Nadja Ryzhakova

iPainting

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Talented Russian 'iPad artist' wins new Cirencester Arts Society award

A RUSSIAN-BORN artist, who creates much of her work on an iPad, has been announced as the first winner of a new annual award from Cirencester Arts Society. Nadja Ryzhakova won the inaugural John Benjamin Palmer Memorial Trophy for the best painting by a member of the society. The award was named after a former member who died in June 2014 and presented by renowned artist Jake Sutton at his Fairford-based gallery. Jake, a graduate of St Martin’s School of Art, has been exhibiting in London since 1979, and critiqued each the competition’s 40 entrants’ work personally.

He said: “Nadja was given the award for the two paintings she submitted. “The qualities I admired were firstly the attack and confident handling of paint in her landscape and secondly the originality and successful use of paint and collage in the self-portrait. “These works combined to reveal a considerable talent and I wish her well with future work.” Cirencester-based Nadja moved to the area last year and works from her home studio in experimental mixed media, combining painting with stitching as well as traditional acrylic and oil painting.

She graduated in 2009 in Moscow with a degree in monumental-decorative art production, moving to London in 2010 where she discovered the iPad as a creative medium. iPad art has since become her new form of artistic engagement, which she defines as ‘iPainting’. Since then she has been recognised by the national press and TV, as well as various art organisations, and runs a series of Workshops on iPainting in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. She said: “Jake Sutton is a man of genius. “Fabulous drawings and paintings. I am so happy I had this chance to meet him in person. It was very inspirational for me.” For more information about Nadja’s work visit: www.ipainting.pro

iPad artist’s tunnel vision of the Tube - Evening Standard

With an iPad as her canvas, artist Nadja Ryzhakova painted these digital pictures of the Tube using an app as her palette and her fingertips as paint-brushes. The works, which she calls iPaintings, show surreal scenes from the Underground. They were created as part of the Londonist Underground series, which is celebrating the network’s 150th anniversary by showing works inspired by it. Ryzhakova interprets the atmosphere of the Tube in one of her paintings, above, as an underwater platform populated by fish using not Oyster cards but actual oysters, with a shrimp wearing a hoodie and a fish holding an umbrella. The former student of Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry said: “From the moment my fingertips hit the screen, my digital creations become quickly absorbed into the expanding realm of social media.”

Nadja Ryzhakova and her “iPaintings”

LONDON Let’s try to guess how this night glimpse of Waterloo Bridge, from Victoria Embankment, with a timid moon between the London Eye profile and the Big Ben Clock both illuminated, was drawn. Would you say it was painted with an iPad? It’s called “new media art” and this term includes all the artworks created with the support of digital technology, then even iPhones and iPads. Somehow, artists must deal with the digital/virtual world as it’s becoming every day more important for everyone’s ordinary real life. It means not only to create a Facebook Fan Page and share the own works on Flickr or other socials. It also means to understand how to use technology for creating Art, like it normally happens with Music for instance. I was curious to know more about this new mobile and internet-orientated approach, so I interviewed the author of the above “iPainting”: Nadja Ryzhakova, a young Russian-born London-based “iPad artist”.

When did you start “iPainting”, Nadja?
 I made my very first iPad drawing with one of the free finger drawing apps after I saw David Hockney’s “A Bigger Picture” at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2012.

At the exhibition I was captivated by a room with at more than a metre high colourful landscapes going from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling. Each of landscapes was dated in a chronological order with enviable for an artist frequency. I was wondering how it is possible for a painter to create nearly an artwork a day at such scale and quality?! I was totally hooked up by the fact that all of them were made right there on the spot with an iPad. On the same day after the exhibition I downloaded a free hand drawing app and made my very first iPad drawing. This was the beginning of my new journey.

How long does it take you to draw one? The time I spend on a drawing varies. It depends on the goal, character of a drawing and even inspiration. Some drawings take minutes to create, some hours and days. But I believe that the character of drawing on mobile devices with finger painting applications dictates “alla prima” approach. In other words, quick sketches conveying first impression, rather than finished ‘masterpieces’. From my perspective, the attempt to substitute traditional mediums such as drawings and paintings with iPad drawing is pointless. It is another esthetic, which is something in between drawing/painting and photography and it calls for seeking out new styles and languages.

What do you use for iPainting? Just your fingertips or other instruments? What’s your technique? Since I started drawing on the iPad, for very long time I was drawing with my fingertips only. I was experimenting and learning the creative boundaries of an iPad. Some of my first drawings are detailed and realistic. For instance “Thomas”, a very realistic drawing on my cat against absolutely plain background. I was challenged to recreate the texture of cat’s fur, its softness. To achieve such effect with the fingertips only was possible because of the ability of the finger drawing/painting app to zoom in. I would probably still be drawing with fingertips only, but a few months ago I had to create a series of drawings for a commercial project on an app that doesn’t have the ability to zoom in. So I had no choice but to buy a stylus. It took some time for me to get used to it. But very soon I could not imagine myself drawing without it. Now I use it even drawing on professional finger painting apps such as “Brushes”.

