The Creative Process with Nadia Attura and Fei Alexeli by @burnt_orange_city
“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control” – Julia Cameron
As we all continue to navigate through the unsteady waters of Covid-19, many of us have found comfort with or have become reacquainted with creativity; channeling our energies into either creating art or buying new art and seeking out communities to form connections, feel supported and remain inspired.
We spoke to two of our modern artists about their creative processes; how they begin a new piece, their techniques and where they find inspiration. Both Nadia Attura and Fei Alexeli use Photography and Photoshop to capture and combine elements, however they proceed to use different techniques and mediums to add further depth to their work as they progress.
The Starting Point
Every piece of art is unique. In Fine Art, what we see from the shapes, colours and textures, are an insight into an artist’s mind and soul – a glimpse into who they truly are. The creative process mirrors this; reflecting the waves of ideas, emotions and thoughts an artist experiences from the moment they begin to the moment they can gaze upon their final piece.
For Photographer and Fine Artist Nadia Attura, her creative process begins with visual inspiration. “I start from a colour, or a shape which has inspired me. I work with several pieces which are all at different stages of completion. I never know how they are going to turn out or which one I will finish first”.
Nadia’s detailed, layered art pieces reawaken memories of her time spent in India, Sri Lanka and South Africa. It was whilst she was working in India in Press and PR Photography, that she discovered the ‘happy disasters’ that had appeared from processing out of date film. “When I looked at the negatives they had all sorts of marks on them, fog, colour distortion and interesting ghostly shapes. I loved them, and it sparked a curiosity into marking film and paper, combining the two mediums to tell a story.”.
For Digital Artist Fei Alexeli, her fantastical utopian scenes evolve from her urge to capture a feeling whilst taking inspiration from photos or quotes. “My process usually starts from a conscious decision, like using a quote or a specific colour or photo. But once I start layering and experimenting, it can take me somewhere completely different. It can feel quite blurry – it’s a feeling or a notion I want to create, but it’s not clear”.
It is with this sparked curiosity that both artists continue to experiment; enjoying the freedom of the creative process as they unleash their artistic visions onto their canvases and screens.
Many artists use photographs as a point of reference for their art. Using an array of mediums to interpret parts of the photo as they incorporate other images, different shapes, forms, textures and colours.
Before transferring her collaged images and photographs onto Photoshop to produce her final prints, Fei sometimes begins by laying them out physically and cutting them up to experiment with different compositions. She does so with a playfulness, unfocused on the final outcome. “When I first started making collages I never analysed or thought about what I was doing. I have since realised that I like taking things from photos and creating new meanings and new compositions; I like the idea of altering the original”.
Like Fei, Nadia uses Photoshop as a tool to combine all final elements. There are a number of steps involved in her process; she begins by printing her own photographs, be it film or digital. Once printed, she works directly onto the prints, adding layers of paint, chalk and pencil; she then rephotographs this print and uploads it to Photoshop. Alongside this she paints on canvas, paper, perspex and stone separately; photographing and uploading these elements to create the final multi-layered piece on Photoshop ready to be printed. “My work revolves around combining acrylic paint on different surfaces, collage and photography, I like to take inspiration from each of them”. For exhibition prints she also applies further texture and detail by applying marks using natural materials such as brushes, card, sticks, fabric, grass and leaves.
The Beauty of the Process
Fei Alexeli’s utopian tropicana scenes are her happy places. Her juxtaposed images and photographs create scenes that portray the human experience of connection and isolation – which can sometimes be experienced simultaneously in life. Her digital art explores concepts surrounding equality, femininity, imagination and the expansiveness of the universe and our role within it.
Nadia Attura seeks to absorb a place so that it feels like she is still there, telling a story of the now and the remembered, of dreams and reality. Her creative process evokes a nostalgia for the places she hopes to revisit, and a yearning for places she hopes to travel to.
Both artists seek to transport the viewer into their memories and minds. Their work acts as a time machine either zooming us forwards into the unknown or sending us back into the past. The creative process offers a form of escapism for many. It encourages our imaginations to run wild and our natural instincts to flourish. It’s about letting go rather than chasing the outcome; releasing any expectations of how the final piece will look.
Affordable framed limited edition prints by Nadia Attura and Fei Alexeli are available to purchase on Murus Art. Each print comes with its own story and its own unique creative process; asking you to escape into your imagination and enjoy their boldness, detail and vibrancy on your walls.
Discover Nadia Attura’s work @ home with Murus
Discover Fei Alexeli’s work @home with Murus
Guest Writer Harriet Adkin, Burnt Orange City