The Oxford Dictionary describes abstract art as “Art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colours, and textures.” Staying true to this is a UAE-based artist whose creativity and colours had us in awe. FACT’s Pallavi Ramesh talks to natasha Kowalski to find out exactly what gets her artistic flair going…

When I think of abstract art, I think of art in its purest form – beautiful and raw. It’s more than just a painting; it’s the artist’s representation of what they see. An expressive message is brought onto the canvas, making the piece of art personal and with endless possibilities. The lovely artist we’re bringing you this month is Natasha Kowalski, who produces brilliant abstract pieces. Natasha paints abstract using liquid acrylic inks to create multiple layers in combination with intricate patterns. “It’s a sensory experience and a visual journey,” she says.

Natasha loves to travel and finds her source of inspiration while she explores new places. “Recently I visited New York and stayed in Chelsea, an art-centric neighbourhood packed with inspiration,” she recalls.“I was lucky to have a local music producer introduce me to the underground jazz scene, where I spent a week exploring jazz clubs.” Natasha learned a lot about the music industry and left New York with a notepad of sketches and new project ideas.

Strongly inspired by music and literature, you’ll see traces of Rachmaninov and Debussy in her paintings, fuelled by emotion and orchestral colour. “At the moment I’m obsessed with Rachmaninov’s Prelude in G Minor, Op.23, No.5, it helps me tune out from the noise in the world and focus on my creative process,” she explains.

Natasha is originally from Australia and has been living in Abu Dhabi for the past six months. Her aunt, who is also an artist, had a great influence on Natasha from a very young age. They would visit art galleries together and study the different techniques of influential artists. We’re not surprised to learn then, that Natasha has a traditional Fine Arts degree and Masters of Design Science from Sydney University, Australia.

With immense knowledge of, and experience in, the field of art, was it tough for Natsaha to decide which creative  style to choose? Her background in Fine Arts sharpened her skills at creating representational art as the years passed. “Representational Art is an essential tool for all abstract artists,” Natasha says. “After mastering those skills, I decided to explore alternate methods for interpreting the world, beyond literal representation.”

“I’m fascinated by the idea of tapping into the human psyche and being able to connect with the viewer on an emotional level.”

Colours play a major role in abstract art, as much of the time they represent the emotions in a piece. Each colour has its own meaning and is used differently by each artist. And colour is one thing that is so vividly eye-catching in Natasha’s work, who reveals that she majored in colour theory during her Masters, and was always fascinated by the psychology of colour. She says: “Colour is integral to my compositions. My paintings explore the influence of colour on the human psyche. Colour greatly influences human emotions, especially when used in certain combinations, the viewer gains a personal experience and has a unique connection with the work,” she says.

Having a portfolio of such strong and characterful pieces, I ask Natasha if she has a favourite, and to my surprise, yes she does! “Inkscapes, my latest collection is a visual expression of my experiences in the Middle East,” she says. “Inkscape #1 is close to my heart.” It was the first large scale painting she produced, and the first piece she sold. “It was a beautiful moment when the client sent me a picture of it in her living room,” she adds.

Natasha is an artist who adds a great personal touch to her artwork, with a note on the back of every painting, in the form of a puzzle. She writes it in a poetic manner which strongly shows her love for writing and literature, too. “In a recent painting of mine I wrote: ‘I wasn’t sure what I thought of you so I thought I should paint it.’ It’s a secret puzzle for the owner of the piece,” she reveals. This is definitely an endearing gesture by an artist.

So, what would Natasha advise young, budding artists? “Determination is essential because you will get a lot of rejections,” she admits. “Giving up is only a missed opportunity. Ignore anyone who tells you to get a ‘real’ job. This is your real job! Many people don’t believe it’s possible to follow your life’s passion and make a success. Don’t let their insecurities inhibit your dreams,” she says.

As far as abstract art goes, Natasha is one mega-talented woman with bucket loads of determination and love for what she does, and I love how she keeps her love for literature and poetry alive in her colourful creations – way to go!

“Each morning when I wake up, I add a huge dose of creativity, rebellion, and determination to my agenda. I also delete the words ‘fear’ and ‘self doubt’ from my personal dictionary. Fear will only inhibit you.”

GO: Connect with Natasha Kowalski through her social media platforms. Visit www. natashakowalski. com or check her Instagram page; @natashadidit or send her a tweet on @natashadidit.