Recently I heard Nadia Nizamudin talking to a group of London art students, as part of the lecture series Conscious Isolation. It's not unusual to find artists who have other jobs; in fact, it is very common. Most try to find work in the art world, for example as studio or gallery assistants. Some prefer flexible shift-work in a cafe or bar. Not many would choose to be an instrument engineer in the oil and gas industry: but that is the path that Nadia has followed.
It endlessly fascinates me how much these two aspects of her life overlap. Technical drawings serve as inspiration for her art, the precision of her "day job" contrasts with the freedom she finds in her paintstrokes. It goes beyond this, into the way she makes art in whatever circumstances she finds herself. Whether it's in a hotel room in Turkmenistan, or on an offshore barge in the Indian Ocean, she finds a way to create. It's real, it happens and it is how artists work. Many of those cool-looking studios you see on Instagram are actually a corner of someone's kitchen, or a spare bedroom at home.
We thought you'd enjoy this small insight into Nadia's work and practice, her many travelling studios, and the reality of making art when you have small children.
Below, all photos are by Nadia, and the text is by both of us.
Home Studio. Motherhood and making art.
Travelling studios. Making art wherever you can, because you need to.
"It is habit of mine to bring as much work as I can with me to work because I hate to be not doing anything when I want to be doing. Yes I am that girl that brings back home her work JUST in case I feel like working. It never really happens, but in the case of artwork, it does."
Various hotel rooms, over the years, where a small space on the floor is covered in newspaper and used to make, plan and embroider.
"I always see pictures of people painting large against a wall, but I find that I just love kneeling and looking down and walking around the surface area."
The bunk on an offshore barge is a regular studio space.
Finally, a beautiful space as part of the Art Girl Rising Residency at Sepat House in Kuala Lumpur.
"There was a word I learned from the guy I was dating for some time that felt right for this: kismet. It is what it is. Also, making the work, making the work. It would not happen too if I did not have anything to show for. Feeling all kinds of wistful and nostalgic and grateful for the friendships and support and love for this residency and the wonderful artists (whose work I totally love, absolutely) that made the residency some sort of magic 💜 "
We thought we'd leave you with a couple of images of some of the gorgeous commissions Nadia made for our clients in lockdown, using gessoed canvases and embroidery stitches. You can commission Nadia now, to make a piece special to you.
We celebrate our artists, we celebrate their desire to make work despite the circumstances. You cannot divorce an artwork from the process of making it, and we hope that Nadia and I have shown you how much that process and those circumstances enrich the work itself.
You can find Nadia's work here, or you can commission her to create a Kind Commission.