Surround yourself with like-minded people and create, create, create. Ima Naroditskaya
Here is an interview with Ima Narodicka, member of the jury for the fourth season of the Gaudír competition.
Ima Naroditskaya was born, lives and works in Moscow. She is a member of the Moscow Union of Artists. She has exhibited her work in Germany and Japan, the USA and other countries. In 2001, Ima Naroditskaya was accepted to the National Institute of American of puppet artists (NIADA).
The images of Ima Naroditskaya's dolls are inspired by film characters, literary characters, music, nature, impressions from travels, friends and acquaintances. Each doll is a little story with its own philosophy, they are full of inner movement and dynamics. All the works are one-of-a-kind.
Queen of birds
What is it like to be a Muscovite, to be at the centre of important cultural events in the country since childhood, to be able to visit major museums and gallery shows? Is the place of residence probably not the last factor in shaping Ima Naroditskaya as an artist? Tell us a little about yourself, your childhood and the influence of your family, school and environment on the formation of your creative personality.
I have always loved drawing. But it wasn't until my last year of school that I was able to learn it. Our drawing teacher organised a course in watercolour painting. Drawing was a great way to immerse myself in a different world. And since my parents were not involved in art, I was only allowed to go to a technical institute. And so, studying at the institute, I began to actively immerse myself in Moscow's theatrical and artistic life, and I also attended private painting studios.
You drew a lot as a child and dreamt of being a fashion designer, but your parents thought it wasn't a serious profession. Nevertheless, your degree as a railway engineer did not stop you from pursuing your true vocation as a puppet designer. What was the turning point in your decision to devote yourself to art? How did you get into animation?
Things changed abruptly when, already working as an engineer, I decided to enter a competition to work in the animation studio Pilot.
The task for the competition was to draw a comic strip of 10 pictures of a man waking up and trying to put on trousers. Suddenly he realises that one of his trousers has been stitched up.
I got lucky.
Five people were selected out of five hundred applicants, who were trained to become animators at the studio.
I remember that during training you had to draw and make a mini-movie with an interesting, expressive gait of some character.
I chose to walk like a prostitute.
It was hilarious to watch me as I spent hour after hour strolling down the path, hips wiggling, trying to work out the intricacies of the easy-going girl's gait.
I had to do a lot of self-training because my knowledge of human and animal anatomy was woefully lacking. The training took place both at the studio and at offsite conferences, where we were educated by showing masterpieces of world cinema and films from animation festivals.
I also gained an insight into composition, colour theory and art history from my two-year degree at the Institute of Architecture, Interior Design Department.
In one of your interviews you admitted that you became a professional artist after Tatiana Baeva's courses. When and how did this happen? What was part of the course? What materials were you then using in your work? What did you learn to do?
Yes, of course, Tatiana Baeva's author doll course helped me find the path I've been following for over 20 years.
In this course we were given two arms, two legs and a head already cast in porcelain.
A body made of fabric was also given to us.
You had to think up an image of the doll, assemble it, paint it, make a wig out of goat's mohair and make a costume. A stand was also given out to hold the doll by the waist. After finishing the course two people devoted themselves to author dolls - Irina Myzina who opened "Vakhtangov" doll's gallery in Moscow and myself.
Tatiana also said that there is a huge, interesting field of art called "author's puppet". These art objects are used not for play, but to decorate the space.
The images of your dolls seem to be inspired by music, observations of nature and people's lives. They are incredibly dynamic! The dolls don't seem to want to stand still, they want to get out of the "frame" and take the viewer with them. How do you solve the technical challenges (special materials, as the works seem weightless, as if they were drawn in the air? Are you willing to share the "master's secret"?
I have no secrets.
When I went there I went to NIADA (National Institute of American Doll Artists),
she had to take a picture of all the stages of the doll's production. This is a prerequisite for admission.
I drew a sketch, took a wooden stand carved by a craftsman according to my sketch, drilled a hole in it and shaped a doll of hardening plastic onto a wire frame that was attached to this supply.
Then I decorated a little with fabric to enhance the feeling of a sharp gust of wind with it. The windmills in the dolls' hands were also lengthened for the same purpose.
Very often I give complicated technical things (coasters, parts) to a craftsman who helps me solve a problem.
You are a member of the Moscow Union of Artists and a member of the National Institute of American Puppet Artists (NIADA). In 2006, you received the title of "Mega Star" at the 2nd International Puppet Show in Moscow. Your works were exhibited in Germany, Japan and America. What do you think, what is the secret of such success? How do you estimate the results of your work, and what preceded all these awards, recognition of the public and entering the circle of super-professionals?
No one knows the secrets of success. Perhaps my work resonates with a certain number of viewers. Maybe they are close to the ideas, the mood, the feelings I try to put into my work.
It is very important that you are surrounded by people who understand you and help you. Well, and the stars must align.
How do you feel about collective creativity?! Is it possible to reach agreement and get the desired result? Or can collective creativity only bear fruit with authoritarian leadership on the one hand and total subordination on the other?
But I haven't yet had any experience of participating in collective and pupil projects.
What advice would you give to future Gaudir contestants? Perhaps your words will determine the career choices of future famous artists and sculptors, puppeteers?
Surround yourself with like-minded people and create and create and create.
Not forgetting to learn, learn and learn.
Then perhaps your doll will become a magic talisman for someone else.
Questions prepared by Irina Panfilenok