Tanya Ostromogilskaya’s Artist Journey

February 29, 2024 | Author: webSman

My artist journey really started in the latter half of 2019 when my family and I moved from New York City to Seattle. I had made art every now and then since I was a child, but much of my adult life in NYC was too busy with full-time work, multiple start-ups, and raising young kids to leave room for creative expression. After the move, life became much quieter. The start-ups failed, my friendship with our co-founder ended in heartbreak, and then the pandemic descended upon us all.

In the silence that followed, I started to see beauty in dry weeds. Every plant is special and beautiful to me, but I have a particular attraction to a yellowed, feathery fern or gnarled, twisty vine. I began to collect bundles wherever I went, especially when traveling. One bundle came from a bleak English landscape in November. Another from Siberia near my in-laws favorite camping spots. We were driving along and happened to come upon these vast, dry plains of grass. I was dumbstruck.
My family eventually had to drive off and leave me to frenzied collecting. Eventually, they came back to pick me up. To my mother-in-laws dismay, I had an armful of what looked like worthless weeds and a determination to fly with them all the way back to Seattle.

A pandemic hobby expanded my fascination to the beauty of seaweed. My husband and I got into backpacking, which meant we would hike and camp along the Pacific coast for a few days at a time. I would collect like a maniac, enough to fill both our backpacks, as we traveled through the Olympic Peninsula. Once, I brought a bag full of these prized collections as a present to a friend in NYC. I thought everyone would like it as I do, but only one person in our friend group was at all interested. It seems like the biggest impression it made was on the TSA staff, to whom I must have looked like a traveling witch!

As the pandemic started to end, I was incredibly lucky to find an amazing and inspiring art teacher: Alla Goniodski. She is a sculptor, painter, and professional theater artist. Alla gave me lots of encouragement, new ideas, and technical tips about various materials available for mixed media art. I started incorporating clay into my work thanks to her help.

Collecting objects is still my favorite part of the process. I get into a flow state where suddenly the floodgate opens and I feel and see the beauty all around me. The ordinary becomes extraordinary. As an example, last summer we were visiting a friend in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He took us to the shore of Lake Michigan for a family day out on the beach. I was playing with the kids in the sand and blending into the calm scene of relaxing Midwestern families until I noticed the various plastic garbage lying around in the sand. Immediately my attention was focused and I was in the zone. I found so many fascinating objects – leftover firework shells, weathered hair clips, toothpicks, bottle caps, flossers, you name is. This is how my piece “Uncle Victor” was born.
One of my favorite quotes by Rick Rubin illustrates this point well: “Artists allow us to see what we are unable to see, but somehow already know.”

I believe the passion to see extraordinary in the ordinary has been within me since childhood. I grew up in an industrial riverside city in Russia with my mother and grandmother. I would find weird objects in the street and around local factories and bring them home. My hobby only brought distress to mom and grandma, who had hoped to raise a neat and proper young girl. As a compromise, they provided a rusted tray tucked under the old bathtub to store my treasures. So, happily, that part of me was kept safe for years in a place where nobody would look.
Many years later, I was able to bring some of my more recent treasures to life in a solo exhibition at Pioneer Square Gallery 103 in December. For this I focused on what has now become my favorite medium – rusted metal. I feel a deep connection with this type of object. For me, they radiate the aesthetics of abandoned places, forgotten memories, and faded glory. “Winter is Coming” is a significant example of this strong symbolism, particularly in the rusted skates (the lucky find that inspired the piece). I imagine the skates drawing the symbol of infinity in the ice, connecting time and space into the same set of coordinates.

My background in math and physics inspires my art to mingle with science. In our everyday lives we often forget the big questions about the universe, the multi-verse, black holes, and the relativity of time. In my piece called “Prof. Rick observing your birth and death simultaneously,” I play with the idea that theoretically there could exist an observer somewhere in the time-space continuum for whom your birth and death are two events that happen at the same time. With rusted metal and clay, art provides the opportunity to explore ideas without the complexity of implementing them in the real world.

My latest passion is to figure out a way to bring art into the lives of ordinary people who think art is inaccessible to them. On the other side of the equation, we have many artists who struggle with selling their work and who can produce so much more art but are limited by the capacity of their houses and studios.
I dream of bringing these worlds together!
My current idea is to form a non-profit, which will take donations or buy artwork from artists. After that, using innovative methods like auctions, art raffles, and offering donations, the non-profit will distribute the artwork to regular people.

All the proceeds from art sales, raffles, and auctions will go back to the community to support more artists!