Interview with Mixed Media Artist, Nika Novich

Nika Novich is a digital artist and Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture practitioner living in Edinburgh, Scotland. The main thread running through her work is a relationship of humans with nature, exploring a surrealist approach to a melded reality with dreams to create imaginative juxtapositions of imagery.

We had the opportunity to interview Nika and learn more about the imaginative atmosphere where her amazing work is created.

Tell us about your background and the road that led you to pursuing and practicing art. 

Ever since I can remember I would draw or doodle. When I was a teenager I developed a deeper interest in art that continued into my university years and used to incessantly collect the art Taschen series.

I sadly dropped my drawing practice many years ago and would only dip back into it very occasionally. My professional journey however took me in a different direction (I’m a Chinese Medicine practitioner) and I think I have resigned to being only a passive recipient of art. Until, one day, I stumbled upon the work of a good friend of mine, who was making analogue collage using images from magazines and papers. They were stunning! And the technique was so accessible! Still, it wasn’t until a difficult personal experience a couple years later, when I was in desperate need for something that would allow me to get completely immersed and engaged that I actually acted on that pull towards collage. 

How would you describe your approach to digital art / mixed media? 

These days I exclusively do digital art, unless I’m running workshops. It’s the ease of having the tools always with me and also the immediacy of transferring my current mood or pull towards a theme onto a page. I need that instant channel between my creative impulse and visual expression.

What are your favorite tools and software?

I use Photoshop, which is just immense. I probably know and use a fraction of its potential, but even that gives me a vast toolkit.

Tell us about some of your recent projects.

I’ve been working on a couple of commissions for album cover art, which I really enjoy. I also run cyclical workshops in analogue collage in collaboration with a Centre of Psychological Support for Immigrants from Eastern Europe in Edinburgh.

As a Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture practitioner, how do you find balance between your creativity and career? Does your work as a practitioner influence your art?

I wouldn’t say that my practice enters my  artwork explicitly, but they surely share certain elements. Acupuncture derives from shamanic practices and the kind of artwork I do, is definitely touching upon the mysteries of the “Otherworld’’. In terms of finding space for art making amongst the demands of my career – I simply cannot imagine not having some kind of creative practice in my life. It’s just the kind of constitution I have that demands creative expression on a regular basis. Sometimes, I will meet that need through artwork, sometimes through singing (I sing Eastern European traditional songs), sometimes through movement. 

You have an impressive knack for optimizing multiple mediums into your work. Did your signature brand develop organically?

The way I work always follows a natural trajectory of my explorations, obsessions and fascinations. I suppose I work in a certain ‘’style’’, but the only compass is my aesthetic filter that unifies what comes out. 

Who were your inspirations growing up? And who do you admire today?

When I was younger I was endlessly fascinated with the genius of Bjork. Till this day I am completely bowled over by her creations even though the music part of it does not touch me anymore. She is so much more than a maker of songs though, which goes without saying. Another artist who left a lasting impression on me is Yayoi Kusama – her essence hovers in the delicate space between madness and genius. 

These days I find inspiration in writing of Olga Tokarczuk that touches upon mystery, archetype, the natural world entering human world with its mystery, horror and grace, or the gothic stories of Angela Carter, whose rewritten fairy tales always stop me in my tracks, no matter how many times I have read them.

What advice can you offer aspiring women-identifying artists starting out in this field?

Collage is a very inclusive and egalitarian art form, so if you feel the pull towards creating images – that’s all you need. It’s so fun and can be wonderfully cathartic.  

What is your interpretation of a Raw Femme?

Curious, expansive, changing, alive. 

Support Nika and follow her latest work on Instagram @nika.novich.art