One of the particular pleasures of being involved with Upscale Living Magazine is the privilege of interacting with great artists. And, while an artist’s talent can be self-evident, often the public is unaware. The world consists of vast deserts of mediocrity punctuated by occasional flashes of brilliance — often missed.
It was during a particularly arid stretch when we caught sight of something out of the corner of our eye. It was a message that read, simply:
“ . . . I would like to invite you to join my world . . .”
– Olga Nenazhivina, artist
Through this message, I found Olga’s work offered through a New York gallery and was quite pleasantly surprised by her boldness and startling artistic ability, as well as her remarkable range and interpretation. There was no mirage here: With Olga, I found myself in the presence of great work.
Immediately I contacted the artist and began to interview her. Because she speaks only Russian, and I English, her daughter, Valeriya, patiently interpreted for both of us.
Valeriya explained that Olga had seen me interact with other artists, recognized my fondness for Art Deco and felt I should know her work.
As we chatted over the next few weeks, I learned that Olga Nenazhivina was born in 1966, the daughter of respected sculptor Valery Nenazhivin and an equally artistic mother. Both recognized their daughter was a prodigy who cried for pencils and drew almost from the crib. By age 5, Olga had her first solo show.
Growing up on the Sea of Japan in Vladivostok, Russia’s largest Pacific port, Olga was immersed in Asian influence as well as the European culture that lapped on its shores. Her early life was spent in a rich confluence of imagery; perfect for her insatiable need to learn and create.
I found myself growing embarrassingly fond of her work; its Eastern imagery, its perfect poise. Her work is emotional, with a hand guided by the soul of a poet. She paints with the discipline and grace of the Bolshoi, creating work that is its own excuse for being. It is self-evident. One does not have to be told what’s attractive about it.
I traveled to New York to interview Olga and found her to be as graceful and delicate as her work; speaking quietly, eyes bright, while her lovely daughter translated.
I wanted to find out where her work originated with her. I asked her whether she had the soul of a poet or a painter.
“One cannot separate the poet from the painter . . . ” she smiled. “ . . . the artist within the artist.”
We sat overlooking the Hudson, sipping coffee and chatting about art and life. I asked if I could submit questions in writing for the illumination of our readers and she nodded, saying this would the best for all. I did so and within a few days I received her replies. You may find my questions, as well as her illuminating replies on our website, www.upscalelivingmag.com
For a glimpse at great work, I encourage you to visit Nenazhivina’s website: www.nenazhivina.com/
Her work is powerful, brilliant, and becoming more widely recognized by the day.