On Good Life with Mural Artist Nastia Gladushchenko
This week we celebrated the beginning of summer with an exciting launch of our very first collaboration created with a beautifully talented artist Nastia Gladushchenko. Her project-specific artwork WHERE THE BLOSSOMS MEET THE SEA got woven into the texture of our Beach Towel transporting anyone who touches it to the luscious Mediterranean coast.
Weaving her artwork into a towel was new for Nastia too as most of the time you can find her around Sydney and the regions at the top of a step ladder bringing the walls of buildings to life with her large-scale botanical mural artworks. We caught up with Nastia to talk about her art, obsession with blossoms, most and least favourite things about being a mural artist and the good life of course.
Hi, Nastia, and welcome to the Saardé Good Life Journal! First question - what is your definition of a Good Life?
Ohhhh strong start! The good life for me is being free to enjoy simple things every day, a bushwalk, a dip in the waterhole, baked goods in the sunshine, a little road trip with lots of detours and getting lost in the sights/smells of a new place.
How did your "obsession" with blossoms begin?
I blame my parents! Almost every photograph I have from my childhood features me in front of a blossoming tree or a field of sunflowers. I guess it continued from there and when I realised that flowers have the power to cross cultural and language borders and speak to everyone in their own special way, it became my sole focus and obsession.
What do blossoms represent for you? Do you have a favourite type?
For me, they conjure up memories of places, eras, adventures and of people. I love so many but lilacs and daisies hold a special place in my heart.
Tell us about your first mural.
My first proper mural was part of Perry Lane street art gallery in Paddington and was an anamorphic work (Google this, it's quite amazing!) featuring the outline of a hand holding a flower. I called it "In Bloom".
What do you want people to think/feel when they see your murals around the city?
Public art has the capacity to alter our mood and perception of space and I love the idea that my murals can make a daily commute more interesting, remind someone of a memory they had in nature or inspire a person to plant some flowers or take notice of the plants and blossoms around them. Ultimately my hope is for us all to feel closer to nature and lighter/more joyful as a result.
If you could choose any spot around the world to place your art in - where would it be?
I'd love to find a magnificent, ornate, neglected old building in an urban environment and use a botanical mural work to highlight its beauty and bring it back to life in a new way. Injecting a gritty urban environment with a euphoric public art piece that speaks to the natural elements of the place where the building stands would be very special.
What do you like the most about being a mural artist? And dislike?
I love the freedom, the adventure of new projects, new clients and discovering new plants all the time. Painting on a large scale is both challenging and meditative for me so I've leant to love the sore muscles at the end of each day!
How did your design for our WHERE THE BLOSSOMS MEET THE SEA collaboration come about? What was your inspiration?
When Saardé told me their direction for their summer collection was to take inspiration from coastal European getaways, I dug out all our photographs from European summers spent in beautiful spots like Praiano, Tellaro and Positano. I let memories of rambling citrus trees, gorgeous old buildings in the strong summer sun, faded fishing nets and swimming in the sea surrounded by beautiful kelp guide me. My hope is that this work will transport people to these places visually but also conjure up the feeling of being there.
Is this the first time you see your art woven into the cotton texture?
Yes, I'm so thrilled to have had this opportunity and adore the way the artisans interpreted my work through the weave, texture, colours and details of the towel. I have seen my work digitally printed on textiles for a hospitality project for a Sydney bar but this is the first time my work has been woven into the textile and it's so exciting!
What did you think of the process? Was there anything that surprised you about it?
I loved the process and the fact that it felt like a collaboration with the artisans producing the towels. The biggest surprise was discovering all the textures I could experiment with, this was so special and added a lot to the original design.
Tell us about your home. What are the things that make you feel good to live in it?
My partner and I just built a house in the Blue Mountains during the pandemic and made a special effort to work with local craftsmen and source materials and furniture that reminded us of places that have changed us or places we want to experience.
Our very talented friend Jan from Moritz Interiors lovingly built our kitchen, my partner's workspace and a sideboard from birch ply which form the heart of the house. We sourced a small run of handmade Moroccan tiles from Tiles of Ezra which we used in parts of the house, Japanese interiors inspired the bathing space and other details of the house and we created special window sills and spots indoors with our cat in mind.
Our home is in a fire-prone zone so we channelled our love for national parks and their utilitarian aesthetics on the exterior of the house while keeping things super soft and earthy indoors. My partner Damien Milan is a photographer so the experience of the light inside was very important to him and we love watching shadows change as the sun moves throughout the day.
What do Nastia's future plans hold? (Apart from covering the entire cities in blossoms of course!)
I've got lots of murals planned for the next six months but I'm also hoping to focus more on developing a series of works on canvas and just adjusting to being a new mum too. There is also an exciting collaboration in the works but that;s a secret for now.
What is your ultimate Good Life soundtrack?
Anything by Jungle or Oumou Sangaré.
A limited release of WHEN THE BLOSSOMS MEET THE SEA Beach Towel is currently available in-store and online. Click here to shop the design.