotions and sentiments do you aim to convey through your creations?

In my artwork, the vision of a world where the innate beauty of nature thrives unadulterated translates through vibrant colors, intricate details, and a focus on the organic elements of the environment. I aim to evoke emotions of awe, tranquil, and a connection to the purity of nature. Each creation seeks to convey a sense of harmony and the timeless beauty found in the untouched landscapes, fostering a deep appreciation for the world's natural wonders.



Sculpture by Natalia Kapchuk
Heart of the Ocean, 2021 by Natalia Kapchuk. Image courtesy of Natalia Kapchuk.
What can you tell us about your submitted work called “Heart of the Ocean” (2021)?

“Heart of the Ocean” is one of my art pieces dedicated to the heartbreaking consequences of the Global Warming. 


In February 2020, Antarctica experienced unprecedented high temperatures, which highly influenced and inspired me to depict the melting of a massive ice sheet. An ice sheet refers to a large expanse of glacial ice covering over 50,000 square kilometers. Scientists predicted that, due to the glacial melting, sea levels could rise by up to 1 meter by the year 2100, with some projections even suggesting an increase of 2.5 meters.


This alarming prospect for future generations underscores the urgency of safeguarding the polar ice kingdom to prevent coastal changes, floods, and other catastrophic events from becoming a reality. In the artwork “Heart of the Ocean” (2021) I stress the importance of preserving this “kingdom of polar ice.”


How do you approach and navigate your creative process, especially when working with mixed-media assemblage and drawing inspiration from pressing global issues like environmental concerns?

In my creative process, combining mixed-media assemblage, I first immerse myself in research on pressing global issues, like environmental concerns. Drawing inspiration from these issues, I gather materials that symbolize the juxtaposition of nature and human impact. The assemblage process involves layering diverse elements to visually convey the complexity of those concerns. By incorporating textures, layers, and mixed media elements, I aim to create a multisensory experience that invites viewers to connect with the artwork on a deeper level. Through my art, I aim to provoke contemplation, fostering awareness and dialogue around environmental challenges, while expressing a sense of urgency and hope for positive change.

 


Sculpture by Natalia Kapchuk.
Ocean's DNA, 2019 by Natalia Kapchuk. Image courtesy of Natalia Kapchuk.
Being an ambassador for the Better World Fund (BWF) and the Parliamentary Society of Arts, Fashion, and Sports (UK), you actively support causes dedicated to protecting the lands and oceans. How does your philanthropic work intersect with your artistic mission?

My philanthropic cooperation with the Better World Fund and the Parliamentary Society of Arts, Fashion, and Sports intersects closely with my artistic mission as an eco-artist. Through both my art and my advocacy efforts, I am committed to raising awareness about environmental issues, promoting sustainable living, and inspiring positive actions to protect our planet.


As an ambassador for the mentioned organizations and other environmental and humanitarian projects, I have the opportunity to leverage my artistic platform to reach a broader audience and amplify the messages of environmental conservation. For example, recently I hosted my solo exhibition at the Global Citizen Forum 2023 in Ras Al Khaimah aimed to bring together world leaders, influential figures, and thought leaders to discuss pressing global issues and promote positive change. My solo show featured select art pieces from “The Lost Planet” series, including “Carbon Clouds” (2020), “Ocean's DNA” (2019), “Man-made Island” (2019), “Virgin Rocks” (2019), and other creations. 


Additionally, I donated my work “The Vanishing Antarctica” (2019) to the Global Citizen Forum Gala night charity auction. This piece was sold for the record $50,000, and proceeds were allocated to the Yusra Mardini Foundation, the Global Citizen Cultural Centre for Youth, and other initiatives.


How do you personally define the role and significance of being an artist in the broader context of creativity, expression, and societal impact?"

As an artist, I perceive my role as a conduit for creativity and expression with a profound societal impact. I believe artists hold the power to provoke thought, challenge norms, and evoke emotions that resonate on a collective level. Through my work, I strive to contribute to cultural dialogue, fostering understanding and empathy. Art has the potential to inspire change, serving as a mirror to society, reflecting its beauty, challenges, and potential. In essence, being an artist is a dynamic engagement with creativity that extends beyond personal expression, influencing and shaping the broader fabric of human experience.


Sculpture by Natalia Kapchuk.
Carbon Clouds, 2020 by Natalia Kapchuk. Image courtesy of Natalia Kapchuk.
Do you hope to provoke a certain reaction or mindset in your audience through your work?

Yes, absolutely. Through my eco-focused art, I aim to provoke a sense of urgency and awareness about the environmental concerns we are facing. I hope to inspire a mindset of responsibility and action, encouraging viewers to consider their impact on the planet and to think about ways they can contribute to positive ecological changes. By highlighting the beauty and fragility of our beloved home, Earth, I hope to foster a sense of connection towards the environment, ultimately motivating people to become more environmentally conscious in their daily lives.


What message or call to action would you like to leave our readers with?

Consider the profound impact of your choices on the world around you. Embrace sustainability, cultivate empathy, and actively engage with the pressing issues of our time. Through collective awareness and intentional action, we can shape a more compassionate and harmonious future.


Find more about the artist here.


For more information about Natalia Kapchuk please contact the artist’s official representatives at FprBuro Communications Agency: devin@fprburo.com 


Cover Image:

Artist's portrait. Image courtesy of Natalia Kapchuk.

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