Is it correct to define you “iPainter” and “artistic-reporter”? Why? Mobile digital art is a very recent phenomenon. Therefore, its terminology, as this new art form itself, is just taking its shape. However, it seems that the term “iPhoneography” – which is the capturing, editing, and processing of photographic images with Apple iPhone devices – unlike “iPainting”, has become commonly accepted. By analogy with iPhoneography, I define my practice as iPainting. Other mobile digital artists name their practice as iPad/mobile drawing, iPad art, iPad painting, etc. iPainting is a medium and artistic-reportage is a genre I most often work in. So I can be defined as iPainter as well as artistic-reporter.


How much is iPainting known in the Art world? Where/when did the digital painting start to be considered? Even though iPainting is only struggling to find its place in the contemporary art world, I have no doubt it will take no long time and it will be commonly accepted. It is most known in the U.S. – the country of invention of mobile wireless technology. No wonder iPaiting is most developed and most known there than in the rest of the world. Looking back in history of arts, the interconnection between art and technology is obvious. Technology always served art. The “camera obscura” is probably the best known ancient device that was used to create works of art. Photography is a pioneering art medium of the 19th century. In the 20th century the invention of the computer trigged new digital art forms such as net art, computer art, and others. Smart phones and other handheld devices are today’s newest medium in art. I believe this 21st century innovative form of digital art – iPainting – was born when first finger drawing app was created.

Mind the iPad: Story of a Russian iPainter

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2014 - 8:06PM ANASTASIA DENISOVA It all started two years ago, when Nadja Ryzhakova visited an exhibition of the works of celebrated English painter David Hockney and found out the 76-year old artist had surprisingly embraced modern technology, inspired to create his now critically acclaimed instant iPad art.

"He was one of the first artists who could afford to buy an iPad,” Nadja jokes. "I really admired what Hockney did because he showed that iPad is not merely a computer, but a canvas.”

Nadja started experimenting with iPainting (a word she would get official permission to use from Apple) and has been using iPads as her primary sketch pad ever since. Using apps like Brushes and ProCreate, Nadja produces beautiful pieces inspired by poetry and life in London. 

"Being an artist in London is not easy – very few of us can afford their own studio. Most people rent tiny rooms for living and the iPad becomes a genial solution, given the space constraints. Not to mention that it is always with you, whenever inspiration strikes” 

iPads allow Nadja, a graduate in Monumental Decorative Art production from the prestigious Stroganov Moscow State Arts and Crafts University, to be even more creative than when using a classic canvas. 

"To me an iPad is more of a wall than a canvas – a wall has no limits, while a canvas is constrained by its borders. An iPad allows you to build up the size of a digital canvas, zooming in and perfecting the tiniest bits of my paintings. At any given point I can return to the bigger picture and see the result in full.” 

Nadja’s most successful work up to date is her hip take on the London underground, which she created as part of a competition organised by the Londonist website to mark the 150th anniversary of the Tube. Her Mind the Carp piece – which reimagined the underground as an underwater world – was published on the Evening Standard and TimeOut and mentioned by various other websites. 

Since then, Nadja has been under the spotlight. The V&A has asked her to run iPanting workshops, while composers and poets interested in artistic collaborations vie for her attention. 

Meanwhile, she continues to explore the possibilities of her favourite medium. She is currently working on a series of mini-films focused on the artistic process behind the creation of a painting, all realised with her iPad. 

Each film allows the viewer to see how Nadja creates, erases and recreates, turning iPainting into a convergent multimedia art format at the very edge of technology-enabled artistic expression. 

Having lived in London for four years, Nadja feels a part of London art scene, but remains strongly in touch with her Russian self. In the past she has painted commemorative postcards for Russian veterans of the Great Patriotic War, and is preparing to create posters for the upcoming 9 May anniversary of the war. 

"I am not jealous to see other people try themselves in iPainting – on the contrary, I would be glad and am encouraging more artists to use the iPad as a new medium for their self-expression,” Nadja says. 

"Together we can fight scepticism and develop this form of art.” 

Her world through the iPad - FAD

I recently caught up with a good friend and upcoming artist who has been receiving a lot of attention for her project entitled “iPainting”. Nadja Ryzhakova is a Russian-born professional iPad artist. Now based in London, she has turned her back on her traditional fine arts education and chosen the iPad as her canvas instead. Since 2012 Nadja has been creating detailed and technically skilled works of art that resemble paintings, except for their medium. All of her works represent elements of her daily life and the world around her – in other words, London and its many different faces.

