Hello, my name is Natasha Kudashkina, and this is my story.
I was born in Siberia, Russia. I started painting during my childhood. My mother loved it and fully supported the little artist in me. I was accepted to the art school where I studied a variety of media and techniques over the following nine years.
My family moved to Canada, Prince Edward Island, when I was 17. In the course of my first Canadian summer I tried acrylic paints for the first time. I created a series of paintings, that were accepted by a local art gallery store. My English wasn't very good though, so I went to a special school for emigrants. After school, I would walk to the ocean and spend hours drawing. Sometimes I would go wandering around downtown of Charlottetown. During one of those adventure walks I made a friend. They ended up purchasing one of my first sketches on a canvas.
I continued to make art and meeting people. I was lucky with some pretty great friends and amazing projects. One of them was illustrating a history book about the Island. It was an honor.
By coincidence, I was introduced to an art teacher, who suggested that I enter a graphic design program at the Holland College. I took this advice and applied. The Graphic Design program was an absolute joy. I loved working on projects every day and on something different all the time. Our teachers would always surprise us and puzzle our minds. I enjoyed the sense of community and creativity in the class.
Even though I took a student loan to go to school, I still had to work. As a dishwasher. I didn’t mind, it was peaceful. My work place let me have my art on the walls. It was lovely as were the people. One day a guest inquired about a painting, she wanted to buy it. I came out from a dish closet and smiled. The lady purchased the painting and as she walked away I asked myself, what am I doing here? I quit the next day.
A week later there was an opportunity to be a background artist for an animation. I applied and got it. It was one of my favourite jobs. Amazing team of artists and I learned a lot about the animation field.
I focused on school and work and I saved my earnings. I paid for my second year of school in cash. The administrationʼs reaction was priceless. I was pretty proud of myself.
By that time, my sister has moved to PEI as well. After short while, the island got too small for her. She aimed big, Toronto. I joined her in the city.
I started to look for a job. It was not easy to find for some time. I didn’t fit into the type they were looking for. Eventually, I pretended to fit and I got graphic design job. I enjoyed it. I appreciated the people who I worked with, as well as the pay cheque. I felt safe and secure.
In parallel to this journey I had begun doing body art. This art form is very beautiful and takes you in. By chance, I was invited to the North American Body Painting competition in Las Vegas. I have never been to America before. I decided to go. I planned that if I win it will give me confidence to quit my job and dare to be a full time artist. Even though I could count on my job, I wasn’t truly happy.
The competition was incredible. I met some of the most talented and beautiful creators, whom I still love and hold close to my heart. I went to the second round and placed 6th. I didn’t think much of it, but they noticed me. All of the magical people saw me truly for who I was. That was a life changing event.
I went back home, elevated from the love I received. I shared my dreams with my boss. I admitted, I fall asleep at the desk, because Iʼm painting all night. He understood. Not long after I parted with my graphic design job. I started my new chapter as a freelance, a graphic designer, a body paint and makeup artist. I accepted all the offers, pay/no pay, creative, fun - everything. My art attracted all kinds of individuals, groups and communities. It was fun.
I was interested in a variety of media. I kept wondering if I could paint more things than just a canvas or a body. Thatʼs when custom painted objects began. All kinds of things. Leather, fabric, musical instruments, collection items ...You name it.
I cherish custom work. I like getting to know my clients, understand their visions and then deliver it. I want each one of them to know that they are special. I love making one of a kind, unique custom art.
Toronto has been great for me. I have done several solo and group art shows, murals, performances, events and festivals.
My art took me on travels around the globe. Travel was eye opening. It’s important for learning, not only about the country you are in, but also, about yourself. Some of the highlights were: visiting India with the Rotman School of Management and their program “Innovation in Business”, traveling to Korea to be judge for the DIBF competition and painting the “The Green Leaf Boutique” hotel in Cambodia.
Art is powerful. With that in mind, I try to create kind and peaceful art. Something that makes the viewer feel good. My intent is to bring more love and beauty to our world.
I enjoyed traveling. Creating connections all around the planet makes it seem not so big. Opening up to strangers day to day, gives a sense of home everywhere I go. Discovering new cultures and nature is a inspiring and healing experience.
Nonetheless, at some point you do start to miss home. Family and true close friends are irreplaceable. Hence, I am now back in Toronto, Canada. Doing the same thing I do every day - making art.
I got a train of ideas and inspiration. I'm excited to share with you in future art forms.
All that it will be.
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