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Leeds University Fine Art student Kristina Nenova on what is it like to find directions as a student


 

Kristina is one of those young people that see the present in its fullest picture. I’m always mesmerized by how her generation sees life and how they act. @nenova.art is a student of Fine Arts at @lbu_ba_fineart university, UK. Originally from Bulgaria.

Somehow we find each other on #instagram when I really wanted to find out how students manage to study right now - post Corona Lock Downs.

Kristina is interested in the Bulgarian Art Culture and who is filling up the walls and floors in the galleries here.


Fine arts have always been a bit of a mystery for me, but listening to Kristina’s thoughts and emerging ideas inspired often by @tate artists I’m getting curious what she is going to achieve in her upcoming rise of a career.


 



Text edit: Maria Sopadzhieva


Being in university in 2021 in the UK? What is this like, and how do you handle it?


I’ve found being at my university absolutely amazing so far. The biggest impact COVID19 restrictions have had on my art practice has been making it more focused on my experience of immigration and a sense of home and belonging as I haven’t been able to go home for two years. My first and now ongoing second year of the university has been a bit different due to the COVID19 restrictions - the first year being mainly online, and now having full access to our studio and its facilities. It was quite challenging at times, having to adapt my art practice to what I had available. Still, it was also really useful as I used the time to get more into making videos, working with sound recordings and text, which I still use a lot within my work now.


The idea and the reality of studying Art at this age and time, what’s your outlook on this?


During my time at university, I feel like my perspective of being an art student changed quite a bit. I started seeing it as quite big and very important to address privilege once I thought more about all the things that make it possible for me to study art, especially full time and abroad (although I’ve lived in England long enough for it to not really be classed as abroad). Going to university for art also gives you a more realistic view of the art industry post-graduation, while also showing you success doesn’t mean being put in the big fancy galleries. It’s an experience I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone, but I’d really stress that the choice of university is important as courses with the same name can be weirdly different.


You mentioned you want to know more about the art scene (artists) in Bulgaria. Is that curiosity linked to something in particular?


Ideally, I’d like to be as familiar with Bulgarian contemporary art as I am with British contemporary art. Multidisciplinary art tends to be my preferred way of working and my area of interest when it comes to research. I like mixing textures and materials. Up until recently, I was mostly interested in textile art, but after working on my last project, I got quite into contemporary sculpture and video installation, so it’d be great to meet Bulgarian artists working in that area.


Would you mention some of the people you draw knowledge, inspiration, and practical development from in your surroundings?


I’m very lucky to be working in a studio full of people I get to share ideas and art with, such as fellow students, tutors, and art technicians. I’ve found that my ideas for projects always develop into completely new ones once I get to bounce ideas off people. Outside of people in the studio, I visit my local galleries in Leeds and also consume a lot of art online. YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram tend to be my go tos when it comes to social media, and I find a lot of artists I like on Tate’s website. I do also get a lot of my ideas purely by walking around my town. A lot of my art is based on ideas of human communications, experiences, and emotion so even just going to a coffee and spending a while people-watching always helps me through artist blocks.


If you can apply an idea for a project here in Bulgaria, what would be the topic of this project. Your final year in University is on the way, so I guess some thoughts will start coming to your heart soon.


In my most recent work, I built a newspaper stand that is based on childhood memories, grief, nostalgia, and a search for belonging post immigration. I find these themes to be very relevant to Bulgaria artists as a lot of us tend to go abroad for artistic opportunities and development. I’d also love to explore what aspects of our culture and traditions we take with us to whatever country we end up in. I’ve noticed even within my own family, each person tends to cling onto different aspects of what starts feeling like a past life. They’re very personal yet universal feelings that artists express in very different ways, so I can imagine a collaboration project like that to be really interesting.





 







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