First published May 25, 2023
Nasha’s art is weird, in the best possible way. From cannibalistic frogs to post-coital deer, Nasha explores themes of the human condition and dissects complex social issues in their own inimitable style. In this chat, Nasha shares their experience of lockdown, ‘I think many people will relate to this, experiencing a sort of spiritual awakening or metamorphosis in that time of disease and isolation’, what they’re currently working on, ‘at this moment in time it feels like I can’t get the ideas out quickly enough before more bubble to the brim’, and those perhaps not so coincidental experiences that, when we assign significance and indulge in their magic, can bring us the most joy, ‘Perhaps I’m assigning a significance to this that isn’t there, but would it matter if it isn’t?’. We loved this thoughtful journey into Nasha’s world of surrealism and psychedelia. We know you will, too.
Nasha, what’s your creative occupation?
I’m a visual artist based in Manchester. Like many artists, I have various revenue streams and sell my work in store at Birds Yard (Sheffield) and SWALK in Afflecks (Manchester), and at markets. I also lead creative workshops.
Where have you been?
In college I studied an art foundation but due to a sort of prideful need to prove my academic excellence, I ended up electing to study Japanese and Spanish at university. Whilst I love learning, and languages in particular have always been a source of great fascination, I ended up not engaging with the arts for 3 years as a result of this choice. It was by mere chance that, in 2020, circumstances aligned in such a way that a pen found its way back into my hand and I realised that all I wanted to do in life was create.
This was a time of great personal change for me that I saw reflected in the happenings of the outside world. Awash with all my earthly emotions, I felt in some way that I was like a strange unformed pulp yet to emerge from the chrysalis and unveil my true form. I think many people will relate to this, experiencing a sort of spiritual awakening or metamorphosis in that time of disease and isolation, subsequently coming out the other side with eyes fresh to appreciate the beauty and joys of living. It’s amazing how spending months inside alone, with only the company of smiling faces from the internet, can make you realise what you truly value.
What came next was a string of incidents and opportunities that led me to connect with other local creatives and form The Order of The Fool. We’re a collective of 22 northern-based artists who came together to create a new Major Arcana Tarot Deck. The deck was displayed in an open-air exhibition called ‘Street Tarot’ in Manchester’s Northern quarter that also served as a sort of scavenger hunt style fortune reading; the first three cards you were to encounter would represent your past, present and future.
It’s amazing how spending months inside alone, with only the company of smiling faces from the internet, can make you realise what you truly value. NASHA ON LOCKDOWN
Where are you now?
Since the Street Tarot exhibition with The Order of The Fool, I realised just how important it is for artists to connect with each other and ended up setting up an Arts info hub on Instagram for artistic events and opportunities happening within Manchester. I now run this page (@HappeningInMCR) with fellow artist, Jasmine Gardner, and we hope that by promoting the exhibitions and events of local creatives we can help nourish the artistic landscape of Manchester.
As far as my own creative practice is going, I’m currently working on a collection of new drawings centred around anthropomorphic animals and using them as a vehicle to explore feelings, thoughts and compulsions that come to me. My work is an ever evolving and impossible to complete portrait of myself that compels me to illustrate it in all its multifaceted horror, and at this moment in time it feels like I can’t get the ideas out quickly enough before more bubble to the brim expecting to be scooped out and carefully splattered onto paper.
Where are you going?
So far, I’ve only exhibited in group exhibitions. However, if things align in the way that I’ve planned, I’m hoping to put on my first solo exhibition in Manchester at the end of this year. I feel that it’s important that my work is seen in person. Most people who engage with my work are either looking at prints (big thanks to those people) or on Instagram, looking at a tiny phone screen that gives a deceivingly inaccurate impression of the work and its scale. I’m not going to deny that it still looks great but there’s a magic to seeing a painting directly through your own lenses.
Mostly, I just want to keep creating and, ideally, creating with other people.
Finally, what’s occupying your thoughts today?
Lately, my thoughts have been occupied by a strange occurrence that teeters the line between coincidence and synchronicity. It was a few weeks ago that I encountered a tree stump with a large four leafed clover at its root. As I bent to pick it up, I noticed that the tree stump was ringed by dozens of four and five leafed clovers. I spent about an hour plucking them and eventually counted 58 four leafed clovers and 3 five leafed clovers. Many people never find a four leafed clover in their life, yet I seem to find them with some regularity. A couple of years ago I remember finding 8 over the course of one summer and I felt it to be completely bizarre, and surely not coincidental. I’ve found many four leafed clovers over the years, although this most recent find has felt the most surreal.
Perhaps I’m assigning a significance to this that isn’t there, but would it matter if it isn’t? So often we assign meanings to these little oddities that we experience. Each of us with our own favoured symbols that, whilst full of mystery and portent, may be completely banal and devoid of meaning to another. But, if there is joy to be found in indulging the magic of reality or unreality, indulge me.
Indulge the magic, find the joy! Thank you, Nasha. Be sure to visit Nasha‘s website for more stunning work.