I hope you enjoy my interview below with the delightful Kukula as we girlie talk about fashion, art, and her thrift shopping addiction. Also see her 10 page editorial in the September 2013 issue of beautiful.bizarre magazine.
I started off by asking Nataly about the name Kukula, where it came from, why she chose it, and if it’s what most people call her, here’s what she had to say:
When I was a little girl in Israel, we had this one Japanese Anime show that eveyone knows there because they keep showing it over and over, even today. It’s about a little elf that lives in the forest. The two main characters were a brother and sister, and the sisters name was Kukula. I loved her so much. That is how the I chose the name. Some of my friends call me Kukula and some Nataly, probably 50/50, I don’t care which one they use, as long as they pronounce it correctly.
I wanted to know what it felt like for her to have her work exhibited at such a huge event like Art Basel , I just assumed it was one of the best feelings ever, however, it appears I was wrong, Nataly went on to explain to me why she prefers solo gallery shows opposed to big art festivals:
When I’m doing a solo exhibition at a gallery, I can focus on a large body of work, this way it’s all about the art, and less about how much things cost. I’ve never felt like art fairs were put together with the art being the main focus, without that, what’s the point really. Except to have fun of course. I’ve had wonderful times both at Art Basel, and other art fairs throughout the years. However, I prefer doing shows at galleries. It’s much more personal.
Where were you born exactly? Can you tell us a few things about your childhood?
I was born in a little town North of Tel Aviv, Israel. I went to an Agricultural School. We had to choose farming work to specialize in one day a week – I milked cows for a little while. I was a very unpopular kid. I spent most of my time doing ballet, and practicing the piano. I’m pretty sure I had no talent for either of these things. I did sing in a professional choir as a soloist for a while, but as an alto, I also had no future in that either.
You have an amazing sense of style Nataly, I adore the clothing you wear. Whenever I see you photographed, you look like a doll, similar to the girls in your paintings. How much does fashion play a part in your creative process?
I’m obsessed with art and culture in general. As I like to say, we’re not monkey’s in a jungle, we don’t eat with our hands, so dress up! I see it no different then the value of music to a garment. The world is full of metaphors to use to express the way we feel. This is why we like art. People started writing in paintings, and wearing clothing to be warm, but we are long past that now. You can tell a complex story with one garment, and I feel like it’s adding a lot to my life, and my art. I shop high and low, I like to mix Chanel with cheap Etsy vintage. I like to create my own look and try to tell a little story about who I am. Who really knows who they are anyway, clothes help me decide. I think it’s like that for most people.
Tell me something about yourself, anything you’d like. What makes Nataly smile inside? What makes her laugh so hard she can’t breathe, what makes her feel complete, or feel butterflies in her tummy?
I’m a big time epicure. I only like refined foods, and if it isn’t available, only fresh, simple, rare, or barely cooked foods will do. I eat a lot, and all the time! I’m totally addicted to chocolate and think about it all day long. I dream about it, mmmmm chocolate, my doctor friend told me I self medicate with it. I also love to go to the ballet, I like all the old people in the audience. I didn’t have many friends growing up, so I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and their friends . I always thought they were so interesting and special.
What’s life like for you at the moment? I know you move around quite a bit. Have you been able to set down some roots with your husband yet?
I’ve been married for 10 years now to an academic who keeps moving us all over the states. I now live in Philly, but we’re moving to New Haven, CT. We’ll be right by Yale University. I have lot’s of clothes and shoes, so I hate moving, but I love my husband.
Well sweetheart, it was a pleasure chatting with you. Thank you so much for your time. We look forward to seeing the new pieces that you’ll be exhibiting at Dorothy Circus Gallery in June, as part of their Summer Group Show from 27 June – 20 July.