Natalya Arutyunova

Natalya Arutyunova (b. 1965) is a Russian visual artist born in Moscow and currently based in Pompano Beach, Florida. Her work includes illustration, painting, and batik design.

After completing her studies at Moscow State Textile University in 1986, Rodionova worked commercially with silk, creating colorful and surreal batik designs. She worked closely with fashion designers in Moscow in addition to creating standalone batik paintings. In 1994, she moved to the United States with her daughter, and did not return to her practice until 2013. Her pen and ink illustrations serve as a window into the early career of an emotional and pensive artist.

Love Lessons, Drawings in Ink (1982-1986)

For 30 years I hid these drawings in a box.

When I was young, I would write in my journal every day. Over time I began to feel that words were not enough and I began to draw my emotional world. This made me feel lighter. I started making these drawings when I was 17; Russia in the mid 1980s served as the backdrop. While studying at the textile institute, I would get in trouble for drawing this way – it was frowned upon to simply “draw from your head”. But I was obsessed with the way ink dripped onto the paper and how the line would discover itself. I would fall in trance under a spell of the mystery of birth. In the unpredictability there was power. When I would come to, the result would be yesterday’s party, an emotion, thoughts or feelings. Folk tales would sneak their way onto my page, popular Russian songs, poems my friends would write, my own grief and worry. I would make drawings while friends were dancing, amazed at what I was seeing, then abandon the drawings at their house. It was a way of speaking, and not precious. Most of my archive is scattered throughout Russia, and these are the drawings that remain.

Looking at this work decades later I remember when each one was made, who was there and why. I understood that they are my most honest love story, like flipping through pages of my youth. I never hung them on the wall, for they communicated too loudly what I had gone through. At last, I want people to see them.

To view more of Natalya Arutyunova’s work please visit their website.