PART 1/2: I didn’t know what to expect when I booked my trip to Russia. I was excited about the prospect and keen to learn more and gain a perspective on the country from its creatives. I met Dmitry and Nadya in the outskirts of Moscow, in an area dubbed the Harlem of Moscow. When I first arrived, the dreary weather didn’t do much to advertise the area, but when the clouds cleared and sun arrived, the multi-coloured apartment blocks became rather friendly! Dmitry and Nadya are currently toying with the idea of shifting countries, but clearly love their home city. When asked why, they called out its lawlessness and said it was a trait which was often rather useful!

The cute couple met me down the corner and we proceeded through a maze of hallways, doors and shops on the ground floor to get to their entry. Dmitry and Nadya don’t actually live together, but above and below one another on separate floors.

Although they had known of each other a few years back, they only met again last year by chance outside the building. Wondering what they were both doing in the area led them to realise Dmitry lived directly above Nadya. It wasn’t long after that they started seeing each other.

Nadya has lived in Moscow her whole life. Currently, she lives with her family on the 16th floor and she has just finished a four-year degree in architecture. Nadya is looking into studying her Masters in Milan or Berlin. Minimal, geometric forms inspire her style, and her interest is to help develop more areas in Moscow for cyclists and the disabled – two areas often neglected in urban planning in Russia.

In her spare time, Nadya works on her artwork and her skill netted her a prize – a short course in London’s Central St. Martins. Her earlier works feature a lot of typography depicted in 3D by strong two-point perspectives with the occasional nod to space. The colour and energy of these images also arises from her interest and participation in graffiti and hip-hop.

Nadya’s most recent paintings are moving away from type and space, with more angular lines and forms that reference abstract architectural structure and perspective.

Dmitry and Nadya work well together. Although most of their work is separate, and each has a unique style, it’s not surprising they also work side-by-side and assist each other when needed. Dmitry collaborated with Nadya on her project at Central St. Martins – an improvisation on the subject of recycling 80% of waste found in the workshop. Together they experimented with steel – a material both had not used before and processed more than 70 kilograms of waste. The piece was inspired by London’s many skyscrapers, using both their areas of interest – humour and the metaphysics of art (Dmitry) married with functionality and forms of architecture (Nadya). You’ll see what I am talking about at the end of this post!

Visit Slanted Mansion for more on Dmitry next week.

A yellow block of colour above, and right, Looking down on the sun by Nadya and Dmitry
Work by Nadya and Dmitry, London. Photo provided by artists.Painting by Nadia Hope. Photo provided by artist