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How it started vs. How it’s going: Natasha Day, BA Fine Art

Have you ever looked at an artist’s work and thought that they must have always been that good and sure of what they’re doing? It’s easy to look at a piece of creative and not understand the development that leads up to the finished product. How it started vs. How it’s going aims to highlight what goes on in the background of each creative project, as well as comparing the artist’s personal growth over time. In this episode we speak to BA (Hons) Fine Art student Natasha Day, and compare her practice from Year One to Year Three. Natasha tells us all about her creative inspiration and how the course has helped her work develop.

How it started: Natasha’s work when starting at NUA

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How it started: what got you into fine art?

My mum is an artist, we always had art materials around the house and it never occurred to me that drawing, painting and making things was anything you “got into”. It just was natural to express myself with materials. After a career in nursing and using art within that arena I decided I wanted to make it my only work so I could focus on art all the time.

How would you describe your style of art, then and now? 

 My work has been abstracted and materially-focused for years which hasn’t changed. I see material and I want to explore what it does and what I can do with it.

What has changed is that I’ve now had the opportunity to explore materials with machinery that I could never have access to ordinarily, like welding which I love. It increased my confidence to work in 3D in all materials much more. In the workshops we have amazing technicians who along with the tutors helped completely widened the scope of my practice.

How has studying Fine Art at NUA helped develop your practice?

It has made me more considered, more thoughtful in my approach to art-making.  It has tempered my unadulterated impulsiveness and given me a way to think through making which is the philosophy of NUA’s Fine Art course. I initially thought the focus on research in the course might be a problem for me but instead it has become a natural part of my process.

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What have you found out about yourself as an artist since studying here?

That there are no limits to what you can do if you are open to learning, and it is always extremely surprising how one can develop. It is a hard, uphill, downhill slog mixed with pure joy.

I doubted my ability academically before I started my degree as a mature student even though I was no stranger to study but with all the support and tuition at NUA I have found my wings.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Wild- life and nature and the interface with humanity and history. I’m attracted to abstracted shapes and designs from unintended, surprising or forgotten aspects of things like crusty stones or the feel of the sea on my body.

I’m a sensualist so I have to feel and be grabbed by something for it to start percolating inside me to reproduce in some form with materials.

How it’s going: Natasha’s work now

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What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about your practice while at NUA?

That I have concepts and themes and opinions to be heard and that I can express them through my work. Previously and even up to the beginning of the third year I found that aspect difficult as I had always been used to making spontaneously. I think that has really added to the value I place on my work.

What do you love the most about fine art?

I love what most artists love most, being totally engrossed making and watching the piece evolve. For me it’s the creative process, where it will take me, and I will take it. Equally, There is something very special about seeing work that originates as ideas and/or feelings from within manifest into an object that hopefully speaks to people.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of studying fine art but might not feel too confident in their work?

It’s very common to feel this way, I think artists are very self- critical so I would advise being wary of the inner critic and not pay it too much attention. Having said that, practically speaking I did the following before application- research the course online, speak to the tutors and find out as much as you can about expectations. Go to open days and speak to current students, and find someone to trust who can encourage you to put together a portfolio of work before applying.

BA (Hons) Fine Art looks for people who have potential, who are focused and will put the work in. If you’re committed to that, it’s a great start.

See more of Natasha’s work on her Instagram

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