In this interview, we speak to Natalia Kapchuk, contemporary artist, art ambassador for the Parliamentary Society of Arts, Fashion and Sports, ambassador for Better World Forum (BWF) and author of the Kapchuk Art Diaries project on YouTube.
Natalia Kapchuk boasts a quite extraordinary resume; she is an artist, actor, producer, philanthropist, art collector and a well-known environmentalist.
In the interview, we touch on many of these subjects, in particular her art and views on the environment.
We were particularly keen to discover the inspiration behind works such as ‘The Lost Planet’ series and her opinions on important ecological topics: global warming, climate change, human impact on ecosystems, protection of the environment and the beauty of nature.
Tell us about your art project The Lost Planet: how it was created, what is the key subject, and what technique did you use?
Natalia: I take climate change problems and plastic pollution of the ocean very seriously, and after extensive research, I created a series of artworks titled ‘The Lost Planet’.
Each piece has a circle base representing the Earth’s globe and illustrates the world’s continents and geographical locations with environmental concerns.
In the piece ‘The Vanishing Antarctica’ I show ice melting in Arctic region using natural crystals and diamond dust for sparkling effect, also I’ve been experimenting with crumbs of glass to get the desired layer texture.
Metal leaf reveals a thin layer of the last glacier, which, in the past, covered large areas of the planet.
‘The Ocean’s DNA’ symbolises the destruction of the coral reef ecosystem by increasing ocean temperatures as a part of global warming, paying attention to the problem of coral bleaching and the extinction of marine flora and fauna near the coast.
The work was achieved using a technique involving materials such as fermented moss and sand from the coastline of the Maldives. Adding a part of nature itself there, I sought to underline the value of coral reefs, which are a lifeline for marine organisms.
‘The Invisible Life’ is dedicated to the waters of the world’s oceans; it is a cornerstone of the present and future of almost all living beings on Earth.
Life in the ocean is so rich and diverse, but over the past 40 years, the populations of marine species have decreased by 49 per cent as a consequence of many factors: global warming, the impact of extractive industries, plastic and oil pollution of coastal territories, etc.
That is why I added dark colours to saturate and transparent blue paints in this piece. I urge viewers to preserve this ecosystem for future generations. From history, we know that the planet has had five mass extinctions – I don’t want it to happen again.
Where did you find the materials used in new artworks? Tell us about the concept behind these pieces.
Natalia: I asked myself how much plastic each of us consumes and how much unprocessed waste we throw away every day. All this plastic ends up in the environment, and we unwittingly eat it. In 2019 a group of Canadian scientists discovered that the average person consumes up to 120,000 microplastic particles in their food or breathes it in every year.
People are killing themselves and poisoning ecosystems, making the planet unsuitable for the existence of animal and plant species. We must change – this key message was in my thoughts while creating artwork.
Pieces’ Plastic Network’, ‘American Dream’, ‘The World is on Fire’, ‘The Lego World’ and ‘Environmental Crisis’ all of which are made using some plastic waste I brought from my trips.
I organise an environmental campaign to collect waste in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea with other like-minded people almost every summer. I also use natural materials such as resin, wood, stones, volcanic sand and others. I want to show how everything is interconnected in our lives and how non-living elements affect the living and cause them to die.
As a philanthropist and eco-activist, what do you do to protect nature? In your opinion, how should governments and the wider society be caring for the environment?
Natalia: I support charities and events aimed at protecting endangered species of animals and cleaning the seawater from plastic, like The Ocean Cleanup and 4ocean. Being an ambassador of the Better World Forum (BWF), I’m trying to help resolve the environmental issues we face today.
The most effective way to protect nature and conserve biodiversity is to act together: both society and government.
The latter should be continuously developing environmental awareness programmes and promoting them among people, corporations and the industry sector. Building waste recycling plants may also help to reduce plastic.
To avoid the risk of temperature increase, we must limit fossil fuel production. We should be reducing non-recyclable materials such as plastic and moving to more recyclable ones.
Sorting our waste, disposing of electronic equipment at specific collecting points, stopping leaving waste on the shores and beaches and controlling our relationship with nature for a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
You attend important art events and produce video reviews for the Kapchuk Art Diaries. How did you get the idea to launch this project?
Natalia: I attend many large-scale art events and share my impressions and thoughts in the Kapchuk Art Diaries on YouTube. The main idea of the project is to show exciting trends in contemporary art.
I want to provide the opportunity for all art fans to see the works of established and emerging artists at major international exhibitions and art fairs around the world.
You are a creative person, someone who is inspired by art. Who is your favourite artist? What kind of artwork impresses you?
Natalia: I like the Renaissance period, especially works of art by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raffaello Santi, Tintoretto, Sandro Botticelli, and Titian. I was incredibly impressed by the arch in the Sistine Chapel.
When I saw it for the first time, I found it incredible. I studied every single part of it and couldn’t take my eyes off it. It became voluminous, what we call a 3D format if you look at it from below to the top for a long time.
Frescoes were created in the early 16th century, but the masters achieved amazing and complex optical effects. In my opinion, it’s the greatest work of art ever created.
What can you wish for those artists who are just starting their careers?
Natalia: Don’t be afraid to take a step into contemporary art. Choose a theme you are really interested in and can explore.
Think about the concept of your future art object and what message you want to convey to the public, and start practising. Experiment with materials, instruments and techniques. Enjoy what you do because making art is hard work.
You should be ready to spend hours and many days, months or even years to create something.
This interview and associated images were provided by FprBuro, Natalia Kapchuk’s press office.