Natasha Russell

Natasha Russell is another of the winners from the recent Born in Britain competition. We all agreed that her painting ‘Run to Water’ was beautiful and had a unique format. She is also exhibiting some of her work at Doubtfire Gallery until Saturday, so if you’re in Edinburgh and haven’t already gone to have a look, I urge you to go and see it. There are some truly stunning pieces.

Natasha is doing her final year of painting at Edinburgh College of Art, but she is not always in Edinburgh. At the moment she is living in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Cumbria, working away in a leaky caravan. She says it is nice to be living right in the middle of lots of source material like forests and lakes, away from distractions. What a lovely place to be!

I asked her a few questions about her work and her entry to the competition, and this is what she had to say:

What inspired your entry to the creative competition?

This painting is based on the myths and histories attached to the Goblin ha’. Its this strange underground ruin just outside of Edinburgh- a stone arched cavern under a hill with a tiny tiny staircase that winds further down into the cliff face and abrubtly ends. Its worth a visit! There are loads of stories attached to the place, some quite plainly historical and others more fantastical. This mixing of fact and fiction is something I keep working with.

The work follows my continued focus on the use of myths and folklore in society; the way that their elements repeat over time and their connection to the local landscape. I’m really interested in the surreal and bizarre images that many of the tales create and through jumbling together all of these elements hope to create strange that don’t directly tell a story but just present something completely subjective to the onlooker.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? What is inspiring in your life?

To be honest…making pictures is my favourite way to spend free time at the moment. I love going on little adventures to find new places to make work about and if I had a more time I’d like to go a bit further! Lots of chatting, cooking, music, people watching and silliness keeps me working too.

How are things taking shape for you in the future?

 I’d love to work in somewhere like a print studio, or somewhere that I can keep seeing things be made as well as make my own.  A couple of friends and I are working on a project creating pop-up installations in derelict buildings using scrap material workshops. I’d like to keep going with this, inviting in other artists to design and create installations too. We’re always looking for new spaces to use. I enjoy being involved in immersive arts events and painting murals and so as well as continuing with smaller stuff I’d love to spend more time working on projects that apply the work to a bigger outdoor scale and involve more people. Oh and once I’m done with my degree I’d also really like to build up more of a design portfolio. So much to do!

Congratulations to Natasha, I hope to see plenty more of her work in the future!

See some more of Natasha’s work here!


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About Joanna Lisowiec

Hello! I’m excited to be representing Gola as a student ambassador, and help them in their mission to discover and recognize Britain’s emerging, creative talents. I’m currently an illustration student at the Edinburgh College of Art. I love what I do and nothing makes me happier than working hard and being totally immersed in an idea. I like adventures and a lot of the work I do is about journeys, exploring cool places and meeting interesting people. Between Scotland’s wild, highland landscapes and a vibrant city full of history, there's a lot to be inspired by.

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