Nika Rukavi is an amazing Canadian artist who is inspiring many people all over the globe with her incredible creations. She is a concept artist, animator and illustrator, and her pieces take the viewers to another world. Originally from Russia, Rukavi is a truly talented creator whose art is refreshingly original. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing her, and below id our exclusive one-on-one:
Besides art, what were some of your interests as a child?
Oh I was interested in a great deal of thing, my hobbies and interests changing every two years or so. But I think one of the major obsessions was Egyptian History, as well as myths of the lost empire of Atlantis. I actually planned to become a famous archeologist and through that career choice I was sure that I would discover Atlantis and maybe even move there to live forever. Haha!
As to why I was so besotted with the ancient cultures… I think it always boggled my mind that people in ancient times were able to build such great monuments. (That is of course until the age of thirteen when I discovered ‘Ancient Aliens’ haha) I am still interested in History and brush up on it when I have time. It is also a great source of inspiration!
In my opinion an artist should have a few hobbies aside from art itself. To give their head and imagination a break and to replenish that well of artistic motivation!
Which artists are a source of inspiration for you?
I think a better question would be, which aren’t? Hah. I think in any peace of work there will be a small part of it that would speak to you. Be that one stroke of aquamarine blue in the obscure part of the painting or in the way a certain brick was painted.
But just to name a few: Ilya Repin, Ivan Shishkin, Yuli Yulievich Klever, Viktor Vasnetsov, Karl Bryullov and of course the master of Russian story telling (in my opinion) Ivan Bilibin.
I realize these are all Russian painters, but that is only because people are more acquainted with western painters and illustrators, so I thought it would be nice to give some love to Russian artists.
If you could meet one artists from the past, who would it be and why?
I think I would love to have a chat with P. Picasso. To have him take me through his process of painting would be something else I am sure.
When do you feel you reached full maturity as an artist?
Never. I think the moment someone thinks they’ve reached full maturity or mastered something it is the moment their life is over. Also it gives one that eerie feeling that this person is incredibly full of himself. haha! Like my good friend Socrates said: I know that I know nothing. I think that’s a good way to live life and to ensure that your childlike curiosity of the world and universe doesn’t dull.
Do you ever experience lags in creativity, and if so, how do you fight them?
Oh I used to struggle with that beast a lot before. It used to put so much stress and anxiety in me that at one point I was really close to just giving up painting for good. But then I came across an article about how the greek viewed talent and inspiration and all things of that nature.
To sum it up, no person is talented or a genius. That, instead, is an energy that comes to you from the universe/God/gods/what have you. Some people transmit this energy better than others, but it in no way means that they are themselves more or less talented than their neighbour.
So next time I run out of creative juice, I will just take a break and chill, because that creative energy left me and decided to pay a visit to someone else. This philosophy, I found, removed a good chunk of stress from my life. Although, good dark chocolate and coffee always helps.
Which of your pieces are you most proud of?
I don’t think I can highlight one single one, as all of them is a learning process, so I would always be proud of a certain thing I accomplished in them, because it was something new to me.
Also, since I struggle to bring illustrations and paintings to completion, it always feels great when I actually do complete them.
What advice would you give to young aspiring artists?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Actually, try to fail and own up to it.
Don’t ever think yourself better than someone else (unless they are genuinely a bad person). Art is such a subjective field that while you might dislike it, others will find that same thing to be incredibly pleasing to the eye. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Do ask for advice. Be nice and grateful if the person helps you as well. I hear so often from artists that people that ask them to review portfolios or general advice are rude and self entitled. Art community is tiny and it gets even smaller as you choose to specialize in a single field. People will hear about you and whether they hear good things or bad is entirely up to you.
If you weren’t an artist, what would your second choice for a career be?
Adventurer! Or a bounty hunter! Maybe even a stable girl. So many options to choose from and I am so indecisive… haha!