When asked what her inspiration was for this project, Nadja revealed that it was in fact being confronted with the i-pad works of David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts. Determined to try it out for herself, Nadja attempted to re-create the technique using her cat as a subject (depicted below), and soon realised that this was her medium and she was “destined for the iPad and iPainting”. She then challenged herself to create a new image on her iPad every day for the month of may, something I remember witnessing when we were both going through work experience at the same Shoreditch art gallery. Nadja is ambitious and, after 31 days of uploading her images onto social media sites such as Flickr and Facebook, proceeded to turn her month’s worth of images into a project entitled 31 Digits. This project marked the beginning of the progression of iPaintings from simply a concept to using the iPad as a visual diary, and sharing it’s contents online. 

Although for Nadja it is to a large extent simply aesthetically satisfying to work with an iPad and see the final results of her work, there is also a deeper and more personal meaning to it all. Since she started her professional life as an artist, Nadja has always used traditional media to express herself, and describes her discovery of the iPad’s creative abilities as exciting and liberating. The choice of technological medium, and its potential to reproduce the same “iPainting” over and over again also touches upon the debate of “art versus technology”. 

There is no denying that the iPad is a much better designed canvas for the contemporary attention span, and allows art to be shared and interacted with faster than before, but does using digital tool take something away from the authenticity of the work? Nadja passionately disagrees, and hopes that by combining the popularity of handheld mobile devices and social media with her love of art, she can how technology can transform art and that art and technology can work hand in hand. This goal does seem promising, as the near future already holds a lot of exciting things for Nadja. March will see her first solo exhibition in Saint Petersburg, followed by a talk in April at the Tablet Symposium at the University of Sussex. 

Some other questions I asked Nadja: 

Would you ever move on to another medium, like painting or photography? 

Well, I am already in painting, or iPainting as the case is now. I do appreciate a good photograph, but I have fingers and my iPad to draw any picture I want. 

On average, how long does one iPainting take you to complete? 

It all depends on various factors. But, as a rule of thumb, a sketch could take a few minutes to capture. Whereas a complete iPainting could take me a day and longer. And lets remember I’ve got no brushes to wash and no canvas to change! 

To people who say that digital art is not real art or on the same level as traditional fine art, what is your response? 

Snobs! Whatever Dali could get away with, he broke all the rules there were. 

To find out more about Nadja’s exciting work, or to contact her, visit her website: ipainting.pro 

Words: Kseyna Blokhina

London Culture Fest Shows More Than Pussy Riot - Moscow Times

Russian artist Nadja Ryzhakova will be in attendance at the fest to make art of the event’s comings and goings. London — A one-day festival on the banks of the River Thames promises to deliver an "interesting and engaging" glimpse into contemporary Russian culture.

Russian Wave, scheduled for Sunday at the Riverside Studios in London, will feature a 12-hour multimedia program that includes films, literature, performance and games, and is designed to appeal to kids and grownups alike. Visitors will also get the chance to sample traditional Russian cuisine, from borscht to blinis and sour-cream meringues. 

The festival is run by Academia Rossica, a London-based organization that seeks to boost cultural links between Russia and the English-speaking world through various projects and events. 

According to founding director Svetlana Adjoubei, the festival is one such intercultural project that strives to create a relaxed and informal environment where people can meet and have fun, while at the same time discovering the best of what Russian culture has to offer today. 

"We want to contradict Russian culture's reputation for being hard work," Adjoubei said. 

At 12 p.m., the festival will showcase the best in contemporary Russian animation, followed by consecutive screenings of four very different award-winning films: a documentary about Cuba by famed director Vitaly Mansky, a historical drama; Pavel Lungin's "Tsar" starring Pyotr Mamonov; "Gromozeka" a tragicomedy about three friends who meet at a school reunion and "Indifference," starring Fyodor Bondarchuk, which was inspired by Italian cinema and which won best film at the Kinotavr festival in 2011. 

During the day, the venue will be transformed with live performances of English and Russian poems. Moreover, as part of an open culture project in London, a series of discussions on contemporary literature will take place between literary specialists representing both the English and Russian language. A book stall will introduce a selection of literary works on Russia, from Russia or in Russian, while all the books can be borrowed, bought or won in a special raffle. 

Other entertainment includes contemporary art, music and Russian zabavas (fun and games) for the whole family. In a celebration of Russian food, the festival will also offer a wide selection of dishes prepared by local chefs. The menu boasts traditional Russian staples, such as meat and cabbage-stuffed pirogi, as well as more unusual delicacies. 

This brief snapshot into Russian culture strives to not only show its vibrant side, but also to reflect the dynamic processes taking place in modern-day Russian society. 

Speaking of Russian culture in the United Kingdom, Adjoubei cited the high-profile case of the punk trio Pussy Riot, which garnered huge international attention last month. "People in countries like the U.K. are now more interested in Russia, but our role is to show that Pussy Riot is part of a bigger and more varied culture," Adjoubei stressed. "This culture reflects Russian society today."